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With Increasing Crimes, Girls Need To Be Made Aware Of Their Rights

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“You’re a girl” is probably a phrase a girl will spend listening to at each stage of their life if they are born in India. At times, they will be denied basic resources or sometimes presumed to settle for less. They could be stopped by societal barriers or forced to do something against their will.

On the bright side, the girl child has access to certain rights that can be used in any violation or even in general. However, due to low literacy rates and lack of awareness, many women aren’t aware of the rights that they can freely exercise. Some rights are applicable to use after 18, but they need to be known since childhood.

Heavy Monsoon Rain Lashes Parts Of Assam
The satirical remark “You’re a girl” can often make children question their role in modern-day society.

Before 200 BC, Manusmriti presented the Hindu Culture with ideas about a level-downed female’s position in society. In 350 BC, without any biological, physical or psychological aspect, Aristotle claimed that women are inferior to men. Poisonous statements like such made in the past still have great significance and are blindly followed.

The satirical remark “You’re a girl” can often make children question their role in modern-day society. It’s important to know that times are changing and the vulnerable feeling because of oppression in the bygone can be overcome.

Being constantly pinpointed for being a specific sex can truly condition one’s mind to feel how society wants one to feel. A girl will be under the expectations of others to stay within the realm or to stay restricted. To remedy this, rights binding by law are provided to the girl-child. These laws make sure that their expectations of a dignified life are matched.

Human Rights

The human rights laid down by the Convention on the Rights of the Child are universal. These are indivisible, interdependent and interrelated.

  • The human right to freedom from discrimination based on gender, age, race, colour, language, religion, ethnicity, or any other status, or on the status of the child’s parents.
  • The human right to a standard of living adequate for a child’s intellectual, physical, moral, and spiritual development.
  • The human right to a healthy and safe environment.
  • The human right to the highest possible standard of health and to equal access to health care.
  • The human right to equal access to food and nutrition.
  • The human right to life and freedom from prenatal sex selection.
  • The human right to freedom from cultural practices, customs and traditions harmful to the child, including female genital mutilation.
easy classes education
The Right to Education is universal.
  • The human right to education — to free and compulsory elementary education, equal access to readily available forms of secondary and higher education, and freedom from all types of discrimination at all levels of education.
  • The human right to information about health, sexuality and reproduction.
  • The human right to protection from all physical or mental abuse.
  • The human right to protection from economic and sexual exploitation, prostitution, and trafficking.
  • The human right to freedom from forced or early marriage.
  • The human right to equal rights to inheritance.
  • The human right to express an opinion about plans or decisions affecting the child’s life.


Exclusive Rights

India is undeniably the cradle of gruesome crimes against the girl child. Sometimes, on finding the sex of the unborn baby, parents go in for sex-selective abortion. Female infanticide is widely spread and statistics say that 4.6 crore women are “missing” in India due to the same.

Rape is one of the most common crimes in India. Females are bombarded with pains ranging from mental to physical. There are strains in married life as well. To guard women, the Indian Constitution enables them to proceed to court if facing any toil and trouble.

Girls brought up in stereotypical households/backward areas assume their fate to be whatever society throws at them. Certain struggles resemble a fly in the ointment but are punishable by law; hence, being consciously enlightened about your rights is crucial.

Every person has a tolerance level, but the prolonged tyranny has made females accept themselves as “shock-absorbing”. This isn’t right; accumulated distress leads to unstable well-being.

  • Women have the right against being stalked.
  • Women have the right against indecent representation.
  • Women have a right to Zero FIR.
  • Women have the right to register virtual complaints.
  • Women have the right not to be arrested at night.
  • Women have the right to get free legal aid.
  • Female sexual assault victims have the right to keep their identity anonymous.
  • Women have a right against domestic violence.
  • Women have the right against workplace harassment.
  • Women have the right to dignity and decency.
  • Women have the right to equal pay.
  • Women have the right to say no to dowry.

The W’s

Girl Child
In today’s time, girls are prone to forceful marriage before the legal age, domestic violence, sexual abuse, prostitution without consent, illiteracy, sanitation problems, income disparity, etc.


Girls must be acquainted with human rights since these belong to all, are protected by law and apply everywhere — exclusive rights aid in bringing justice.


The rights are to be used when violated, mistreated or turned down. In today’s time, girls are prone to forceful marriage before the legal age, domestic violence, sexual abuse, prostitution without consent, illiteracy, sanitation problems, income disparity, etc. In case of such circumstances, girls can stand up for themselves.


Sometimes you’re aware of the rights but don’t know where to go in case of a violation or breach. The Human Rights Commission is all ears to you when you witness any contradiction related to your human right. Apart from this, you can join various organisations, local groups or contact your politicians. To muster support, one can resort to the media. Nevertheless, a lawsuit can be filed.

A note to parents and Teachers

On conducting an Instagram poll, I found that 390 womxn and men (74% of the total participants) believe that there is less information about rights. Parents and teachers need to know that to ensure an empowering lifestyle for the girl child; it is important to be aware of rights.

Instead of hushing your child when they speak up, you should support them. It’s the Indian mentality to zip the lips of a female victim to be spared from society’s judgemental eyes, but this only weakens the idea of equality. Since schools are knowledge imparting institutions, legal trends shouldn’t just be taught to the ones who opt for them; it must be mandatory in the curriculum.

Being a girl child isn’t something to feel unlucky about. If there are crimes, then there are crime-fighting mechanisms too.

By Manya Arora 

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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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