Rama is a widowed mother with two school-going teenagers. She is losing her vision fast and struggles to find work as a daily wage labourer. Rama’s is a case of livelihood issue.
Selvi’s mother-in-law fed Selvi’s newborn, a second girl, with the extract of a cactus plant. A case of female infanticide.
Latha works as a draftsperson. She wakes up 4.30 in the morning, sweeps the yard, draws water from the well and prepares breakfast and lunch for her family. Her husband wakes up at 7, reads the paper, gets ready and leaves for work. She gets back in the evening by 7.30 and continues with washing and cooking. Gender disparity.
Lakshmi works as a mason, a rarity. But she is paid less than her male counterparts. Sumathi, a bright student, had to discontinue her studies, on the sole reason of being a girl. Her brother, an average student, was enrolled in an engineering college by paying a high capitation fee. Gender discrimination.
Manual scavenging; lack of reproductive rights; the list seems so long.
The number of issues overwhelms me. Where do I start? What issues do I address? How do I address them?
I realize that, political will to create change is secondary. Societal barriers in the name of tradition, culture and blind beliefs are tertiary. The primary change needed is a change in mindset. Not in men alone, but in women as well. Men’s mindset needs to change, to accept women as their equals. And women’s mindset needs to change; that they are not inferior to men. Women need to find their own self-worth.
To be candid, I had never thought of myself as a change-maker, but only as a change facilitator. And my way of facilitating change had only been through my articles. But one thought that kept coming up is to empower the youth and work with them so that their mindsets change. It is better to work with them as they are the future.
Since I’ve been reading a lot about using technology and online networking for a positive change, I have woken up to the idea of using the same to further the causes that are close to my heart. And Pulsewire has substantiated that thought.
Pulsewire is an excellent tool to create awareness and gather support. But at field level, I would have difficulty reaching through Pulsewire as most of the population including youth lack internet access, let alone basic necessities. So, Pulsewire would work well with the educated and empowered lot. But to target the youth, I find the mobile phone a better option. Almost 90% of the people in my state possess mobile phones, though many lack even sanitation facilities. Thanks to technology and thanks to Pulsewire for being an eye-opener, empowering youth and guiding them towards addressing the issues that face them would not be difficult as I thought it would be. For, I have found that connecting through mobile is an excellent ‘one-to-one’-cum-mass communication method.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Challenges and Solutions to Creating Change.

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Women’s mindset needs to change; that they are not inferior to men. Women need to find their own self-worth.

Well said. Information helps to change ones mindset...Keep writing and facilitatiting change

A candle looses nothing my lighting another

Thank you YAOtieno. It is slow progress. But I am sure with so many of us initiating changes in our own small way. it is bound to become better.

Jency

Hi Jency,

I touching and difficult article. It does illustrate that there is a lot do be done, but hopefully with strong willed people like you we can make things change!!!

I really enjoyed reading your post. I do agree with you as women we must know our self worth and we have to hold on to it; we cannot forget that we are worthy to be treated as equals. This has to be instilled within each one of us!! Jency you were able to deliver the truth and to create a feeling of outrage and sadness as well (this is good, keep up the good work).

Tait

Hi Jency,

Thank you for posting! Indeed there is a lot to be done when it comes to battling tradition, long-established beliefs and seemingly unyeilding mindsets, but I think you are absolutely right in identifying youth empowerment as an important piece of the solution. And the fact that 90% in your state have mobiles suggests that mobile advocacy is a viable option for outreach. It is unsettling, however, to know that many have access to mobiles over sanitation facilities. It just made me think how, in addition to governments and cultural traditions, economic systems (both global and local) play a role in perpetuating injustice...

Looking forward to reading more from you!

Emily

Thank you Emily and Tait. You are right Tait, I do feel angry and sad (and helpless too) at the same time. But I am now learning to be maintain equanimity and be objective.

Emily, I agree about the unyielding mindset. When an NGO offered to do provide whatever they wished for in a city slum, the women folk wanted toilets. But the menfolk asked for a video cassette player! See what their priorities are. That's why I feel that we should work more with children and youth so that they are more open and broadminded than their forebears.

Jency