Sexism And 6 Other Things You Need To Give A Damn About In 2017!

Posted by Youth Ki Awaaz in Society, Staff Picks
January 7, 2017

By Nitya Sriram and Merril Diniz:

In the year gone by, India witnessed many positives, from Gurgaon’s first Queer Pride to impressive victories by the Indian Paralympics team in Rio. 2016 also sparked off bold conversations around regressive mindsets and the denial of basic human rights. But these battles are far from over. There is much that needs to be done and we hope 2017 is the year we make giant gains in having equal rights for all. So if you’re still mulling over new year resolutions to take up, here are 7 causes that urgently need your support to bring about change: Here’s a quick look at why we need to raise our voices!

1. The Ever-Widening Gender Gap:

Indian women have excelled even every field, including male-dominated ones. We’ve broken barriers and travelled into space. Yet, our workplaces have not evolved as fast. For instance, Indian women earn only 56% of what their men make.

The lack of support from workplaces takes back the movement for gender justice by several decades and makes it tougher for women to rise up in the ranks. Actively speaking out against issues like workplace sexism, the wage gap and discriminatory mindsets, will help us redefine the #FutureOfWork for our women’s workforce. Join the fight, raise your voice and get started right here.

2. 774 Million People Still Await Household Toilets

It’s said that if they lined up in a queue and each person used the toilet, it would take them 5,892 years to get through it. Humour aside, the lack of toilets in households and public spaces has devastating consequences – both physiological and psychological. Try going for a day without visiting the loo, and you’ll know exactly what transgender people, people with disabilities, those without toilets in their own homes, those without a roof over their heads, and others, experience every day. The worst irony is the lack of sanitation for sanitation workers. Let’s admit that our sanitation systems are #InDeepShit, and we need to pay attention to it ASAP. How do you think we can make access to toilets a reality for all? Share with us here.

3. For People With Disabilities, It’s Tough To Even Get A Damn Coffee…

For decades people with disabilities (PWDs) have been treated like second-class citizens. Being excluded from our education systems has a domino effect on their potential to earn a livelihood, thus denying them of the quality of life that’s accessible to their peers. Our infrastructure, too, has not kept up; ramps, lifts, accessible toilets and sign language interpreters are completely missing except in select hotels and a few accessible venues. It’s time to demand #Access4All across all our systems for PWDs who comprise over 10% of our population. Watch and share this video to help create awareness around this issue:

4. 20 Million Children In India Are Viewed As Nameless Entities With No Rights

When 15-year old Salmaan, an aspiring actor and youth leader, speaks about his experiences of living on the streets of North Delhi, he emphasises something really important – that the 20 million children living on India’s streets are constantly rendered nameless by people like us, every day. “Chhotu, gudiya, these are the names we are called,” says Salmaan. Respecting individual identities (instead of branding them as #TheInvisibles), is the first step in the fight for India’s children. If you have ideas on what can be done to change things for the children living on the streets, share your thoughts with us here, and we will reach out to those in power to make things happen.

5. A Woman’s ‘No’ Is Still Considered A ‘Yes’

In the movie “Pink”, Amitabh Bachchan’s character says, “These boys must realise that ‘No’ means ‘No’. It doesn’t matter if the woman saying it is an acquaintance, a friend, your girlfriend, a sex worker or even your own wife.”

While we often talk about physical, sexual and emotional abuse, we barely discuss the everyday anxieties, depression and trauma, experienced by an individual when consent is denied. More and more conversations around consent and its connect to our mental well-being need to happen. Get this conversation going by penning your thoughts on consent, here.

6. Our Healthcare Units Don’t Have Something Basic – Clean Water!

Society swoons over pregnant moms because the birth of new life is a harbinger of hope. Yet, India’s innings when it comes to live births is abysmal. For every one lakh births, 174 moms don’t make it, and for every 1000 births, 28 newborns don’t make it, and all because our healthcare systems can’t provide access to clean water. Also, because those who assist with the birth, don’t wash their hands! Yes, an act as simple as washing one’s hands can prevent thousands of deaths. We demand access to clean water for all, now!

7. Globally, India Ranks Third When It Comes To Online Bullying

In 2015, when Nikita Azad’s penned a powerful open letter about the stigmas that surround a basic human function – menstruation, little did she expect it to spiral into a movement. But that’s exactly what happened and along with it came the trolls and online bullies who sent her death threats, and other unsavoury messages. But the brave Nikita responded with powerful messages on her Facebook timeline. Like Nikita, we all need to speak outt against online bullying and actively practice counter speech, because there’s just #NoPlace4Hate in this world. Period. And if you or someone you know has experienced bullying online and then countered it constructively, share with us, so that more people can draw courage to stand up against bullying!

All that is needed to make change happen is to get people involved. If any of the above are issues you care about, get involved with us! Write about them. Share videos about them. Or even just photos if you’d like. The YKA community, we know, cares. And only when we raise our voice together will we be able to demand our rights loudly! Let’s do that this 2017.

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