प्रश्न समजून घेणे ही प्रश्न सोडविण्याच्या दिशेने पहिली पायरी ..!

इक्वल कम्युनिटी फाउंडेशन आपल्या एक्शन फॉर इक्वलिटी या कार्यक्रमाच्या माध्यमातून विषमतेवर आधारित पुरुषी मानसिकता बदलण्याचा प्रयत्न करत आहे. १५ आठवड्यांच्या प्रशिक्षण कार्यक्रमाच्या शेवटच्या दोन आठवड्यामध्ये यातील सहभागी मुले काही कृती कार्यक्रम (Action event) करत असतात. नुकत्याच संपलेल्या आठव्या प्रशिक्षण कार्यक्रमानंतर “लिंगभाव आणि प्रसारमाध्यमे” याविषयावर कृती कार्यक्रम करण्यात आला.

For an English translation of this blog article please click here.

कोणताही प्रश्न सोडविण्यासाठी, अगोदर तो प्रश्न आहे याची जाणीव झाली पाहिजे. त्याचप्रमाणे आजच्या नव्या पिढीतील पुरुषांनी स्त्रियांसोबत होणा-या भेदभाव आणि हिंसेच्या विरोधात उभे राहावे, कृती करावी असे वाटत असेल तर अगोदर त्यांच्या स्वतःच्या आसपासच्या वातावरणात असणारे या प्रश्नाचे अस्तित्व आणि स्वरूप त्यांना जाणवले पाहिजे.

समाजावर प्रसारमाध्यमांचा खूप मोठा प्रभाव पडत असतो. त्यातून लोक अनुकरण करत असतात. मात्र आजकाल सर्वच प्रसारमाध्यमांमध्ये स्त्री आणि पुरुष यांना लिंगभेदावर आधारित चौकटीत अडकविण्याचा प्रयत्न होताना दिसतो. या कृतीकार्यक्रमाच्या माध्यमातून मुलांनी वर्तमानपत्रे, जाहिरात, चित्रपट, गाणी, टी.व्ही. मालिका यामध्ये दिसणारी विषमता शोधण्याचे, समजून घेण्याचे प्रयत्न केले.


अशा अनेक मुद्यांवर मुलांनी सविस्तर चर्चा करून वर्तमानपत्रे, मासिके यातून कात्रणे काढली. त्या कात्रणांच्या सहाय्याने सुंदर कोलाज पोस्टर्स बनवली. या प्रशिक्षण कार्यक्रमाच्या सहभागाबद्दल दिल्या जाणा-या प्रमाणपत्र प्रदान कार्यक्रमात उपस्थित असणा-या पालक आणि वस्तीतील इतर लोकांसमोर त्याचे सादरीकरण करून चर्चा घडवून आणली. इतकेच नाही तर, आपण स्वतः कधी हिंसा आणि भेदभाव करणार नाही आणि इतरांना करू देणार नाही, याबद्दल आपल्या मित्रांमध्ये आणि समाजात जनजागृती करू अशी सर्वांनी प्रतिज्ञा घेतली.

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Young men from the AfE programme discussing posters, taking the pledge and receiving certificates. For more pictures from the action event click here.

आम्हाला याची पूर्ण जाणीव आहे की, केवळ अशा पोस्टर्स आणि चर्चा यातून लगेच आणि फार मोठा बदल होणार नाही; तशी अपेक्षाही नाही. मात्र या निमित्ताने स्वतःच्या घरात आणि आसपास राहणा-या मुलींच्या, स्त्रियांच्या आयुष्यातील भेदभाव आणि हिंसा याबद्दल १८ वस्त्यांमधील २०२ मुलांच्या मनात काही प्रमाणात जाणीव निर्माण झाली. ही निर्माण झालेली जाणीव आणि त्या जाणीवेतून या लिंगभेदाबद्दल लोकांशी चर्चा घडवून आणण्याचा त्यांनी केलेला छोटासा पण महत्वपूर्ण प्रयत्न, हा समतेवर आधारित समाजाच्या उभारणीच्या दिशेने पडलेले एक मोलाचे पाऊल असेल, हे मात्र नक्की !

– Shrikant LaxmiShankar | Programme Development Associate | Equal Community Foundation

The first step towards solving the problem is understanding it!

Equal Community Foundation is working towards changing the attitudes and behaviours of young men through the Action for Equality (AfE) program. In the last two weeks of this 15-week training program, young men participate in Action Events.

The most recent action event after the completion of 8th cycle of the AfE program was based on the issue of Gender Discrimination & Media.

