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Why Boys Rights and Men’s Rights Matter #Mentoo

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This writing might prick in the eyes of liberals and feminists. Since, boys are coming out of shell and slowly speaking up , their voices  , and this is a new trend catching pace , though , we don’t have many welfare schemes in our countries. Here, are some things that I want to  say, as a boy , and stereotypes around boys, why are those are existent in society .   So let’s start with boys ,  movies like Pink reinforce the idea that boys are oppressors or predators , ready to prey at any opportunity , they find .  Reality is different, from movies but offer a reflection of society .

Mother India, I had heard about a long ago, an oppressed woman fights oppressive landlords and predators on her own, as industry progressed   , so did the narratives and with 2013  Nirbhaya Gang Rape Case , and Bollywood adopted western feminism,  that was about self discovery, but the idea of man as a breadwinner, was probably reinforced by Jane Austen.

But , Bollywood fell into ditch of vices of western society, and producers picked this narrative as selling point of stories from west , showing always woman as oppressed  and men as oppressors , captured imagination of hindi speaking states , and so this feminism became an issue in North India, particularly around Delhi and Gurgaon,  where a lot of stalking happens , and mass media generally peddles Delhi as unsafe, like a cliched news .  Thus, adds more to dissatisfaction of women rights  . Let us first shed mughal era mentality that women cannot fight, and always men have to come to rescue

Dowry and other evils in North India led to passing of overprotective dowry and marriage crimes legislation s, damaging the perception of men , and since the police isn’t trained and sensitized enough  to deal with(cases, men are accused of such crimes more than women, and they are guilty until proven by society when media trials start .

While laws were necessary but has backfired over women rights.   Still media makes us believe masculinity as a bad thing , watch Kamla Bhasin’s episode in Satyameva Jayate , showing masculinity , as bad though it showed violent masculinity is bad, but hardly it talks about the other side of the story; of toxic feminity.  Aunties who are judgmental are ignored by feminists, who demean girls for being what they want to be , often mother in law insists for a baby boy, but nobody talks about it .  Though under PNDT act,

Women who abuse young children in classroom and bully , also in house , mother aunts , beating children to cool down their frustration .  In a web series called Kavita Bhabhi , there was an episode , where she was doing forceful intercourse with her  homosexual husband refusing to have sex, what do these web series add in mind of viewers, homosexual don’t have rights

Lets Come To Classrooms,

NGOs and other agencies should work on pressing for legislation to make sure gender discrimination, is prohibited in classrooms , and remove gendered studies as per recommendations in Justice Verma Committee report 2013 .  Teachers abusing any student physically, emotionally or mentally should be sent behind the bars.

Family protection laws must make harassment gender neutral , so that even boys can feel free to approach police and juvenile courts for  justice against abuse. No person should be entitled to beat boys , on the ground that boys are tougher physically , and stop treating boys as a punching bag for frustration .

Parents should be educated to invest in investment plans for retirement , and not on boys salary for retirement . Similarly , maintenance should be made on grounds of role of spouses , and not a single formula .   Moreover , district family committees should be made so that boys can approach the committee to address family and work issues.

Sex education should be a part of adolescents’ health program as  a part of curriculum, and all gender induced biases should be removed , from textbooks, because it also damages the perceptions of boys and takes a toll on his individual rights . After #MeeToo  lets resolve to fight against gender discrimination lets start a movement #WeToo where we speak up against any form of gender discrimination , and also demand for legal as well as medical protection of victims of gender prejudices . And also send a message to previous generations , that we can handle social issues better than you .

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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.

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.

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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, 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.

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