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This Bold Performance By Deepika Highlights What We Often Shy Away From Talking About

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By Akhil Kumar:

‘To have sex before marriage, to have sex outside of marriage, to not have sex. My choice. To love temporarily, or last forever. My choice. To love a man, or a woman, or both,’ these words by Deepika Padukone in this powerful piece for #VogueEmpower is what sets it apart from the many narratives on women’s freedom that we regularly come across. It talks about a woman’s autonomy, her right to her choices – sexual or otherwise. It boldly asserts a woman’s agency, and does so not in a tone that ‘requests’ the oppressor to acknowledge it, but emphatically affirms/declares that a woman’s choices are her own and she will live by it.

After making headlines for openly talking about her struggle with depression, Deepika Padukone is back again to add to some much needed conversation in the public domain. This video, titled ‘My Choice’, is a collaboration between Deepika Padukone and Homi Adajania for Vogue’s initiative on women’s empowerment, #VogueEmpower. The YouTube description of the video says ‘the film brings together 99 women in the city (Mumbai) from most walks of life voicing their choice for equality, be it social, political, economic, sexual’.

To know more about what I think of this video, follow me on Twitter at @Akhil1490

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  1. Ritesh Anan

    Public Relations (PR) For Dummies –

    Q – How to be in the limelight when you have an upcoming release (Piku) that’s based on an issue (father-daughter relationship) and your competitors are getting more limelight for some REAL brilliant work (Kangna -Queen, Anuskha Sharma – NH10)

    A- Steps to success –

    1) Sit with your PR team and formulate a strategy on topics through which you can connect to masses i.e. many people can relate to – (depression) and an issue on which your movie is based

    2) Your PR team will get to work – Get you a show on a ‘reputed’ channel where you can talk about that issue. Collaborate with a buddy ( Homi Adajania ) & his wife ( Anaita Shroff Adajania – Fashion Director for Vouge India) and make a video.

    3) Your PR team will contact ‘friendly’ media outlets to cover you OR outlets which don’t have “stories that no body covers” will in any case cover you for free.

    4) BAM BAM !!! You are a hero (or a heroine) >>>The public perception has been changed>> you are back in limelight>>> you make a fool out of gullible people who will now consider you a Messiah>>> A ready to monetize fan base!

    Finally, release your movie and earn the crores you deserve (and hey don’t forget to pay those PR/marketing guys their share) 😉

    1. popeye

      Ha ha ha LOL
      you actually put it in that exact chronological order…

    2. Ritesh Anan

      “You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards.” – Steve Jobs 😀 😀

    3. krishna

      You think that without all these things which you mentioned,she is a pathetic actress as well as an unknown figure. You are proving the fact that deepika padukone requires more limelight than you. Also you paint a picture of someone who fails to acknowledge that depression is a serious issue prevailing in our society and there are judgmental assholes who judge people on the basis of their sexual choices-as discussed in the video.I might be wrong, your problem could be solely based on the celebrity status of her. You don’t like when glamorous people talk sense.

    4. Priya

      I feel like this comment was the definition of a waste of space. Everyone is cribbing about this being a PR move which I honestly don’t think so. But even it was is it really something to mock? I don’t think any publicity for real issues that real people face is bad. It is raising awareness no matter what and even if, as you say, it was for her own brand image, there’s many bother things she could be doing. At least it’s productive in this method.
      I think the thing with Deepika is she is very organized and systematic as a person, and so even her genuine attempts to connect come off as calculated. However, in the controversial issues she brings up it is clear she means it because even today most actresses or actors don’t want their name attached to such issues. The fact that she is taking that risk is telling. The only actress I can recall who has stood by her is Alia and Anushka mildly during the cleavage scandal. Jacqueline was the only one who gave a personal anecdote and commended her for the depression issue. Meanwhile people like Sonam like to call out people but herself, will design an affordable fashion line and over price it for the masses, claiming to do social work.
      Sure not all social work has to be publicized but there are multiple ways right? If someone in a place of power and influence and fame attaches their name to a good cause how is that ever a bad thing? If these people don’t do that, then also people like you have a problem with it. Why don’t you make a difference then Messiah Ritesh 🙂

