When nonprofit Video Volunteers launched a campaign to tackle patriarchy in rural India, several women mentioned a seemingly innocuous custom: not being allowed to call their husbands by their first names.
Women, particularly in villages, are taught from a young age to never address their husbands — or older male relatives — by their names, as a mark of respect.
But the custom, which is less common in the cities, is deeply patriarchal, said Stalin K., director of Video Volunteers, which is based in Goa.
“At first glance, it seems like a small, harmless custom,” he said.
“But even these seemingly inane practices matter, as they are as much a power play as sexual assault or violence against women,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.
Video Volunteers trains men and women in rural areas across India to report on everyday issues that concern them.
The volunteers record short video clips on their tablets, which are then screened and discussed in the community.
About 70 volunteers in more than a dozen states were trained to report on patriarchy, sexism and violence against women.
More than 327,390 crimes against women were registered in India in 2015, an increase of more than 50 percent since 2010.
Many crimes go unreported, particularly in villages, because women fear bringing shame to their families.
The Video Volunteers reports included women talking about their limited freedom of movement compared with that of men, biases against widows, the practice of covering their heads in the presence of men, and the prejudice faced by women doing jobs considered to be men’s work, such as driving tuk-tuks, or three-wheeled taxis.
Several reports were about women not being able to call their husbands by names because they were told it was disrespectful and inauspicious to do so. Instead, a woman would address her husband as the father of their child, by his profession, or simply with “please listen.”
In discussions held afterward, women practiced saying their husbands’ names aloud for the first time, said Stalin, who goes by his first name.
The women were then encouraged to talk to their husbands about the practice.
In many cases, the men did not allow their wives to address them by name, and one woman was ostracized by her village for referring to an older male relative by name, Stalin said.
But some women were told they could call their husbands by name — in private.
“That is still a step forward,” Stalin said.
“Our experience with this campaign is that these women are not passively accepting of patriarchy. They are very aware and just waiting for an opportunity to push back — in a thoughtful and considered manner, which perhaps has a greater impact.”
News Courtesy: VOA NEWS
Moral policing is a typical past time for many Indians including politicians who want to dictate the way women should behave or dress up in public and even blame their dress sense for molestation or rape. They think women themselves are somehow responsible for being rape or molestation. But strangely enough these so called custodian of Hindu culture and tradition remain silent when foreign tourists face harassment like groping by unknown faces, molestation or even raped and foreigners often abandoned by their Indian boyfriends.
Take the case of this Spanish citizen who realy loved her Indian boyfriend but was abandoned by him when she got pregnant.
Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai was greeted with cheers Tuesday by dozens of young women in northeastern Nigeria, where she spoke out for the many girls abducted under Boko Haram’s deadly insurgency.
The Pakistani activist, 20, told The Associated Press she was excited by the courage of the young women who are undaunted as they pursue an education amid one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
“This is part of my girl power trip, visiting many parts of the world,” said Yousafzai, who also met with the freed Chibok schoolgirls taken in a mass abduction by Boko Haram more than three years ago. “I am here now because of the Nigerian girls, fighting for them and speaking up for them.”
Yousafzai visited internally displaced camps in and around Maiduguri, where thousands have sheltered from Boko Haram’s violence. The extremist group continues to carry out deadly attacks there, often using young female suicide bombers.
Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, center right, visits a school in Maiduguri, Nigeria, July. 18, 2017. The Nobel Peace laureate spoke out for the many girls abducted under Boko Haram’s deadly insurgency.
“They have lived in the period of extremism,” Yousafzai said of the young women around her. Many have seen family members killed.
Shot by Taliban
Yousafzai was 15 when she shot in the head by Taliban militants in 2012, targeted because of her advocacy for women’s education.
The Nobel winner said her Nigeria visit was significant because it was the partial fulfillment of what she advocated the last time she was there. In 2014, she pressed then-President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure the rescue of the more than 200 abducted Chibok schoolgirls.
On Monday, Yousafzai met with more than 100 who have since been rescued and now stay in the capital, Abuja, for what the government calls rehabilitation.
While she told the AP she shared their joy at being freed, she said she was not happy that the girls haven’t been allowed to reunite fully with their families.
She said she hoped they would “live with their family, live a normal life.”
Many others remain in Boko Haram captivity, “and the government must unite so that they should make sure that these girls are released,” Yousafzai said.
“Boko Haram themselves should learn that in Islam, such things are unacceptable,” she added. “This is against humanity, this is against Islam.”
Nigerian activist Amina Yusuf, left, Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai and acting Nigerian President Yemi Osinbajo are pictured at the presidential villa, in Abuja, July. 17, 2017.
Yousafzai also met Monday with acting President Yemi Osinbajo, speaking up for the more than 10 million children displaced by Boko Haram and pressing for the declaration of a state of emergency for education in Nigeria.
She also urged the international community to address the crisis in the country’s northeast.
Inspired by visitor
Girls at the internally displaced camps said the Nobel winner’s story of courage gave them inspiration for a brighter future.
“Her story gives us hope. That’s why we, too, want to go to school and become something in life,” said Fatima Ali, 15. “We have to bear all pains like hunger to go to school. We barely eat once a day here. We have not eaten since morning because government people no longer bring us food for about two months now.”
Three million children in Nigeria’s northeast are in need of support to keep learning, according to the U.N. children’s agency. Nearly 1,400 schools have been destroyed during Boko Haram’s insurgency, which began in 2009, and more than 2,295 teachers have been killed, the agency says.
Ali said she was in school when Boko Haram attacked her town three years ago. “I want to become a soldier so that I could help my community to fight and kill Boko Haram, because they are not good people,” she said.
Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, far right, speaks with schoolgirls in Maiduguri, Nigeria, July. 18, 2017.
Another student, Fatima Grema, 15, said she saw herself in Yousafzai.
“Boko Haram abducted me and wanted to marry me,” she said. After being taken from the town of Baga to a location near the Cameroon border, “I later managed to escape,” she said. “I was not in school until I came to the camp here.”
Grema said she now wants to become a teacher.
UNICEF’s country representative, Mohamed Malick Fall, said Yousafzai’s visit was a symbol of hope, and “we will do everything in our power to make sure all children can keep learning.”
News Courtesy: VOA NEWS
“A man goes outside house as per his will but wife goes outside after taking permission. A man is spends money as he chooses but wife spends money as per his approval. A man is considered to be the master of the house but not wife because she cooks, washes clothes, keeps the house clean and makes all efforts to make life compfortable for her husband and children. This is the mindset which must change. The children also see the behaviour of their parents and follow the same mindset where a girl child is treated as a liability and a boy is considered as a future asset”–Chief Justice of India J.S Khehar speaking at a seminar on gender justice on the occassion of International Women’s Day.