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Taking pride in girls: the Selfie With Daughter campaign in India

This campaign in India challenges parents to post selfies with their daughters and become beacons in the fight against sex-selective abortion.

There are missing women in India. The country’s 2011 census revealed that there are far fewer girls than boys under seven years of age. The situation was dramatic in the state of Haryana, where there were only 834 girls for every 1000 boys. Ever since, the problem of sex-selective abortion has been discussed intensely in India and beyond.

The OECD’s Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) finds that the phenomenon of “missing women” occurs in fewer than 5% of countries, but that these countries contain 39% of the global population. Addressing this problem is thus essential if we are to achieve SDG 5: achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

It was Sunil Jaglan, the mayor of Bibipur, a village in rural Haryana, who initiated the “Selfie With Daughter” campaign in 2015. The concept was simple: parents were challenged to submit selfies with their daughters to a local contest. The best three pictures were to receive an award. The public display of pride in girls by happy parents aimed to raise awareness of the value of girl children, encouraging soon-to-be parents to welcome daughters as much as they do sons. Parents responded and, within 10 days, had sent in 800 selfies!

In 2016, the “Selfie with Daughter” Foundation created a new selfiewithdaughter.world website to host annual contests and publish thousands of selfies sent in via WhatsApp. In 2017, it added a new smartphone app for parents to upload photos directly. The website has registered more than 100,000 pictures and 27,000 families participated in the 2019 contest alone. The 2019 campaign featured an additional competition for single mothers and their daughters, with both the announcements and the prize-giving receiving prominent attention from the mainstream media.  

The campaign has benefited from star power. Prime Minister Modi lauded the project in a radio programme and several speeches. Celebrities like President Mukherjee and Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi have posted selfies with their daughters. Prominent Indian women have published selfies with their parents, e.g. Commonwealth Games gold medalist Manu Bhaker or mountain climber Shivangi Pathak. Thanks to such support, the campaign has developed a life of its own on social media, with people sharing selfies and tweets all year round using the #selfiewithdaughter hashtag.

The “Selfie With Daughter” campaign is closely linked with the national policy agenda, including the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao programme (BBBP – “Save the girl, educate the girl”), which aspires to raise public and political awareness for the rights and needs of girls. India’s 2020 Voluntary National Review on SDG progress highlights the issue of missing women and reiterates the BBBP’s aim “to reverse this trend, by awareness generation, mainly through country-wide campaigns”.

It is no surprise, then, that the government has decided to amplify the “Selfie With Daughter” campaign using its clout in public communications, helping transform a local initiative into a nationwide movement. In turn, the “Selfie With Daughter” Foundation explicitly states as one of its objectives “to impart greater impetus to already set out government initiatives and campaigns”. The campaign has become an excellent example of partnership, with government and civil society efforts reinforcing one another.

Around the world, these and other efforts appear to be gaining traction. The SIGI finds that effective government interventions, coupled with a shift in social norms, have led to a slight decrease in the number of missing women over the past decade. Of course, communications can only be one part of the solution: to shift son-biased norms, the SIGI calls for changes in legislation, new social protection schemes and cash incentives.

Yet, given the enormous number of selfies bouncing around the internet, it is great to know that some of them can have such a powerful impact on the SDGs!


This post is published in partnership with Engagement Global, a German service agency working on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to engage civil society on issues of development co-operation.

35 comments on “Taking pride in girls: the Selfie With Daughter campaign in India

  1. Preet Anand

    Sunil Jaglan ji you are doing so well & your campaign “Selfie with Daughter” is real & helpful in many terms …… keep going Sunil ji😊👍

    Like

  2. Nice 👍 really good for our women of this country

    Like

  3. The word “Change” is a powerful word and action.
    Social Media + Awareness = Positive change on the ground level.
    Well Done Sunil.

    Like

  4. Guys really doing great work and my prayers with you guys. 👍👍.

    Like

  5. sir , it is one of the greatest scheme to strengthen the relationship between daughter and a father…
    This work will go far, keep going on😊😊😊

    Like

  6. Dr Shiwani Chaudhary

    Congratulations Sunil Ji for doing this great job. From last two years I have been working with you and have seen all your efforts to uplift the status of women in Haryana. Selfie with daughter is among the one of such efforts and I am proud that it has gained attention all over the world. Congrats and all the best for your social works.

    Like

  7. Jabir Hasan

    Feminism isn’t about making women stronger. Women are already strong,
    it’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.

    Keep going Mr. Sunil…………………………….

    Like

  8. A great initiative that I had the honour to personally meet and support in 2015, demonstrating that small can achieve a lot!

    Like

  9. You have made us all proud with your sincere determination and serious efforts. We want every girl to know that her voice can change the world.
    Keep going Sir…………. 👍👍👍👍

    Like

  10. A great initiative in the favour of Girl’s empowerment. More power to you Sir, Keep rocking always. Keep us motivated with all your amazing work.

