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

My Story Is For Women Who’ve Fought For Their Dreams, Fought Against Violence

One is not born a woman, but rather becomes one” -Simone de Beauvoir. 

No biological, physical , or economic destiny defines the figure that the female takes on in society; it is civilization as a whole that elaborates the ‘intermediary product’ between the male and the eunuch that is called feminine. 

Throughout childhood, little girls are bullied and mutilated, but they survive nonetheless. They think and grasp themselves as individuals, surviving only by thinking of their relationships with family and friends. When a girl is born, it is not just a new creation by god. With her is born a new family, many new beliefs and ideas, and even a new generation. The girl is raised in a community of other women, and so she has always been told that women are born to live, but their common end should always be marriage.

However, marriage should not be a thing that is imposed on her like the government imposes tax on goods. God has sent us all with different mindsets, different capabilities, and we are different in every aspect. If this is the case, then why are all women told to get married and rear children? Isn’t it our choice to decide if we want to get married or not? 

Even today, many villages across India still practice child marriage. Representational Image. Image Credit: Stephanie Sinclair.

Why do we need to get married? Is marriage a necessity of life? If yes, then why does this apply to women only? Even today, many villages across India still practice child marriage. The shared belief is that women are born to take their generation forward by binding themselves in matrimony. 

Marriage should be the union of two people and two families. However, in India, marriage just means ‘kanyadaan’- which means giving away the daughter to someone else- as people believe girls to be ‘paraya-dhan’ (property belonging to another person). I have heard this many times in my own family. So, we are not some goods or items which should be given away to someone for a price (dowry).

When suitors and their families come to visit, they often try to clear the air by saying, “We are very modern, we will let your daughter continue her work after marriage.” They think that they should be applauded for this. But why? It is me who is ambitious, it is me who studied hard, it is me who is slogging at work to make more money than my male colleagues with the same qualifications, just that I am recognized for my efforts. 

Why can girls not pursue their dreams? I have met many people in my life who will, at some point, suggest that I should choose a passion which is more suited to my gender, and where I might have a greater chance of success.

Beti bachao, beti padhao” is a very fruitful slogan which had a great impact on society. Have we ever thought why we needed this slogan? In our society, parents owe debts to other people for their son’s education and their daughter’s marriage. In the same society, ‘आज्ञाकारी’ (obedient) is the most valuable title which is given to a women, as she is expected to follow everything the men in her life order. 

Women’s education is still an uphill struggle in Indian society. Representational Image.

When women have the freedom to do what they want, only then we can say that we have achieved ‘gender equality’. Before being someone’s daughter, someone’s wife, I am a girl who does not need someone’s name in order to establish my own identity.

When I passed the 10th standard in 2019, I was fully prepared to pursue arts and follow my passion, which was journalism. It was my own choice, not someone else’s. Journalism had been my dream for the entirety of the sixteen years of my life. I never thought that I would have to sacrifice something which meant so much to me.

When I told my parents that I want to pursue journalism, they were shocked. It was as if I had uttered something abusive or completely impossible. When I asked my father what is wrong with taking up arts and pursuing my dreams, he replied, “Do you want to get married after class 12?” I was taken aback. I did not understand the relation between pursuing arts and getting married. He told me that there is nothing for me to do after taking up arts. The only option open to girls who pursue arts is early marriage.

“What a curse it is to be a woman! And yet, the very worst curse when one is a woman is, in fact, not to understand that it is one.”

I was astonished, because I did not know what had happened to him. My father had always been very frank with us up until now; he had discussed everything with us, from problems regarding our studies, to helping us select our friends, and even talked to us about menstruation. 

I felt that everything had changed. We had a fight about that, because earlier my father had told me that he would always support me no matter what I decide to study. My elder sister pursued her dream. She wanted to become a doctor and she is in the process to become one. What I realised in all this chaos was that our parents’ dignity is always way more important to them than their daughter’s happiness.

I fought but I failed. This is my request to all other girls: please do not become another version of me. Fight for yourself, for your dreams, and for your passion. Now I am studying science, but I never lost hope. My main goal is to reach out to women who at some point in their lives have been victims of any form of harassment. This article and my story is for all women out there, who are fighting for their passions, or are victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, or similar.

You must be to comment.

More from Isha Tripathi

Similar Posts

By Siddharth Mohan Roy


By Dr Anushree Lavania

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