Brokpa women from Kargil, northern Ladakh, in local costumes (CC BY 2.0)
Contrary to the 18th and 19th centuries, the 20th Century world in general has witnessed the rise in social status of the women. However, in last few decades, there has been a tremendous surge in the desire among women not to be merely treated as equal to their male counterparts but first among the equals. This phenomenon becomes particularly interesting because this desire of women is backed by a solid endeavour to carve a niche for themselves. Today, women want to weave a world of their own - a world that promises freedom to make choices, independence to take decisions and indulgence with capacity building activities. Like the rest of the world, Kashmir too is experiencing this transformation among women. The phenomenon of women outshining their male counterparts is a common place occurrence rather than being an exception. Women empowerment, thus, is no more anissue that can be overlooked or given a shoddy treatment. Despite Kashmir being a male dominated society for centuries and women being restricted behind the four walls, Kashmiri women have proved their mettle in numerous fields around the world. The very fact that they were able to overcome the enigmas of gender inequalities and discrimination, restrictions caused by the conflict and lack of opportunities, there is no more proof required support the argument that the quest for excellence among Kashmiri women was never missing.