EkSaath National Campaign, Rajasthan

EkSaath (Together)

A national campaign involving men and boys as partners for gender justice. EkSaath – denotes here a partnership between men and women and also of men with other men, for changing discriminatory gender social norms. The campaign emerged in 2016 in the form of a collective of citizen’s groups. There was concern that despite India’s economic progress, similar social progress towards removal of gender based violence and discrimination is not taking place. Ghastly incidents of violence against women are common. But brutal physical violence is not the only way women experience their secondary status in society. From the moment girls are born, their life circumstance and opportunities are different from that of boys. Social norms are different for boys and girls, daughters and sons, women and men.

Gender discriminatory norms manifest in society through dowry, early marriage, gender biased sex selection, women’s double burden of work outside and inside the home and unequal education and income opportunities.

EkSaath Vision

To change the situation for women it is time to shift the onus of change from those facing discrimination to those who create and uphold discriminatory social norms. Gender equality is a vision for the whole of society and men must become equal champions of gender justice.

Objective

Identifying men and boys willing to be at the vanguard of change. Promoting their participation in ending gender discriminatory social norms in the family, community and different institutions.

Samanta Saathi (Partner for Equality)

At the heart of the EkSaath campaign is the creation of a ‘SamantaSaathi’ or gender and equality champion. He is a volunteer who brings change in his own life and influences others in his community. As their numbers grow Samanta Saathis are expected to contribute to a process that will lead to a tipping point for ending gender discriminatory social norms across the country.

Coordinated public events in communities and institutions raise awareness about men’s gendered roles and identify interested men and boys as potential SamantaSaathis Building capacities of the identified men and boys on issues of gender, equity and masculinities. Campaign partner organisations mentor them in bringing about personal and social change Community Action Groups set up by SamantaSaathis provide support and motivation for taking actions Sharing of actions of SamantaSaathis and community action groups through various media informs and inspires. Their community sensitisation activities create next cycle of the campaign

Implementation

Multiple sites: Urban. Rural. Communities. Educationalinstitutions. Public places. Market places. Workplaces.

EkSaath Campaign Hubs: In 10 + states (Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi NCR)

State Secretariat: JatanSansthan, Udaipur, Rajasthan

National Secretariat: Centre for Health and Social Justice, New Delhi

In Rajasthan, we have Jatan Sansthan as state secretariat working with following partners:

  1. Jatan Sansthan (Relmagra, Rajsamand)
  2. Sewa Jyoti (Nawalgarh, Jhunjhunu)
  3. Shiv Shiksha Samiti (Ranoli, Bundi)
  4. CFHRSW (Jaipur)
  5. Manjari  (Nainwan, Bundi)
  6. Kotda Adiwasi Sansthan (Pali and Sirohi)
  7. Navachar Sansthan (Kapasan, Chittaurgarh)
  8. Hariom Seva Samiti (Bhudar, Udaipur)
  9. Vikalp Sansthan (Mavli, Udaipur)

A National campaign for promoting men’s involvement for changing social norms by Forum to Engage Men and Partners

Objectives and Scopes of the Campaign – The main objective of the campaign will be to promote men and boys active partnership to change gender discriminatory social norms in the familycommunity and in different institutions. Building upon existing laws and policies the campaign will focus on concrete actions that men and boys can take to promote gender equality and to eradicate discriminatory social norms. The campaign will emphasise concrete and appropriate steps that men and boys can take within that particular space or institution. Thus at the household level the messages will be targeted to men as fathers, brothers, or uncles with messages for sharing housework, support to girl’s for their education, supporting girls mobility, discouraging early marriage, women’s economic empowerment and so on. In a college the focus would be on male youth as colleague and friend with messages around sexual harassment/eve-teasing, campus safety, encouraging women’s participation in extra-curricular activities and so on. The campaign will be national in nature and will bring together a range of organisations including NGOs, Schools, Colleges, Universities, Corporate bodies, UN Organisations, media houses etc. The campaign is not being conceived as a time-bound exercise at this time and we expect that the campaign will grow in the depth of the issues being addressed as well as in the area that is being covered. However the campaign will be implemented for a minimum period of three years in one locations to see change.

Some Specific Gender Social Norms that the Campaign will address – The following is a provisional list of gender social norms that will be addressed through the campaign. The issue will depend upon the space and group with whom the campaign is being undertaken.

