Turiya: Studying and surveying the landscape for pawprints, Varsha Hinge is one of 10 women safari guides at the Pench Tiger Reserve who helps tourists catch a quick look at tigers, wolves and leopards. In parts of Madhya Pradesh, where village women are usually confined to their homes, numerous women living near the national park are breaking barriers.
A tough journey for these women
In what is a restricted life, many girls in the state often leave school at a young age to get married. “In the beginning, I was very hesitant and I doubted myself, thinking I wouldn’t be able to do this. I live in a village with my in-laws and (initially) I just couldn’t get comfortable with the idea of wearing pants and shirts in front of them,” Hinge told Reuters.
In a country of around 1.3 billion people, just one in four women work — a lower rate than in most countries, the World Bank says. These women had to not only overcome their own anxieties, but also strong resistance at their homes, where they are supposed to look after children and in-laws.
‘Took plenty of coaxing to get family’s support’
“I realised that as a homemaker, I would be limited to the four walls of my house and wouldn’t grow or contribute anything to my family,” Hinge said. “So, I decided to convince everyone and go for the job.”