The world believes that the holistic development of an Individual includes physical education and sports. Exposure to Physical Education, Sports & Self Defense programmes not only empowers people but also prepares them for life. Public and private sector organizations, Government agencies, Physical Education professionals and Sports Administrators have realized the true potential of Physical Education and Sports. There are several networking platforms and forums to discuss and deliberate the challenges of this field. Along with the Socio Economic, Political and Demographic changes, Physical Education and Sports has also undergone a sea change in the 21st century. We are witnessing a significant spurt and encouragement and support to disabled and under privileged members of the society to participate in sports. Women Empowerment, Gender sensitization and Gender equity have become the underlined areas where Physical Education and Sports have the potential to make a world of difference.
As per the UNESCO reports, gender parity has become one of the most important concern in 21st century especially in Asia and the pacific. Less than half of the countries achieve this at primary school level in the region. Sex ratio at secondary and tertiary level is worrisome. Two thirds of the world illiterates live in Asia and Pacific region. Majority of them are adult women. Poverty, gender inequality in education and security are few of the most significant causes to look upon. Report on the Right to Play (2008, p. 129) says that education is the single most powerful mean for families to escape poverty over the long term sustainable development. Physical education and sports when integrated in the education curricula can provide a platform in performance enhancement for women and this can also provide a universal language to overcome the social, racial, gender and religious divides. This has the potential to develop many personal capabilities viz. leadership, values, solidarity, respect etc.
The increasing crime against women in the 21st century is of great concern. The topics on women safety are just for books or articles. The recent mass molestation case in Bangaluru on New Year eve and others as reported in various parts of country are few examples. The rate of reporting a crime in India is still very less. Most of tier 1 and tier 2 cities do report crimes against women. The reported crime has almost doubles in just 7-10 years and increasing in a very fast manner as per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). The situation in rural area is still worrisome as far as crime reporting against women is concerned. Statistics shows about the increasing crime against women.
Looking at the data on increasing crime rate against women, the unreported crimes could also have been in a dangerous stage. As per Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), more than fifty percent crimes in Mumbai and New Delhi goes unreported and police in these cities refuse to register most complaints.
We as a society need to improve our inclusive dimension of thinking and need to take action urgently. We have a lame judicial system which takes a lifetime for a straight and small judgment if you don’t have a proper connection and sometime the same law saves and provide 5 star facilities to the wolves (culprits, e.g. Nirbhaya rapists are still roaming) as well.
Self defense practices for women specifically in this situation are of great importance. Proper training, skills to instill strength, confidence and defend themselves is required at ground level. Introduction of compulsory training at local level, inclusion and participation of women can really do wonders. Practicing taekwondo can become a medium to get the right skills for women to defend themselves.
With this small initiative, the National Conference tried to bring all the stakeholders - Academicians, Industry, Sports Professionals to share their valuable insight and experience to promote skill development and women empowerment through sports.