In India, every 50 minutes, a girl or woman faces sexual harassment. Women empowerment is essential to reduce such acts of violence against women. It also helps in promoting equality. However, it is just one half of the problem.
So, what is the second half of the problem that remains unresolved? It is the raising of a better generation of men with equitable behavior.
In this article, we will look into ways to create an unbiased generation of men to reduce violence against women and girls. Here, we will also look into the significance and role of the United Nations' International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
On November 25, 1960, the Dominican ruler ordered the assassination of three sisters who raised their voice against dictatorship. Since 2000, the UN is considering November 25 as the day to raise awareness of violence against women. They conduct activities, campaigns, and programs to reduce violence against women. With the unexpected hit of the pandemic, domestic, sexual, and psychological violence against women has increased rapidly.
Every year, they focus on a theme as a part of their campaign.
In India, around 230 million males are under the age of eighteen. Under such circumstances, it is essential to focus on their upbringing to avoid outbreaks of violence against women. Gender discrimination, patriarchal upbringing, and emphasis on masculinity are some of the problems prevailing in our society. There are a plethora of programs in India that focus on empowering women. However, there aren't many such initiatives in India that consider raising a better generation of men.
Action for Equality by the Equal Community Foundation (Established in 2011) tries to fight violence against women through teenage boys. They train young boys between the age group of 13 to 17. Over one year, they equip boys with the skills and knowledge to challenge gender norms. More than 12,500 young boys have graduated from their course till now. Apart from the Equal Community Foundation, Promundo is another organization that focuses on mitigating urban violence against women. They also prioritize training boys to empower both genders.
Here are some of the ways to raise better men in India.
Adolescence is when boys start to acquire different beliefs and attitudes on gender and sexuality. As most of the boys in India belong to patriarchal families, they imbibe toxic masculinity and patriarchal practices from their families and surroundings. Schools, NGOs, and families can help young boys to create awareness on equality and the problems of discrimination through activities, games, and classes.
Unlearning gender norms
Educating the difference between gender and sex is essential. Gender is a social construct. However, in India, people attribute masculinity solely to men and feminity to women. Though things are changing, it is pertinent to make the new generation understand the difference. We have to take steps to change the perception of gender norms in young boys and girls. We have to support them to face their insecurities, fears, and doubts.
Most young boys imbibe toxic masculinity through various stages of life. They start to consider abusing, catcalling and objectifying women as normal. Peer pressure plays a crucial role in their adolescence. Instead of accusing them, we can always try to create awareness in them. Through social groups and committees, we can produce gender sense in boys. There are several skill development programs in India. They can also take initiatives to educate boys to attain equitable behavior.
In the present decade, technology plays a vital role. From a very young age, boys and girls gain exposure to movies, social media, and other platforms. They can learn a lot of positive as well as negative elements by even watching a movie or YouTube video. The ideas that they acquire through them can play an immense role in their behavioral developments. We can contribute to the solution by creating content that spreads messages of gender equality. Perhaps a small animated video on reducing violence against women can act as a change.
Let's begin the change for a better tomorrow by raising a generation of responsible men and women!
Cover photo by Unsplash