Over the years, Parichiti has realized through its work on women’s rights that the gender norms enforced upon each person by society can be changed only through the active participation of all genders. That is why the word ‘Ek Saath’ is especially relevant because it holds the promise of inclusivity and equality for male (cis), female (cis) and transgender without reservations. The rights of one gender can’t be championed by them alone. If women’s rights are to be secured then men have to be included in the process of countering patriarchy as it affects all genders negatively.
Challenges during the program- It was difficult to find a time where a large number of members were available. Due to this several meetings had to be cancelled. The members also seemed apprehensive about opening up as they were unsure about the nature of the work and discussions we were conducting.
Main gains from the program- The community members learned about the Ek Sath campaign. In planning of the event they participated enthusiastically. Discussions about the event helped them get a clear idea about the work we are planning to do.
Venue: Shahid Smriti Colony
Objective of Program: Creating awareness about gender social norms and gendered division of labor through interactive games.
Description of Participants: Male and female participants. Average of male participants was 16 to 28 and for female was 18 to 48 years of age.
Description of events: At 10:30 AM boys and girls from the community came with posters they had painted for the event. The children decorated the ground with balloons. The mela started at 2 PM. There was football kicking and gun shooting for women and roti making and cloth folding for men. Blowing and bursting balloons was organized for both men and women. Both the genders were excited about participating in the competitions. The gender role reversal was very exciting for the participants present and they found it a novel idea.
Reaction and responses of participants: The participants were very enthusiastic as it was the first time they had taken part in games which were based on gender role reversal. The club was very helpful in organizing the event. After the event, the club president asked us to carry out such events as all the community members had enjoyed it.
Challenges: The turnout was much larger than expected as in the preliminary meetings there were few participants. Their understanding was limited before the event.
Gains: It increased our outreach in the community. More members became aware of the purpose of our work and became enthusiastic in participating in it.
EXTEMPORE AND POSTER MAKING
Date: 23rd November 2016
Objective of Program: Creating awareness about issues related to gender equality and identifying gender champions.
Description of participants: 43 students from the Mass Communication and Journalism department participated in the event. Of them 9 were boys and 33 were girls. Besides the students there was one professor present from the department. From Parichiti there were six members including two interns.
Description of event: Parichiti, under the Ek Sath Campaign, organized an event on gender norms at Asutosh College with the students of the Mass Communication Department. The program started at around 2:00 PM. A short introductory speech was delivered by the secretary of Parichiti, Ms Anchita Ghatak where she spoke on gender violence and recent occurrences in the city. She shed light on the way gender norms are formed and entrenched and how the youth can work to ensure social justice. The students present formed two groups according to their interests and one group participated in the extempore while the other took part in the poster making competition. There were four topics for the extempore- Gendered Division of Labor, Marriage, Gender Violence, and Right to Mobility. Four groups were formed and topics were assigned to them. Each participant had to speak on the given topic for three minutes. There were four groups in poster making and each group made a poster. The campaign ended around 4:00pm.
Reactions and responses of students:There were varied responses from students but each had a strong belief which they justified in a logical manner. Majority of them believed that household chores should be learned and shared by everyone irrespective of gender. A student named Shilpa said,”Gender equality is a must. But our society doesn’t respond to it. They dominate the female. Even my family faces this. Mummy always does everything.” When discussions on dowry came up Pousali Das said, “Dowry is a gift for the bride- I don’t support this idea. Parents should provide only necessary things to the daughter. She should be empowered to speak up for herself and stand up for her rights.” A student named Suranjan Sarkar said,” an adult woman must marry according to her parents’ wishes.” The students were highly enthusiastic and wanted another larger event to be conducted on their campus.
Challenges/problems during the program- The college faculty were unsure whether the students would stay and participate enthusiastically throughout the program. However, when we conducted the program we found the students eager to put forward their views.
Gains from the program- The students wanted us to conduct the program again and at a larger scale. We realized that they are aware of gender issues and have a strong interest in being part of our work.
Wall writing was carried out in a village in South 24 Parganas, Kalikapur Village. Two locations in the village were covered. The participants were excited in participating in this work along with us. They said that as it was 25th December several members had gone out to celebrate. They asked us to conduct a larger event on a later date. In a meeting conducted on 4th January Sukumar, an active male member said, “We are enthusiastic to carry forward this work and would like to form a group as soon as possible.”
There were 12 male campaign participants who carried out the wall writing. They encouraged other members of the community to participate along with them. The local club’s (Shubroto Smriti Club) president enthusiastically called forward the village members to participate in any way possible.
Mobilization Activities Detail