    5. Ritesh Anan

      I DON’T have a problem whether with ‘this or ‘that’, frankly you, deepika padukone, xyz may choose to do anything they want and I am not interested in whether someone is a pathetic actress or not , what I do have a problem with is while I am voicing my opinion Creatively & Providing fun, buggers come and start having issue with my comment INSTEAD OF MERIT OF THE ARTICLE!!!

      You find the article awesome – go ahead like it/share it/ spread it/ comment here about its awesomeness

      You don’t agree with the opinion I shared – down vote it/ ignore it.

      You want me to waste my time on arguing, screaming, answering back, debating, useless topics like these (my comment itself explains why I find it useless )- not gonna happen

      Frankly I putted in more creativity there than the author – you don’t enjoy the humor, disagree with it – AVOID IT, just don’t reply/drag my name to start a conversation. Thank you!

    6. Sukarna

      Ritesh – Then, why did you comment in the first place? Just a valid question 🙂

      If what you did was your choice to express opinions, then might as well, what celebs plan and do is their choice! Don’t you plan your work / career etc? Just because she is in public domain, you don’t have to rile up and always be critical. Stupid man… Just don’t bring your misogynistic views here!

    7. Ritesh Anan

      Because idiots like you choose to “drag” my name, something “I DO have a problem with”

      When Aamir Khan does something similar, I call that PR as well and if your definition of “misogynist” means someone who does the same for a women celeb.

      Live happily in your lalaland BUGGER!

    8. Richi

      The video that you’ve so nicely broken down into a marketing stunt for the upcoming movie based on “one heroine” in the video
      sounds wonderfully delicious, except it is not. If you so much as take a little time to observe, there are “many WOMEN” in the video and the point of the video is to declare that we as women have and make our own choice. The video maybe released at the “apt” time, but again its really “Their Choice” when to put what in the market for whatever reason. We instead of dissecting it, can actually look at the main content of the video. And to reiterate, Deepika is just one face among the many… But then “its your choice” how you eventually see and interpret something.

    9. Jigsaw

      Women who have premarital sex are more likely to indulge in extra-marital affairs.

      Feminists are promoting their own brand of idiocy, propelling teen pregnancies, STDs, AIDs, paternity fraud, etc.

    10. Jayeta Singh

      Because an effort, an initiative can never go un criticised, can it? Someone has to make fun about it.

  2. Ashutosh

    beautiful video…. except for one thing….SEX OUTSIDE MARRIAGE????really??????
    Isnt it called CHEATING???????

    1. Soumya Raj

      There are open-marriages too. Actress Shilpa Shukla of the BA Pass fame is in one.

    2. MonkeyBooze

      She means premarital sex.

    3. Nishant

      True.. I don’t mind with your choice. But your choice can hurt sone one badly.. And the fact is that the hearted men gets hurted badly..what about your fucking loyalty!!!

    4. sg

      What she is trying to say, or that is my interpretation of it (might be right, might be wrong), she shouldn’t be treated differently than guys for doing it. Violence because of anger and other emotions should not be just forced on her. There is a law in place for situations like these and people shouldn’t take matter into their own hands and let law handle it..

    5. Sudipta

      Love permanently or temporarily…. Who gave you that right? It’s not even your birth right Okay…You have all rights to love some one but you don’t have a fucking right to play with some bodies emotions with a temporary Love………You fool writer. Your choice, if a girl wants a baby or not? That’s okay till a point. But some body who is your partner if he wants then what…. Respecting women is great and should be respected all the time. But dear writer god has designed biologically us in such a way that human are capable of producing an offspring till a certain age. I hope you forgot that thing. Probably you may have a counter argument to say about adoption about a baby. But it is always a debatable topic. Hope you understand. Making a video about women empowerment should be encouraged, subject to condition with a proper path.

