Promoting gender equality, with help from boys

April 10th, 2008 - 8:00 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) In a unique gender equality programme being launched in schools from Friday, boys will be made aware of the evils of female foeticide, dowry and the need for girls’ education, which they will later highlight through street plays and posters in their neighbourhood. The programme will be implemented in three states - Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Goa.

A collaborative effort of the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) and local NGOs and state governments, the programme will be implemented for a period of three years.

The gender programme is different from others as it seeks to sensitise men and boys to issues of gender equality.

Regional director of ICRW Ravi Verma said the programme draws heavily on Yari-Dosti (YD) programme, which the ICRW with others implemented in both urban and rural communities in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh for over three years.

The YD activities included group educational sessions for young men and women on issues such as gender equity and empowerment as well as designing and launching a lifestyle campaign to reinforce the message.

Both men and women are required to write scripts, put up street plays and make posters and pamphlets to be used for the educational sessions and campaigns.

Group education manuals called ‘Yari-Dosti’ for boys and ‘Sakhi Saheli’ for girls were also developed in the same context.

Instances of violence against women came down by as much as 40 percent in those areas where ICRW took the programme to schools.

The programme, which will target 10-16-year olds, will reach 14,000 students in Mumbai (Maharashtra), 1,000 in Goa and 27,000 in Kota (Rajasthan). It will also reach 1,200 teachers in these places.

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