Gender-Based Violence – especially against Women is a critical social issue in India. A multi-pronged approach, by all concerned, is required to address the issue.
The youths are an important section of society. What they feel, think and do about gender-based violence and all gender-related matters is important. Through this blog, we aim to stimulate youths and motivate them to address gender matters.
This blog is being started today on 25th November, which is observed internationally as Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. 25th Nov to 10th December is observed globally as 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. We could not find anything better than this day to launch our interactive blog.
On the occasion of the 16 Days Campaign, let us salute to the 3 Mirabal Sisters – Patria, Minerva and Maria Mirabal who were killed on 25 November 1960 because they opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo.
The global theme for this year’s 16 Days Campaign is ‘Make Education Safe for All’, whereby we need to talk on how Gender-based violence with respect to the right to education is a consistent threat in public spaces, schools, and homes and is a detriment to the universal human right of girls to education.
As per latest figures of Human Development Index for India, out of 100 girls who complete primary school education, only 27 girls complete their secondary schooling and matriculation. The reasons for dropout by various researchers showed that girls had to take care of siblings, or married at a younger age .. Now a significant number of girls are found to dropping out of school due to sexual abuse.
Almost 3 years ago, we had the law on sexual harassment at workplace in India that mandates employers to ensure dignified and sexual harassment-free work environment. The law is applicable to all educational institutions, apart from private and public sector establishments. And when we refer to educational institutions, people usually think of Colleges and Universities when it comes to implementation of the law. There is a dearth of School Principals who have adhered to all the compliances under the law on sexual harassment at workplace and are taking periodic steps for prevention of sexual harassment in their campuses! So let us talk about implementing the law in spirit and do our bit towards a dignified work environment for all.
While we are talking about Gender-based Violence, we need to also talk about Gender-based Violence and Abuse of Transgenders, Homosexuals and even Boys and Men. We must not forget that Patriarchy is the common enemy of us all. It’s the Patriarchy which tells that Men should not wear a sari, that every girl should get married and ensure the male dominance and supremacy continues, that men should suppress their emotions…. And in my 26 years of work in the development sector, I find that we are not working enough to build bridges of understanding and solidarity among all the 3 genders and collectively addressing gender-based discrimination.. Through the blog, let us attempt to promote this understanding and self-reflection through personal sharing and ventilation on a wide range of contemporary matters and pave the way towards a healthy gender-just society.
This blog is being launched today at the inauguration of a 2-day film festival on Gender, Sexuality and Relationships at Dr.BMN College of Home Science, Mumbai in the presence of a huge crowd of students and Faculty, and representatives of civil society organizations across Mumbai.
We look forward to responses, posts and sharings by youths and to engaging conversations on gender!