Men demand equal voice for women


In the week of January 23 to 29, 150 men organized action events across 16 communities to demand equal voice for women in decision-making in their communities. The action events are organised to mark the end of a programme cycle, where men take personal and collective action to support women in their communities.

In these events, women from the communities felicitate the men who have graduated from the AfE programme cycle. 135 men graduated from this programme cycle.

During our regular training sessions, men often give examples of how women are dependent on the men for almost every decision they take. Be it regarding their daily movements, whether they should get a job, how should they spend the money they have earned, which hospital to go to if they or the kids fall sick and so on. Through study and debate the adolescent men realized that this kind of power dynamics is harmful for men, women and their families. This is the reason we decided to address the issue through the action events. Men were trained by our programme mentors to address the topic. The events were delivered through the medium of picture story. More than 600 women attended these events across the 16 communities.

The picture story led to an interesting dialogue amongst the young men and women.  Nanabai Gaikwad, resident of Ambedkar Nagar argued, “I agree with what you are saying. Some women in this community don’t know the meaning of ‘independence’. Some know what it means but don’t have courage to do anything about it. Some women like me have the courage but in return we have to listen to abusive words from our husbands and be the victim to their beating. What’s the solution you can suggest for that?”

Before our mentor or advocates could say something, two women from the community answered, “In so many years, we haven’t been able to change our husbands. What can a new organisation do about it in such short time! But what they are doing is making these young men understand and think. Going forward they will behave well and support their mother, sister and wife unlike our husbands.”

It is encouraging to hear the women coming forward validating our approach and trying to convince other women about the same.

The team is preparing to start the new programme cycle next week. All graduates will be invited to join the Alumni Action Programme where they continue to take action to reduce violence and discrimination against the women in their communities.