Ayushmann Khurrana was recently appointed as UNICEF’s Celebrity Advocate for their global campaign EVAC (Ending Violence Against Children). On International Day for the Girl Child, Ayushmann has a special message for the people.
Ayushmann says, “I firmly believe that discrimination and violence against girls are unacceptable and holds us back as a developed and caring society. COVID-19 has added to the challenges faced by girls. With limited access to mobiles or the internet, girls have faced restrictions in accessing remote learning and in having their health, nutritional and social needs treated on par with the boys in their families.”
Ayushmann says there's a need to draw attention to the discrimination and various challenges many girls face. “We need to prioritise girls' education, treat their rights on par with those of boys, provide them with skills and livelihood opportunities and engage with boys and men to address patriarchal mindsets,” he adds.
As an EVAC advocate in India, the Vicky Donor actor says he aims to initiate conversations that will help spread awareness about girls' plight. Ayushmann explains, “The first step is towards making ourselves aware of our actions, within our own families. Can we be aware of the small ways in which girls are discriminated against at home, such as eating after their brothers, not being allowed to play outside, denied/restricted access to phones and the internet, different curfew times for girls and boys are a few that come to mind? Ending these practices, one family at a time, will change how we value girls and respect them.”
He adds, “Second, with schools beginning to safely re-open now, it’s important that parents send their children, including girls, back to school, while ensuring COVID protocols. Education and skilling contribute to making girls assertive in the decisions that shape their lives. This leads to better results for children — both girls and boys — and creates a social environment where they can better achieve their full potential.”
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