      Just to notify you I would like to say one more thing if a girl does not like her partner to have sex with someone else then the same is applicable to her too. At the end every thing goes on when there is a lot of understanding and a few compromise at both the ends. Not when we become stub bone. Oh my dear writer when both become strong like bamboo two bamboos can not hold each other. But when one is bamboo and other one is a climber plant both can grow together with mutual support. Hope you will understand dear…??? Question mark is for, I could not thought finally what I will call you to finish my statement?

    6. Avinesh Saini

      Somebody is very angry.

    7. Devika

      It’s not cheating if it’s an open marriage that has been agreed upon…

    8. ItsJustMe

      Then it wont be her choice to make, she might have to say our choice.

    9. Rida

      Agree with some..then again strongly disagree with a lot many choices she points out…make choices that you can look back and be proud of..otherwise, they r but mere mistakes!!

    10. jagadish cd

      cheating? ‘marriage’ is a man made thing. no organ or a body belongs to anybody else than her/him.

    11. Priya

      I agree with you and it sucks cus many people are discounting the entire video cus of that statement. They should’ve worded it better but I believe they meant that regardless of whether it was not a loyal choice, and a wrong choice, it was her choice. She hasn’t raped anyone, she hasn’t killed anyone so even if she does cheat it is horrible but treat her like a human. I mean that if a man is cheating in a marriage, it is considered bad but most Indian households the woman will remain tied down in marriage by her in laws and society will excuse his faults. Even if he divorces it is fine.
      Meanwhile switch the scenario,and a woman would get a punishment much beyond the act. Perhaps get thrown out of the house. Even if she goes through a cordial divorce, society will treat her like an untouchable and deny her common courtesy.(this holds true even if the divorce was the husband’s fault)
      A mistake is a mistake but the reaction and punishment received by each gender is very different. Hope that is more clear to you.

    12. TempleTwins

      You’re far from reality. When a man commits adultery which is ground for divorce, women can claim alimony, in fact alimony was given to women who were faithful in a marriage when they caught their husband cheating, but laws are changed, even when you are the cheating wife you can claim alimony. The only way a man can claim alimony is when he is disabled, which comes to the other point that being a woman is deemed as disability, women should be ashamed of the current laws but they have traded their dignity for $$.

      (this holds true even if the divorce was the husband’s fault)
      According to Indian law, only women can appeal against divorce, the husbands cannot, in reality you gain a wage slave when you get married, he had to be your wage slave even when he finds you cheating, even if you agreed to divorce him, he is still your wage slave and had to maintain you.

    13. TheSeeker

      Of course she can; she has nothing to lose. No fine, no imprisonment nothing. But it’s a different case if a guy commits adultery…

    14. TheSeeker

      …I do understand that the video was about freedom of making choices, but choices come with consequences. Let’s not forget that.

    15. choice?

      To bone or not to done and more so, who to bone, to anal or not to anal and all that b-anal talks.
      To kill or not to kill , I am the M in murder; you are already dead.

      P.S -The writer of aforementioned quote has not written this as per his choice but under choice of psychotropic substance that the writer “choose” to consume.

      @Ashutosh – sex outside marriage is called recreation : P. Really? Maybe? your choice : p

