Tata Tea Jaago Re ties up with Haiyya: Organise for Action to tackle gender bias at the grassroots

It has been estimated that about 2.5 lakh girls are killed each year in India because of their sex (World Bank 2012 report on ‘Gender Equality and Development’). This holds true for both rural and urban areas, and in every strata of our society with even a lot of educated adults practising and passing on their gender biases to their children. The treatment of girls in one’s households moulds children’s psyche, who internalise preferential treatment of boys. Changing the mindsets of people and bringing about gender equality requires massive and sustained effort. Tata Tea Jaago Re's 'Deepa ho ya Deepak, Ek Samman, Ek Sa Hak' initiative in association with Haiyya: Organise for Action aims to do just that at the grassroots

Encouraging parents and children to question traditional gender roles

Are we guilty of knowingly or unknowingly perpetuating gender bias on our children? Let’s look at a few general comments and practices:

Expecting only the girls to learn household chores like cooking and cleaning,Spending more money on education for boys rather than for girls,Bringing up girls with the philosophy that however educated they may be, their priority in life should always be to get married and raise a family,Pushing girls to take up gender-appropriate jobs, like teaching and nursing etc.,Comments like ‘Aap larkein hoke larki se haar gaye‘ or ‘Larkein larkiyon jaise nahin rote‘ even when they are made in jest.

These are just a few examples of how traditional gender roles are ingrained in young children. Helping people identify gender biases in their daily lives and making them realise as to why they need to change their beliefs and actions are the initial steps towards achieving a society where boys and girls are given equal opportunities, rights and freedom.

Thus, this initiative helps both children and adults identify various scenarios where boys and girls are treated differently by society. It also helps in setting the context as to why there is an urgent need to break free of these biases.

Engaging with the masses through interactive activities

Over the past three months, we have conducted several workshops spanning over both, urban and rural areas in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and UP. They follow a strategic method of organizing community engagement activities in the neighbourhoods with both, parents and children by identifying influencers in the communities, distributing pamphlets and finally assembling at the pre-decided venue.

The use of forms of mass entertainment like Nukkad Natak (street play) to ensure that the message reaches the grassroots, and is understood by everyone has proven to be quite successful. The change in the approach and attitude towards a boy and a girl has to start from their homes and to aid the same, a simple toolkit with specific messages have been designed and are distributed to all parents.

Here’s how this initiative has been successful in influencing parents in changing their opinions.

Help build a society where girls face no gender discrimination

While it is encouraging to witness parents realise how a society free of gender bias will make their children’s lives better, this is just the beginning! The message has to reach far and wide and the onus to bring about the change lies in each and everyone of us. Together, when we pledge to practice and teach gender sensitisation, we can pave the way for a better future for India.

Join us in our quest to realise a safe, equal society for all.

Read more about the petition initiated by Jaago Re and signed by more than a million Indians to make gender sensitisation compulsory in schools here

Alarm Bajne Se Pehle #JaagoRe

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