    Like

  11. A great initiative in the favour of girl’s empowerment. More power to you Sir. Keep us motivated by your amazing work.

    Like

  12. #selfiewithdaughter one of the most powerful hastag which is stop the gender sex ration inequality by the stoping of female infanticide, neglected and discrimination against girls in some part of the country.

    #selfiewithdaughter proud to have a daughter

    Like

  13. Sunil jaglan sir you are such a great person …

    Like

  14. Selfie with daughter has caught the imagination of the people both in urban and rural populace.
    Parents are proud to post pictures of theirs with their daughters and showcasing how daughters are no less ..rather better.
    Sunil sir has brought a sense of pride in people with respect to their daughters …salute sir ..
    Let’s make this a global phenomenon.

    Like

  15. LAXMAN SINGH MEHRA

    Congratulations Sunil Sir Ji, for doing this great job. And I and all the father’s of daughters is very very grateful to all your efforts to up lift the status and honour of daughters in specially Haryana and all over the world. From last year I have been working with you on the behalf of Pranab Mukherjee Foundation and have seen all your efforts to up lift the status of women in Haryana. Your campaign “SELFIE WITH DAUGHTER” is really helpful in many aspects. Specially thanks for doing this great job.

    Like

  16. Anvi Aggarwal

    Congratulations to the selfie with daughter foundation. The work done is immaculate. This small campaign has made such a huge difference. Founder, Mr. Sunil Jaglan is a man of values. His path and work is absolutely phenomenal. More power to the foundation and all its associates!

    Like

  17. Sapna Rakhiwal

    Excellent jod by a dynamic person
    International surpanch

    Like

  18. Great job Sunil ji

    Like

  19. Upender singh

    Selfie with Daughter Foundation was started by the former sarpanch Mr. Sunil Jaglan Ji of Bibipur, a small village in Haryana state, which is completely dedicated to girls.
    Today that Foundation is maintaining its identity in foreign countries as well. Shri Man ji, be an inspiration to the youth like you.
    Hope that you will be successful in the purpose with which you have campaigned.

    Like

  20. I really appreciate the great work done. I can see a lot of thought, effort and consistency behind the campaigns which is rightly awarded with huge applause. I congratulate Sunil Jaglan and complete team for stupendous efforts for making selfie with daughter a great success.

    Like

  21. Fabulous job sir…..keep it up.

    Like

  22. Dr. Sunil vats

    Very nice campaign

    Like

  23. Great work Super Sarpanch ji

    Like

  24. Ambuj Ahuja

    In this era where we stand for equality, selfie with daughter is one such epitome example, that yes it is possible. truly it must be replicated in every part of India.

    Like

  25. Vijender Singh

    Dear Sunil you are doing good job

    Like

  26. Mubasshira Khan

    Independence and autonomy have always been a trait that is valued among men.
    But at a time where individuality is more important ever, particularly in the working world, it’s important that girls are empowered to blaze their own path as well.

    Thanks very much Sunil Sir for Great and Valuable work.👍

    Like

  27. wow sir. as an Indian citizen, we should all take the ownership to enhance the conditions of our country as it is imperative for growth to happen NOW. you are an inspiration to us sir, thank you!

    Like

  28. Neelam Parashar

    Congratulations, Great Job, proud of u Sunil ji

    Like

  29. Sonu saini

    Nice really good work sir

    Like

  30. Sunil Jaglan’s persistence efforts has brought impact on the ground in Haryana. His Selfie With Daughter campaign has become well known name not only in India but even overseas, as is well appreciated by PM Shri Narendra Modi ji several times in his speeches, Honourable Ex President Late Shri Pranab Mukherjee and many famous personalities. I have fortune of associating with SWD and visited few villages in Nuh and Mehat region and it is heartening to see SWD programmes attract hundreds of girls and their families. Several girls have become Ambassadors of SWD and promote its activities in their villages and towns. My best wishes and support to Sunil Jaglan for carrying forward several SWD programme activities for girls empowerment and enhancing their status and education.

    Like

  31. Pooja Duhan

    Congratulations sir for a great 👍 job
    Proud of you sir

    Like

  32. Narender Singh

    Sunil’s efforts had brought a significant change in Haryana and India also, regarding approach towards girl child..
    Very positive impact…

    Like

  33. Great efforts Sunil ji! More power to you!

    Like

  34. KRISHNA WANKHEDE

    Congratulations to Selfi With Daughter Foundation for the commendable work done for uplifting the status of women and Gender equality in Haryana. Mr. Sunil Jaglan’s efforts towards empowering and enhancing the status of women are really appreciable. My best wishes to his endeavour.

    Like

  35. Sunil Sir. You are a awesome person. Selfie with 👧 is very powerful campaign. Keep it up sir ji. We proud of you

    Like

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