“It’s time for men to understand that when women are destroyed, it’s not a women’s question, it’s a human question. And if it’s a human question, men really need to be a part of this fight.”- Dr. Denis Mukuwege
Systematic Gender discrimination, sexual and domestic abuse against women , female infanticides or dowry murder are not only women’s issues. These are human rights issues.
To All Men and Boys, we urge that YOU TOO (#YouToo) have a huge responsibility and important role in preventing gender discrimination.
Gender inequality does not only affect women, but has negative impact economic and social growth of society. According to the 2013 Human Development Report (UNDP), “gender inequality is especially tragic not only because it excludes women from basic social opportunities, but also because it gravely imperils the life prospects of future generations.”
Every individual in the society , irrespective of their gender should take an active role in eliminating all sorts of gender biases . Men need to understand that creating a gender equal society is required for overall growth, development, peace and progress of the country. They should ensure that women and girls have equal rights at work and at home.
It should NOT only be the fights of women for their own freedom and rights. Would you like to watch your mother, sister or daughters oppressed, discriminated or violated because of their gender ? If not , then what difference can YOU bring in your own life to eliminate or reduce the existing gender inequality ? What else can YOU do to be the change agents in your community or in your family ?
Historically men had taken many major steps to stop harmful social practices or social evils. In India, till early nineteenth century, women were burnt alive after their husband’s death with husband’s dead body . Toddlers or very young girls were married to 70/80 year old men. These girls used to be socially outcast for the rest of their lives, after the death of their husband . Girls were not allowed to go to school. Social and religious reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy , Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar fought relentless battles against these evil practices and to bring justice to women and girls. And they were MEN.
The main challenges in eliminating gender biases, or social customs, rituals, practices where women’s rights are violated are – in most of the societies these are deeply embedded in the culture. Therefore any individual or organization trying to explain those customs as harmful, face with enormous resistance from the community. Women’s rights activities are often characterized by the community as an attempt to malign their cultural identity.
Let’s admit the fact that fighting For women’s rights and equality is not easy for a Man, specially when there are strong conflicts with one’s cultural, social or religious identity.
1. Understand the issue
Invest some time reading and understanding gender based issues in global as well as your local context . Do your own research to be aware about the pressing concerns over gender inequality and how it can affect the growth and economic development of societies.
2. Start from yourself and your family
First, look at your own life and then at the people around you to identify signs of gender inequality , oppression and gender based discrimination.Think and reflect what you can do to bring changes and equality. You can always start with implementing small but significant changes to reflect more gender equality in your personal life or at work. Read this post on how to Eliminate Gender Discrimination by Building Self Awareness
for guidance on working to overcome your unconscious biases and prejudice about social and cultural issues which affect women and girls life and freedom.
3. Work in collaboration
Remember, any battle is easy fighting in groups. Connect with like minded people online or locally to make a robust network and support system. Work in collaboration with your community, women and girls to create a gender equal world. Volunteer with organizations who are working in your locality to eliminate gender discrimination or to empower women.
Read this story of a 18 year old young boy in California who supports the rape trauma survivors Fighting Against Sex Crimes .This is a very good example of how one can start!
Be an advocate of women empowerment and gender equality. Present yourself in your home, school, college, workplace, or community as a change maker. Talk about social and cultural customs which impair women’s rights and freedom. This will help you to create your own identity as a change agent as well as will influence others around you to reflect on their lives and beyond. You alone may not be able change everything, but can influence many people to think out of the box and to take actions.
Your story of fighting against gender discrimination could potentially inspire many other men and boys who want to help but are not sure about the steps or scared about the challenges on the way. Please tell your story to engage and encourage as many male as you can.
You Too is a platform for all men and boys to share their stories and fights for creating a gender equal world. Please be a part of it. Let your story be heard. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
It is time for all of us to wake up to this realization that many harmful social practices in patriarchal societies were established to dominate and control women’s lives and rights. These practices do not have any social , economical or political benefits on any society. No country or community can progress to the fullest of their potential by oppressing their girls and women.