“Put pressure on the boys so that they don’t hurt us and stop us from moving ahead. Pressure on them means more freedom for us”. Meera, a 13 year old from Najafgarh.
What happens when boys and girls come together to have a conversation on the role of youth on ending violence against women and girls? Girls stand up and address a public gathering for the first time in their lives. Boys stand up and take personal pledges to change gender equations in their homes and everyday lives.
What an appropriate time to have this conversation. As the world prepares to welcome a new day tomorrow with celebrations for women’s day, youth in 11 states across India have chosen instead to start a conversation that challenges the very pillars of beliefs that this society is built upon. The conversations were kick started by a group of 50 boys and girls in Najafgarh today on 7th March, 2016.
These young boys and girls are members of a youth group formed under Kadam Badhate Chalo which is a youth led initiative designed to reach out to and influence the attitudes of all individuals directly linked to the everyday lives of young women and girls. The program is an initiative of Martha Farrell Foundation and PRIA in collaboration with its partners in 14 locations across the country. In Najafgarh, the initiative is being facilitated in collaboration with Samajik Badlav Trust, a community based organisation
In Najafgarh, girls shared ‘mild’ incidents of eve- teasing that later culminated into horrible incidents of acid-attacks, abduction and rapes. Female feticide, domestic violence, and child marriage are rampant across all the locations we work in.
When a high ranking officer, a guest at the event made a comment about the limited thinking of women, a 13 year old girl was quick to challenge it. “Girls do not have any limit, it is the society which has these views” she challenged.
Other guests who participated in this conversation were Mr. Shri Om,( In charge, Gender Resource Centre), Mr. Manoj Solanki (Asra) Delhi Mahila Aayog, and Ms Poonam, Chairperson, Aam Admi Party.
The event ended with all the participants and guests pledging for parity and making places safe for women.