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Here’s Why Women Need To Take Complete Charge Of Their Lives

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By Srishti Singh:

Have you ever had a conversation with a 40 or 50 year old woman which ended with statements like-

“Beta, don’t stop working after marriage” or

One of the things I regret the most is depending too much on your Uncle, financially and otherwise

If yes, then you might realize how important it is not to fall for ‘backups’; in simpler words, not being dependent on your father, husband or son for all important decisions. The concept of Disney princesses being bad role models for a young girl, is being debated worldwide, and not without a reason. Having been raised on a diet of feisty princesses, I know how hard it is to resist the temptation of a backup.


Being a girl, the topic of marriage is hard to avoid. In fact, most of us are somewhat obsessed with our weddings. Girls start planning their dream wedding well in advance. And mostly, we’re pretty vocal about it. However, do things like how you’re going to feed your family after marriage bother you? Do you worry about how you’ll be paying for rent, loans and insurance? Do you have a plan as to how to go about doing all these?

If yes, then good for you; these are responsibilities we can’t really avoid. However, if the answer to the above questions is no, then you most probably have fallen victim to the trap of backups. As women, we usually skip a part of reality because it’s taken care of by someone else. Before marriage, our dads take most decisions for us and after marriage it’s our husbands. We don’t have to worry about the ugly side of adult life, because someone else does that for us.

Why? Is it because we’re lazy? Or is it because we’ve gotten used to being taken care of? If that’s the reality, then isn’t it justified when our parents suggest or rather, force us to marry early? After all, we don’t want to shoulder some major adult responsibilities and our dads aren’t getting younger with each passing year. We’re seeing a shift in women’s education. More and more women are applying for STEM subjects instead of Humanities. It’s good for workplace diversity as well as women’s welfare.

However, if we’re still dependent on our backups, then can it really be seen as a change? The point of education is making us strong, empowered and independent adults. But if we still see ourselves as contributors, rather than breadwinners, then is the purpose really met? In that case, isn’t our education nothing but ‘ornamental’?

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  1. Parvandh Gowadia

    Srishti Singh, if you seriously believe what you say in the last line then, you are seriously underestimating womanhood. It is not easy being a woman and nor is it easy being a man. Men and women are equals but not the same. A question though, for your independent mind. When you become independent of something, what happens to the thing you become independent off? Modern society is so obsessed with rights that people forget their duties. Men are supposed to be responsible for protection and providence. More then that it is their duty to do so. If they fail in it they may not be considered men in my eyes. But if you don’t need me to perform my duties, then I don’t have responsibilities. And that is a very precarious position to put any society in. A position where half the population is redundant, so to speak.
    Women, especially feminist, have always stated that men are threatened by women’s capacity to create life. That all of man’s great achievements were a competition against woman’s capacity to create an autonomous being. Okay, lets agree for sake of argument, this is true, then with great power of creating life comes the even greater responsibility of nurturing it. Hence it is a duty of a woman to be there for the life she created. Nobody is capable of doing everything. Hence exists men and women. Never underestimate the world of men, it is not as easy as women claim it to be. Education and literacy are two completely different things. A educated person is a person who has the capacity to utilizes his/her knowledge that he/she has gained. A literate person however is someone who just knows something. My father is the most educated man I know, he can talk about politics, to psychology, to philosophy, to economics and his area of expertise body building in great depth and he is only SSC pass. I know many Masters who aren’t half as capable as he in such vast number of topics. And an educated person can never be ‘ornamental’. The children of educated parents will always be evident. Educated mother more so. Why? Because the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Don’t ever underestimate the importance of a woman and the same is of men. That is mutual respect. If you have a son, one day, or already do then he will grow up to see that women do everything and that he can just kick back and be as reckless as he wants and when he marries a woman who is incapable of doing what he saw his mother do, he will resent it. Empowerment doesn’t mean to take charge of everything. Empowerment means utilizing your education to best fulfill your responsibilities otherwise you are just replacing male tyranny with female tyranny. Notice that I did not use “men tyranny” or “women tyranny”, because tyrants don’t deserve to be called either. Man and Woman are titles, according to me, they have to be earned by performing duties towards one another not trying to surpass eachother.

  2. Raj

    Don’t get married and don’t have kids. Don’t compromise.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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