Growing up in a family of public servants, Harnidh Kaur (23) always knew she would like to build a career in the social sector. The sole Indian representative at the international G(irls)20 Summit to be held in Argentina later this month, Mumbai-based Kaur has been preparing for three months for her week-long stint there.
Girls20 was launched in 2009 at the Clinton Global Initiative and one of its key programmes is the G(irls)20 Summit, modelled after the G20 Summit, seeking to bring together international panelists and experts on economic and social issues faced by girls and women. Following her seniors from college, Kaur applied for the G(irls)20 Summit hoping to learn as well as represent the country.
“This is a collection of women from 25 countries, and former delegates, who work on policy issues. This is a great platform for me because it is a tribe of women who bring their understanding on issues being felt globally. To be able to interact and share ideas with them will broaden my horizons,” Kaur told The Indian Express.
The preparation, including research on policy related to gender and violence, has brought many insights. Kaur said India had the infrastructure and also policy in place, but there is “disjointed action” on implementing them.
“What I envisage is that all of the issues need to be discussed at one table, and women need to have a place there. A woman should never have to pick between using a toilet and personal safety. This will be dealt with only when the genders are equally represented,” she said.
Kaur, a social analyst working in the field of sanitation with a private firm in Mumbai, is an alumna of St Xavier’s College and holds a Masters in Public Policy. Also a poet, whose work is popular, especially on social media, Kaur is a self-avowed feminist, and appreciates that her parents helped her and her younger sister see themselves as individuals.
“We were never treated as someone’s daughters, or someone’s wives-to-be. We were individuals who were encouraged to feel, think and express. That helped me in being outspoken and unabashed,” she said.
Responding to an e-mail, senior programme manager at the event, Bailey Greenspon, said: “G(irls)20 believes that through unparalleled global experiences such as the summit, young women leave with more confidence, access to networks and mentors, and the skills to make the social change they want to see back at home.”