“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 an important role in preventing gender discrimination.
Gender inequality does not only affect women but has a negative impact on the 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 the early nineteenth century, women were burnt alive after their husband’s death with the 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 husbands. 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, especially when there are strong conflicts with one’s cultural, social, or religious identity.
1. Understand the issue
Along with knowing the gender equality issues on the global context, you can read or refer to this very useful books to understand why women’s issues are so important and how to tackle some issues as a man or boy-Men’s Guide to Feminism: 5 Books on Feminism Every Man Should Read
2. Start from yourself and your family
3. Be Surrounded By Like-Minded People
Read this story of an 18-year-old young boy in California who supports the rape trauma survivors Fighting Against Sex Crimes for insipiration.This is a very good example of how one can start!