International Women’s Day: Some women activists call PM Modi’s gesture amazing, others say it’s attention seeking move

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Published: March 8, 2020 6:39 PM

Activist Monica Arora, who is the national convenor of Group of Intellectuals and Academicians, called it a move to honour the "real woman" who are "serving humanity" on the ground.

In a series of tweets, Modi said India has outstanding women achievers in all parts of the nation.In a series of tweets, Modi said India has outstanding women achievers in all parts of the nation. (File image)

Some women activists saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to hand over his social media accounts to women as an “amazing initiative” to honour “real and not reel” women, while others called it an attention seeking move aimed to divert attention from issues plaguing the country. On the occasion of Women’s Day, Modi said “seven women achievers” will share their life journey through his social media accounts on Sunday. Activist Monica Arora, who is the national convenor of Group of Intellectuals and Academicians, called it a move to honour the “real woman” who are “serving humanity” on the ground.

“The selection of women has been amazing. A girl who has only 2000 followers on social media was chosen but she has been running a food bank for more than five years and feeding thousands and thousands of people. So the prime minister is honouring real woman and not reel women,” she said. She said these were the women who were making a difference and serving humanity on the ground and added that the selection has been amazing. “Another woman is a bomb blast survivor. She is such a motivation. She is a person making a difference to the world. It shows you are making a difference to the world in whatever capacity you can that empowers women irrespective of caste or religion or age. It is very good,” Arora said. Shilpa Puranik, member of NGO Bhartiya Srishakti said social media brought different kinds of people together which made it a good platform to spread awareness and that was what the prime minister did by handing over his social media platforms to inspirational women.

“I appreciate his decision because it is important to create awareness on social media about women empowerment,” she said. However, some activists called it an “attention seeking” move through which he wants to distract people from issues plaguing the country. Rights activist and CPI leader Annie Raja said if the prime minister is truly concerned about women empowerment, he should take steps against the rising cases of sexual harassment and abuse. “He should announce that women reservation bill has been passed on Women’s Day. It is a distraction from talking about real issues. He should realise women will not be fooled,” she said.

All India Progressive Women’s Association secretary Kavita Krishnan called it a “gimmick” and an “attempt by Modi to make himself the story again” at a time when his government is being criticised for the Delhi riots and the citizenship law. “It’s the women of Shaheen Bagh, activists like Sudha Bharadwaj, Gauri Lankesh who need to be the story — not Modi’s grandiose gestures,” she said. “I respect the women who have been handed over the accounts but I want to request them that when you have access to his accounts for one day then please do the favour of unfollowing all the trolls and abusive accounts. He wouldn’t do it himself so please you do it,” she said. Shabnam Hashmi, a women rights activist, called it a “drama” and said women’s condition has worsened under his government. “It is all a new drama. There are lakhs of women who have lost their jobs. It is an attention seeking move because you can’t answer what is happening in the country. Women have become much worse off then what they were six years ago,” she said. Extending greetings on International Women’s Day, Prime Minister said “As I’d said a few days ago, I’m signing off.” “Through the day, seven women achievers will share their life journeys and perhaps interact with you through my social media accounts,” he said.

In a series of tweets, Modi said India has outstanding women achievers in all parts of the nation. “These women have done great work in a wide range of sectors. Their struggles and aspirations motivate millions. Let us keep celebrating the achievements of such women and learning from them,” he said. Modi had on Tuesday said he will be handing over his accounts on various social media platforms to women who inspire. The prime minister has accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. He is one of the most-followed world leaders on social media with 53.3 million followers on Twitter, 44 million on Facebook and 35.2 million on Instagram. The Twitter handle of the Prime Minister’s Office has 32 million followers. In September 2019, Modi was the third-most followed world leader on the microblogging site, behind only US President Donald Trump and his predecessor Barack Obama. The prime minister was the first Indian to cross the 50-million followers mark on Twitter.

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