    16. Tom

      No… it’s called my choice 🙂

    17. sweta

      See…it’s not that you are wrong. but look at a larger picture. ages after ages, even after marriages, men have locked up their wife and went out to spend their pleasure time with their muses. that was an unquestionable practice for them, a regular issue. everyone took it for normal.then he was not ‘cheating’ on his wife. what about that?? was that really so natural?? nobody cared about feminism then. while, if women even looked at some other passerby men, they were marked ‘characterless’ and ‘cheat’. opposite was absolutely normal. go to rural areas, search the backward classes. you will find these practices still going on. In this video, whatever Deepika has tried to convey was that she just protested against this discriminated practice, if men could do this on his choice (not even caring about how disheartened and disappointed his wife felt) and nobody protested, then women should also have the choice of practicing the same!! if while practicing these men never cared of women and their feelings, then why should a women care?? and if these practices made them unquestionable, same should happen for women too. the conclusion is, either ALL YOU MEN stop doing these, or else just accept the fact that women can practice the same too. it all depends on how you treat your partner. if u treat her like princess that she feels like you are the only man in this world who is the best for her and vice versa, or just be a rogue and tolerate a rogue woman rest of your life, UNQUESTIONED!!! that’s all….as deepika has also said in the video… ‘Your pain might be my pleasure’….

  3. Vasane

    Wonderful video. Except for one thing SEX starving feminist. Have your happy moments anywhere and everywhere. Cos U are celebrity.cos U have money to buy anything except culture.

    1. harshavardhan

      Well said

  4. barsha

    But why in English? India is multi-lingual. Right now it’s understood by only 1/7th of it’s population and it won’t go further. If you want yourself to be heard, you need to be bold enough to translate this video into every language possible, even for the people in the remote villages, not only confined to cities. If you decide to raise your voice and fight for a cause, give your 100%. Slash all rumours that it’s a publicity stunt for the upcoming movies.

  5. Mohit

    just coz a celebrity comes up with this vid doesnt make it an epitome of something good to follow!! What if the same lines are said by a male and every female is replaced by a male in this video???!!! I ll have sex outside marriage and come home late- wow!! What needs to be seen is that females do not need to be dominated by men and vice versa. Nothing should be done which hurts either of the partner or someone who expects quite a lot of things from a person. Both the genders and their opinions have to be respected.

  6. Aparajita

    2 wrongs don’t make a right. Whether I want to have your baby or not is not my choice its our choice. Whether I want to have sex outside of marriage is a mutual decision, in case the couple has may be agreed on an open relationship. Feminism is not making the same set of mistakes in a female role as patriarchy. It is giving both males and females the respect they deserve. So “I will do whatever I want, who the hell are you…” probably is not the right approach. The right approach is “you and I are both individuals that are unique. Lets therefore respect each other’s choices without bias.”

    1. ItsJustMe

      @Aparajita, I really respect you saying that feminism is about equality and I know you may truly believe it. But unfortunately it is not practiced that way. It is only in the books that feminism is about equality. Name one feminist movement that was solely for protecting rights of men? Dont look at India alone, try to get an example from world over. In the almost a 100 year history of feminism, there may be 1 or 2 movements (I have not found any so far, but lets hope there are 1 or 2) which was partly for protection of rights of men. So if you really want to fight for equality, move away from feminists around you. For every 10 campaigns you take up for woman empowerment, take up one campaign for changing the gender biased laws of this country. Try to bring awareness among women that claiming a seat in the train which was reserved for them is not equality, it is sexism and gender bias, it will strengthen the common notion that women are indeed weaker that they need to sit down. Tell them that 33% reservation for woman in Parliament is anti democratic. Tell them misuse of section 498A has led to death of more than 40000 men last year alone, arrest of over 200000 women too. The law need to be amended for gender neutrality and not be amended to serve women alone. Tell schools they need to seat boys and girls together and not in separate rows. Tell them women around the world including the ones in USA after civil right movement has never enjoyed preferential treatment as long as women in India do. Even today we have reservation for women in UPSC, PSC, Medical and Engineering colleges, because of what? they cannot make it without reservations? Or is it that they have been historically underprivileged that now we have decided to compensate by men of the present generation

  7. sumesh

    I do hope such videos make a difference , people have been saying such things for a long time , even Gandhi said Live and Let live , simple message but , well I donno how much difference that made.
    Female , Male , Hindu , Muslim , Indian , Pakistani the problem is when someone decides how others will live their lives.

  8. Rida

    Agree with some..then again strongly disagree with a lot many choices she points out…make choices that you can look back and be proud of..otherwise, they r but mere mistakes!!

