Women and girls always occupy the forefront when it comes to gender-based interventions. While it holds true that most gender discrimination is faced by women, the fight for a world with gender justice cannot be won by mobilising girls alone.
Keeping this in mind, our project IMAGE which works on the empowerment of child brides, conducts regular awareness sessions with men and boys to sensitize them on girl child issues.
One such session was conducted in the month of April in the Bagalkot district, Karnataka.
The whole idea behind this session was to engage boys and young men and talk about different ways we engage in gender-stereotyping and the ways to unlearn those. It was attended by 72 adolescent boys along with 10 community members and was conducted by the IMAGE Staff.
The boys were divided into smaller groups and were made to analyse the different ways in which gender stereotypes work in their lives. They were further asked to share different ways they can unlearn these stereotypes. An example brought out was unlearning the stereotype of men being the breadwinners of the family and women being restricted to domestic roles. Boys said that they could advocate for the gender balance of work at home and explain how roles in life need not be sketched out by gender alone.
A great way to eradicate gender stereotypes is by involving both girls and boys at an early age to talk about the issues they face and then together finding solutions to undo these behaviors and actions. That is what IMAGE is focusing on in the rural districts of Karnataka to fight off child marriage which has its roots in gender stereotypes and harmful social norms.
By Vaishnavi Gupta, Communications Associate