This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by darrellmagnussen. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The #MeToo Campaign Helps Show The Way Forward For Indian Feminism

The #MeToo campaign helped women from all around the world in throwing light on sexual abuse. Not only that, it also gave women the opportunity to support each other, to empower themselves and to have a chance to talk about a serious issue that usually remains in the dark.

India is one of those countries that for a very long time had a tradition-bound society where women were always considered less than men. Expectations regarding men and women and their roles have changed a lot over the years and campaigns like the #MeToo campaign have played an important part in that.

What Is The #MeToo Campaign?

The #MeToo campaign is a movement against sexual harassment and assault that started to spread virally in October 2017. This happened after sexual misconduct allegations against former American film producer Harvey Weinstein were made public.

Alyssa Milano was the first one to make this hashtag popular and encourage women to come forward and share their stories of sexual harassment. Many women came forward and the phrase went viral when popular celebrities like Uma Thurman, Gwyneth Paltrow, and many others decided to talk about their personal experiences as well.

This campaign gained great popularity within just a few days and it truly was a great starting point for addressing all kinds of situations where women were assaulted or harassed. The same thing applies to Indian women, who, in many cases, still face discrimination and sexual violence on a daily basis.

Supporting Feminism And Helping It Grow In India

In the past, women’s roles in India were certainly quite varied. Even now, upper-class women have more opportunities with regards to receiving an education and having the ability to work. On the other hand, women in the lower classes have very different roles. They usually have to work very hard to support their families and they usually aren’t treated the best.

Women from the lower classes are the ones that usually experience the most violence.  In most, if not all, of these cases where women were subjected to violence or sexual harassment, the women themselves were held accountable. It was considered that they had brought this situation upon themselves. Victim-blaming has been a problem for many years and thankfully, there have been a lot of campaigns against it in recent years.

The #MeToo campaign allows women to talk about their stories without shame or fear or guilt. Women’s rights are being emphasised and this campaign can truly help Indian women – whose basic human rights are oftentimes not taken into consideration – find their own voice.

While feminism in India in the past used to focus on topics like child-marriage, abortions, and dowry-related violence, this new campaign is helping feminism evolve and see sexual harassment in a different and more serious way.

Protesting In New Ways

Throughout the years, there have been many campaigns and movements which have helped shed some light on the current situation faced by Indian women. The more popularity this movement gains, the more women it can reach and help.

This phrase defines a new way of protesting against the lack of basic human rights of many women in India. While many still don’t have access to social media and continue living in situations where they are degraded and manipulated, there are women who have had the privilege of getting an education. Today, they are in a better place in life and they are fighting hard to spread the message of their mistreatment through the written word.

Social media is giving women a freedom of speech they didn’t have before. Social media is allowing them to share publicly exactly what is going on and the situation they live in.

The power of social media is quite strong finally, as a result, women’s stories are not being distorted. Online campaigns, like #MeToo, reach out to both young and old people from all around the world. It helps them learn more about all the issues that lie underneath all the sexual harassment stories in India like the continuous gender inequality and daily occurrences of sexual violence.

Baby Steps Towards The Right Direction

Even though this movement is still new to the world, it has truly helped women rid themselves of the shame and fear that a sexual assault brings. India is one of the countries where sexual assault episodes happen on a frequent basis and sadly, there are many women who are not in a position to stand up for themselves.

The #MeToo campaign can really help shed some light on situations where women don’t have the upper hand. It can help explain all the inequalities women in India go through to the rest of the world. A new era for feminism has been marked in India and women can only hope to see better days. As long as we have each other’s backs, we will be able to fight through anything.

You must be to comment.

More from darrellmagnussen

Similar Posts

By Shaline Choudhury

By Akshita Pattiyani

By Youth Action Hub- India (Delhi)

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Read more about her campaign.

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.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

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.

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.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below