  9. Parvathi

    It’s ‘To love temporarily, or to lust forever.’ ..Not ‘ last forever’!

  10. Sourav Deb

    Awesome video… Specially the line that she said ” I am the universe infinity in every direction”… I just loved it… Truly said….. My support to women empowerment…..:):)

  11. aakash

    In the heat of making a point, the oh so foolish writer of this little charade killed feminism with his own take on it. If everything is her choice, if she claims to ’empathize or stay indifferent ‘ on her own terms. Then she needs to be warned not to seek empathy for herself, not to take for granted any actions of anyone else, just like her, she is but just one of the 7 billion choices to everyone else too and they may choose to treat her as they wish or not at all.

  12. Saji

    Everyone is entitled to their choices. And the choices we make every day, every single choice, even the mundane, seemingly insignificant, harmless ones define our destiny. What I am today, all of me, is a culmination of the different choices I have made through the years. And what becomes of me as I look ahead will be an outworking of the choices I make every day fro this day forth. CHOICES come with CONSEQUENCES. There is no such thing as a one ended stick. One cannot even imagine it.

  13. yoyo

    Sex outside marriage? We have accept that now? Really?

  14. TempleTwins

    The empowerment of women should come with the choice of breaking down anything traditional, even the vows of marriage, she wants to exercise that choice to sleep with anyone she likes, regardless of whether it hurts another. Are there people who kill themselves over such betrayal or ready to kill another over cheating? Human beings are emotional animals who would inflict harm over infidelity (honor killings or otherwise).

    I would always hold the woman who cheats as the accountable person, let me explain why! Without HER choice, the sexual encounter would be deemed as rape, with her choice it becomes an adultery which only HE can be punished legally, so I will always hold the woman who commits adultery culpable as she has the legal power to call it a rape and escape prison sentence even when she consent to it. With more power comes more responsibility. Men are penalized for any form of sex and woman are infantilized for having any form of sex, which is why society may appear to encourage and discourage some form of sex between genders.

    Deepika is endorsing honor killings, domestic violence by proxy through infidelity. You could claim that she is talking about an open relationship, then it is not her choice alone, is it? It is a mutual choice of the people involved. So I am bullshit on that!

  15. Prabhjot

    Copied idea from MTv Indies I m alchemy

    1. Prabhjot

      Watch I m alchemy on you tube to believe

  16. raphul

    The video is dark, the statements are “my choice” with a clear tone indicating “I don’t care what you think”. This does not convey the best message it should have. Two individuals, two lives, two personalities, yes, we get it, but don’t try to ride on my back and beat because few stupid men in India have done horrible things, not everyone of us. Women are still powerful, and I have seen when they become powerful they tend to loose direction.

  17. vj

    Then it’s a man’s choice too to sleep
    before or after marriage that means
    oncechoice of extra marital affair
    becomeslegitimate…… is this woman’s
    empowerment…… Hahaha. If
    bisexuality isa woman’s choice then
    don’t cry foul when a man makes his
    choice of sleeping with both
    genders……..is this
    women’sempowerment or right thing
    to send a messageto rapists or
    educated male chauvinists.If it’s
    allabout choices then it’s also a man’s
    choice Too whether to love you or not
    or just temporarily…..and F… You and
    say goodbye to you……. Come on give
    me a break, is this what you would
    teach your girls, that it’s ok to cheat
    your husband if you make a choice.
    Such choiceswill only lead to chaos
    and disorder in society and it will
    become society without values. Today
    Americans are worried because they
    have so many social problems ,such a
    high rate of divorce,alcoholism, drugs
    and infidelity on rise and so on.
    Deepika padukone , some choices just
    ain’t good for you or for the welfareof
    a woman. You would have probably
    got into deep depression if your
    mother had made those choices.
    Children from broken families have
    had very troubled childhood ,theyget
    into drugs , alcohol and have sex
    when they are a minor! what is wrong
    for aman is wrong for me and for
    you!