To solve any problem, we need to understand it first. Similarly, if men want to stand against violence and discrimination, if they want to act against it, then they need to first realise the existence and nature of this problem in their own environment.

The impact of media on society is huge. Nowadays, media tries to attract women and men into a frame based on gender discrimination. Through the medium of the AfE action events, our young men analysed the inequality reflected in newspapers, advertisements, films, songs, television serials and other kinds of media.

Here are some examples discrimination against women reflected through media-

  • In almost all advertisements, we see that is a woman has backache because of doing household chores, she is given an ointment or a tablet to make her feel better. Is the responsibility of others in the household over by doing this? Instead of talking about the need of same allocation of work, the media teaches us that using an ointment or a tablet will help women quickly finish all her chores (sometimes by flying in the air too?) What type of message we are giving the community through this?
  • In multiple advertisements for shaving blades, shaving creams even refreshments women are ‘displayed’. Is this really necessary?
  • There are multiple songs like ‘sheila ki jawani’, munni badnaam hui, paisa fek tamasha dekh, nachengi pinki’ which are humiliating and insulting to all women. In songs like ‘Tu chiz badi he, mast mast’ women are described as a ‘chiz’ which basically means ‘an object’. Really? Is a woman a mere ‘object’ for us?
  • In films, why are actresses only used for entertainment? Why are ‘rowdy’ (careless) or ‘dabang’ (strong) characters associated with actors coming to the rescue of actresses?
  • Why are women from the same television serials always wearing expensive saris while working in the kitchen? Or standing helpless before God? Or always fighting and conspiring?

Our young men did a detailed search on many such issues and collected cut outs from various newspapers and magazines.  With the use of these cut outs they created poster collages. During the distribution of certificates at the Action Event, they presented these posters and had discussions with the parents and other community members present at the event. That’s not all; they even pledged not to be a part of any kind of violence and discrimination henceforth and to encourage their friends to do the same.

We are completely aware that posters and discussions like these will not bring about major change in the attitudes and behaviours of these young men. We don’t expect it to! However, because of such programmes, we are able to create awareness regarding the issue in the minds of some 202 children from 18 communities in Pune.

The realisation and because of the realisation, a small but important effort taken by the young men to discuss gender discrimination in their community, is an essential step to provide the direction for the establishment of a community based on equality!

Mistakes made, lessons learnt

We are starting the new year with new challenges, revised priorities and a stronger team. In this new year, we will continue to share with you some of the lessons we have learnt on an ongoing basis. We urge you to ask us questions, share feedback and share our findings with your friends and colleagues.

In this section, we have highlighted two of our lessons learnt in the last few months.

1. Emphasise on the element of ‘critical thinking’ in the programme curriculum

One of the most critical tools for implementation of Action for Equality Programme is the curriculum. Curriculum development is an ongoing process and today we are using the 4th version of the curriculum. We have invested a lot of resources to design, develop and strengthen the curriculum.

However, one element that we haven’t emphasised on enough is the element of ‘critical thinking’.

Over the coming months the Action for Equality Programme team will be focussing on embedding this element in each and every module of the Graduate Programme as well as the Alumni Programme. Our objective will be to ensure that we provide inputs to the men who are part of the programme to develop skills including observation, interpretation, analysis, inference, evaluation and explanation.

We expect the men to attend our sessions, learn, unlearn and apply what they have learnt to inform their behaviour. This includes them being able to:

• Recognize problems, to find workable means for meeting those problems

• Gather pertinent information

• Recognize unstated assumptions and values

• Comprehend and use language with accuracy, clarity, and discernment

• Interpret data, to appraise evidence and evaluate arguments

• Draw reasonable conclusions

• Put to test the conclusions and generalizations at which one arrives

• Reconstruct one’s patterns of beliefs on the basis of wider experience

• Render accurate judgments about specific things and qualities in everyday life

We recognise that this is step–by-step process. This means that we do not have to wait for them to take action at the end of the graduate programme, but the process can start from the day they join the programme.

2. Let’s change the conversation

In this section, we talk about a ‘change’ that we as an organisation have gone through over the last few years. Change that is reflected in our approach, principles, model, curriculum, communications; and plans for the future. Change that demands us to look at men as agents of change rather than current or future perpetrators; change that demands us to believe in the fact that men WANT to change; change that demands us to stop pointing fingers and recognise our role in raising men.

These points are further elaborated in the blog that we recently released called ‘Let’s change the conversation’ . Now, our job is also to ensure that the people we work with – our beneficiaries, partners, supporters, well wishers, etc are on the same page with us.

– Rujuta Teredesai | Co-founder | Equal Community Foundation