Shikha, a 22 years old bright young woman from Indira Colony, New Delhi is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Delhi University. Her dream is to become a TV news anchor. Since childhood, Shikha knew she wants to complete higher studies that most girls in her community could not afford to. However, her journey towards achieving her dream has not always been smooth. She faced a backlash from her conservative community where early marriage among girls is still prevalent. People do not value educating their girl’s child, even though some girls do study they are often obligated to drop out of school and stay home to help around the house.
Shikha joined IGSSS in 2017 as a YIELD (Youth Initiative for Empowering Leadership and Development) volunteer. Since then she actively participated in various mobilization workshops which were mainly based on Gender. It is through these workshops Shikha gained knowledge and understanding about gender, gender discrimination, and biases created by society. Although her family is not necessarily conservative, she noticed that even in her family there is a prejudicial treatment based on genders. Shikha in her own words said, “I realized that in my own house gender difference is practised. Though my brother does household chores occasionally it is not considered his duty as it is expected of me. This kind of thinking is accustomed to our society.”
“Education Plays a Very Important Role in Changing Society”
It is at this point time, Shikha knew she has to do something to break gender stereotypes. She began raising questions and discussed the issue with friends and family whenever she gets any opportunity. This made her realized that most women lack awareness and do not consider discrimination based on one’s gender as wrong.
Since then she has been campaigning to create a gender-equal society and has taken the initiative for open dialogue exchange among friends, including boys, to discuss gender-based issues. “Previously girls and boys would avoid talking to each other about issues related to gender and sex, they would limit their discussions between girls to girls or boys to boys, but now they have started to share their thoughts and issues with each other”, recounted Shikha. She is overwhelmed to witness this slow but a very impactful change among her peers. This boosts her confidence and has since taken an initiative with her friends in spreading awareness about gender-related issues through theatre plays.
Written by: Darshikha and Harsh
Edited by: Regina Hoineilam