  18. Yazin

    this is getting to the other extreme…I the rest I can understand the rest but I thought marriage is a commitment towards a partner and to break that commitment and have the freedom to have sex outside is like saying dishonesty is a good value which I dont agree with…If you wanna have sex outside of marriage…Just don’t marry…and why should u expect guys to be honest if women are not…total hypocricy

  19. anujit

    every human being has the right to choose their soulmate

    1. kavya

      #my choice..has raised certain arguments about the views that say..”to have sex outside marriage..to have baby o not..” it doesnt mean every woman has to do this..o will agree..it backs for those women who are not loved by their partners..who are not happy in their marriage..who cant even divorce cos no support from her own parents …at that situation may be ..an external affair..may make her happy..and give a reason to live!!! woman will not like to have a baby from person who dont love and respect her.. but still sometimes she will be forced to have multiple children..untill she give birth to a male child…”to have a baby o not” does not only mean…she dont want to give birth at all!! may be she dont want to multiple times…she s not factory producing babies!!!
      this video is deafinitely women empowerment..and not adultery..since marriage in india is given superior place ..its quiet difficult to accept whats been said..

  20. Iftikhar Khan

    Sorry Deepika…but shame on you……nd on all those young metropolitan girls…born n brought in an educated, liberal nd supportive environment….with utmost love nd respect from their fathers nd brothers….FAKING an understanding of nd disgust at Indian women’s plight tht they have NO IDEA of….EXPLOITING d opportunity to their personal interest…REDUCING d serious problem to their bra straps nd panty lines….!!

    Millions of Indian uneducated nd poor Women have not been longing to show off their bra straps nd panty lines….or have sex before marriage nd outside marriage….or Infact do whatever they want to do………………they want basic respect nd equal opportunity nd rights in their family….they want love nd care nd support….in whatever they do with their family…..!!!
    It’s disgusting how celebrities nd young girls refer to free sex, drugs nd nudity as WOMEN EMPOWERMENT ND FREEDOM……when millions of Indian Women r deprived of basic human respect nd rights….!!!

  21. sg

    Out of curiosity, I would like to ask this. Of the entire video, why are people only talking 3 things.
    1. Possibly a PR stunt. (Personally don’t care)
    2. Talking about having affair out of marriage. (I agree its bad, but think her point of view is to treat men n women same in such cases. Women are treated worse than man in either case of cheating)
    3. The removal of clothes thing. (Symbolizes shedding away the inequality. I’m sorry if this seems written wrong didn’t know how else to explain.)

  22. ItsJustMe

    “I am the universe. Infiniting every direction” this is a phrase from the video, can you make any sense of this phrase, does this mean modern woman is self centered? Because I have no idea what the intention of this phrase or the point of the whole video was
    Show me one real life incident illustrated in the video which makes people realize that modern women is compromising? One incident every feminazis commenting here could relate to. Do not tell me naive stuff like people stare when I put on modern clothes, or cannot go out because society brands me as an off the hook woman and stuff like that. Because whatever you decide to be, it is not the society’s duty to approve of it, there will be inevitably people judging you and saying stuff about you, men and women alike. Now tell me an experience in your life which was well illustrated in the video. You do not have to be a genius to figure it out – THERE IS NOTHING IN THE VIDEO, other than Deepika’s pretty face flashing in between which I thoroughly enjoyed.
    This video has degraded modern women to the ones who make reckless choices because she can. I for one know it is not so. But this video was so retarded and over hyped that it became fodder for people who think so and act on it in social networks.

  23. abc

    Lol at sex outside of marriage. So adultery is okay and women shouldn’t be judged for cheating on their husbands because it’s “Their choice.” Wow.

  24. Sudarshan Jha.

    Well, Agree with the Points.
    But how much percentage of Indian have such thought.
    Kindly release this in various language.

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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.

Read more about the campaign here.

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.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

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.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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