India’s youth demographic is the largest in the entire world. Today for any issue that crops up, we look at the youth to come up with solutions and take a better road forward. Recently, UN Women India held a similar kind of event where its main objective was to encourage the youth of the country to come forward in support gender equality, women empowerment and raise their voice against violence against women.
Assistant Secretary-General of UN Women, Lakshmi Puri said at the event, “while young girls need to be empowered for themselves, for young boys it is about your own self-realization and not losing power but gaining it.”
She also spoke about how how inter-generational strategies will play a big role in attaining gender equality. But it has a few dimensions, one of them she mentioned was “to download the concepts, the goals and target from Sustainable Development Goal five into laws, policies and measures in the country.”
The event also saw Aditya Gupta, founder of People for Parity who talked about the fact that we are conditioned with gender since the time weare born. “I was sold the middle class dream of taking up a good job, feed my family, have a big house and what not.” He added, “As I grew up, my mother started showing me the doors of the kitchen and my father started talking to me about how he wants me to have a good job.”
Aditya, an IIT Delhi graduate, realized the disparity in his own house where his mother and sister had troubles achieving their career dreams only because of their genders. He then learnt about feminism from Kriya Foundation and found healing from a lot of other places.
“I am a feminist and I am a man and there is no disconnect to it,” concluded Aditya.
Shaili Chopra, founder of SheThePeople.TV, stated how her idea of starting a news organisation about women-at-work was questioned by many citing what can she really do in this niche department?, and she questioned back saying, “how can you call the 50% population niche?”
She decided to showcase more and more women on the forefront and lead the conversation in different fields. “Everywhere I was going I saw same faces at events and I asked when will we get a new list of speakers? More faces need to be shown in the world.”
She added, “We are talking to women because they are achievers.”
Two Odia tribal girls, Mandakini Majhi and Shanti Murmu talked about their struggles coming from a conservative state and what change education has brough to them. Both are the students of Kalinga Institute for Social Studies. Mandakini Majhi is the first female player of Kho-Kho from her state and Shanti Murmu is a youth activist and the founder of Parivartan for Gender Equality.
While both had to face difficulties to come out of their villages and study in Bhubaneshwar at KISS, they became the torch-bearers against violence against women and supporting women’s rights in their own communities.
Young people need to be more attentive to their surrounding and the fact that even in this modern time and century we don’t have equality amongst not just men and women but various other genders as well. And the regressive patriarchal views need to take a back seat giving power to every in equal measure.