Nitya – Translating tomorrow
Which student are you?
College Student (The World)
Name of School
Smt. Sulochanadevi singhania
Grade / Year in School
Location (City, State/Province, Country)
Thane, Maharashtra, India
If you identify with an ethnicity or culture(s), which one or ones do you identify with?
What is the name of your legal guardian/parent (if under 18)?
Please provide contact information for your legal guardian/parent (if under 18)
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Please select type of project you are entering
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Please tell us about your submission (maximum 600 words)
One Step at a time. “A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist; where everyone can be themselves.” - Gloria Steinem In certain developing nations like India, gender inequality starts manifesting itself very early, a girl child starts facing discrimination right from the womb and it ends in female foeticide. Deeply-embedded homophobic and transphobic attitudes, often combined with a lack of adequate legal protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, expose many people from the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/ questioning, intersex, asexual, and others) Community of all ages and in all regions of the world to egregious violations of their human rights. They are discriminated against in the labour market, in schools and in hospitals, mistreated and disowned by their own families. They are singled out for physical attack – beaten, sexually assaulted, tortured and killed. In several countries, laws against cross dressing are used to punish transgender people on the basis of their gender identity and expression. And in some 77 countries, discriminatory laws criminalize private, consensual same-sex relationships – exposing individuals to the risk of arrest, prosecution, imprisonment — even, in at least five countries, the death penalty. Inequality based on gender is a concern that is prevalent in the entire world. Even in the 21st century, across globe men and women do not enjoy equal privileges. Gender Equality means providing equal opportunities to everyone in political, economic, education and health aspects. The first and foremost cause that leads to discrimination in India is the “mental makeup”. We usually come across several cases of gender discrimination that we have either experienced or have observed happening around us. Like teasing or putting down males for engaging in activities or behaviours that are stereotypically “female”, such as playing with dolls, interest in cooking, gossiping etc. Or doing the same with females for engaging in activities or behaviours that are stereotypically “male” such as riding a bike, playing a certain sport, dressing up like a man, more involvement with male friends etc. Questioning a man’s masculinity for crying or expressing emotions and questioning a woman’s femininity for being assertive or expressing anger is another form of gender discrimination. We all have absorbed gender stereotypes into our system that we forget to introspect and think logically about such attitudes and behaviours. And somehow become a part of it by either experiencing it or by actually doing it or by just quietly watching it happening around. The patriarchal structure of the society, where the strong belief of male superiority exists, leads to gender discrimination. We come across several cases of gender discrimination where the foetus is aborted because it is female, transgenders don’t have better opportunities for education and choice to choose a wishful profession, lack of access to better health facilities, or lack of power to make decisions, restrictions on mobility etc are a few to mention. But apart from the one’s mentioned above there is one that has been prevailing in our society and has remained unnoticed is the gender discrimination towards their Right to Property. If we look at the issue from a ‘rights’ perspective, the fundamental right of ‘Right to Equality’ given to every citizen of India is violated. Who is to be blamed for this? We say society has set the social and cultural norms, stereotypes for all of us which are to be followed blindly. But what does society comprise of? We, The People. We are the one’s responsible for it. This social evil will come to an end only when we will bring about change in our attitudes, behaviors and mindsets. We judge people through the prism of our own stereotypes that are nothing but cultural weapons. Everyone has a gender identity. For some people, their gender identity corresponds with the gender assigned at birth, for others it does not. Gender identities that differ from the sex assigned at birth, including ones beyond the binary, as well as the ways in which we express them, have existed across the world, for as long as life has existed; Gender expression refers to the ways in which a person chooses to present their gender to the world around them. This can include clothing, mannerisms, pronouns, names, etc. However, it is important to note that while things like names, clothing, and others can be an intentional part of a person’s gender expression, these things also do not necessarily need to have a gender attached to them. This is to say that a person’s gender identity can sometimes inform a person’s gender expression, but a person’s perceived gender expression does not dictate their gender identity. Pronouns are easily becoming one of the most recognized ways in which people identify their gender and how they want to be referred to, as well as signaling support for a gender-diverse and inclusive world. “It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals.” Most language is gendered and has typically elevated male voices, and male positions, upholding patriarchal and misogynistic societal structures. Using gender-neutral language doesn’t just provide a more inclusive space for all gender identities, but it also helps to dismantle millennia-old patterns of patriarchal attitudes. It is important to consider gender identities and expressions in a way that matches your own cultural understanding of gender, but it is equally as important to keep in mind the differences in gender across borders. Masculinity and femininity have different presentations, assumptions, and associated words across the world. While gender varies person by person, it also varies on another level culture by culture. Equality or non-discrimination is that state where every individual gets equal opportunities and rights. Every individual of the society yearns for equal status, opportunity, and rights. Our “yesterday” was dictated for us, our “today” is reflected through my documentary, but it’s time for us to translate our tomorrow. After-all, tomorrow is just another day.
What is something you learned about patriarchy and what is something you would like to change about what you learned?
Since I was kid, patriarchy wasn’t just a term or state that existed but was a lifestyle we were supposed to abide by. I wasn’t allowed to question it because my gender was considered “inferior”. As kids, we weren’t even aware of that fact that “patriarchy” and these “rules” our society made us live by was unfair, that’s how unaware we were because no one really spoke about it and the ones who did were shunned down and that’s what I want to change. I want people to able to speak about terms like feminism, patriarchal dominance, injustice amidst societies and be able stand up for what’s right without being invalidated, I want to change the way society regulates and I want every kid to grow up aware of what’s right and what’s wrong and how they can work towards building a world that’s treats people equally.
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