  • Sexual Harassment of Women in Workplaces and Public places
  • Domestic Violence
  • Unequal educational opportunities and school dropout of girls
  • Men and boys sharing of domestic work
  • Unequal mobility opportunities for girls and boys
  • Early marriage of girls
  • Dowry and daughters share in property
  • Declining Sex ratio
Changes that we wish to see

In any specific space we wish to see the campaign continued for a period of at least three years to see some demonstrated change. An indicative list of changes that we would expect to see in different spaces is given below:

Rural Community (village)
  • Boys and men are engaged in domestic work
  • Boys and girls support each other in their homework and in going to school
  • Girls are riding the cycle
  • Early marriage become an issue of concern for the family and community
  • Dowry is being discussed by young men in terms of their own marriage and marriages are taking place without dowry
  • Domestic violence is an issue of public concern
  • Celebration of the birth of the girl child
  • Increased economic autonomy of women
  • Increasing number of gender champions
  • Formation of Community Action Groups
Urban Community
  • Boys and men are engaged in domestic work
  • More girls are being encouraged to go in for paid/wage work
  • Variety of profession for girls has increased
  • Women’s public safety has become an issue of public action/concern
  • Early marriage become an issue of concern for the family and community
  • Dowry is being discussed by young men in terms of their own marriage and marriages are taking place without dowry
  • Domestic violence is an issue of public concern
  • Celebration of the birth of the girl child
  • Increased economic autonomy of women
  • Increasing number of gender champions
  • Formation of Community Action Groups
Colleges/ Workplace
  • Issue of sexual harassment being acknowledged and addressed
  • Improved relationship between students and teachers/colleagues and collective action on gender issues
  • Increased understanding of gender issues among students and teachers
  • Increase in gender sensitive practices at home and elsewhere by male students Increasing number of gender champions Formation of Community Action Groups
Public Place ( market place )Greater awareness about GBV among market vendors Formation of Community Action Groups Regular Safety Audits being conducted and conveying concerns with public authorities Signage about women’s safety and action protocols posted in the market place Civic action on reporting/ identification of sexual harassment Increasing number of gender champions
Schools ( Co Ed rural )Arrangements for girls toilets and its upkeep made by public action Dropout, attendance and performance of girls becomes an issue of concern for teachers and parents Discussion on socialisation of boys and girls in PTA meetings More opportunities for games for girls Changes in gender related norms, attitudes and behaviours of school children, especially boys Increasing number of gender champions
Schools ( Co Ed urban )Discussion on socialisation of boys and girls in PTA meetings More opportunities for games for girls Changes in gender related norms, attitudes and behaviours of school children, especially boys Increasing number of gender champions Formation of Community Action Groups
Gender Champions ( individual and family level )Changes in gender related attitudes and actions Increased participation in domestic work Reduction in workload, increase in mobility and opportunity for women in the family Recognition of the changes in the gender champions by the women in the family Mobilising other men to become Gender Champions Public action for gender social norm change
Campaign Strategies

The Campaign will be built through a range of inter-related strategies using different media, including face to face communication, social media as well as mass media. There will an emphasis on creating of community groups of men or ‘gender champions’ who would like to experiment with change in their own lives and relationships and promote these among others. These men will be approached through institutions which could be the community, the educational institution or the workplace. Events like film shows, discussions, street plays etc. will be organised to start a discussion on gender issues among youth and men. Interested individuals will be organised into Community Action Groups. Localised group communication will be facilitated through social media creating a safe space for men to express their doubts and reservations and also share their successes and change. Public Service Advertisements, mass print and electronic media will be used strategically as a message multiplier and to reinforce the possibilities of change.

Campaign Strategies

Core Values – The Core Values that will be incorporated in the messages and in the overall approach will include the following – 

  • Non-violence, peace, coexistence
  • Universal human rights, equality and non-discrimination
  • Understanding of power and privilege in the context of discrimination and subordination
  • Intersectionality and celebration of diversity
  • Value to unpaid care work
  • Transparency and Accountability
  • Participation, Collaboration and Solidarity

Implementing the Campaign – This campaign aims to consolidate and amplify the growing realisation and early changes that men and boys are making in their lives and in their communities across much larger areas and in the context of specific social norms and actively and visibly contribute to the larger social aspiration of gender equality.

The campaign will be implemented across multiple locations – urban and rural locations, communities, educational institutions and public/workplaces using a multiple Campaign Hub approach. The common campaign strategy will help to develop a series of common messages and approaches which would be used according to the needs of a specific location. In the entire messaging process the emphasis will be on personal action for social change, keeping in focus the core values. In each Campaign Hub where the campaign will be implemented efforts will be made to support the development of a core ‘action committee’ which will be responsible for planning and monitoring the implementation of the campaign at each location. List of potential campaign activities are given below.

Campaign activities

Activities to build awareness and identify Gender Champions

  1. Community level campaign events – including street theatre, nukkad meetings, concerts, competitions, wall writings, film show and discussions etc.
  2. School/ College level events – Competitions, games, gender mela/festivals, concerts, other events, film show and discussion
  3. Intervention in corporate bodies/offices/workplaces – events, discussions, film shows, competitions

Building a community of Gender Champions

  1. Orientation/ Capacity building events
  2. Social Media mobilization
  3. Opportunities for collective action – rallies, festivals, conventions

 City and state collaborative level events

  1. Concerts, conventions, festivals,
  2. Public Service Advertisements/ Ambassadors Coordinated Communication
  3. Media interactions /press conferences
  4. Social Media Communities of Gender Champions
  5. Social Media and Mass Media messaging