A day after an Indian woman was attacked by chilli spray when she tried to enter the Sabrimala Temple in Kerala, a study has suggested that the majority of the Indian youths don’t agree with social taboos as practiced in the Indian culture.
The observations have been made by Big Small Steps, a report which examines the gender narrative and puts forward a template for change.
Akshara Centre, a Mumbai-based non-profit and women's rights organisation working for women's empowerment and an inclusive and safe city, launched Big Small Steps which measures the acceptance of gender equality and gender beliefs amongst urban youth, the change-makers and thought leaders of tomorrow.
The report also states that most of the Indian youths don’t agree that menstruating women should not cook in the home (51.4 percent men and 74.7 percent women)
The report aimed to understand what this generation of young people understood as gender equality and how much they had moved away from traditional social norms.
To achieve its purpose, Akshara Centre surveyed a total of 6,428 youth aged between 15-29, of which 3,364 were men and 3,064 women from across 8 different cities in different states of India. Four metros – Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, and Kolkata and four cities namely Vijayawada, Ludhiana, Ahmedabad and Bhubaneswar were covered.
As per report, an overwhelming 79.2 percent of men and 87.4 percent of women said that men and women should have the same rights.
Also domestic violence on women was rejected by both men and women. However, if there was violence then women should tolerate it for the sake of keeping the family together, say 42.6 percent of men.
The common myth that revealing clothes invite rape or sexual harassment still held strong in the minds of both men 54.8 percent and women 39.2 percent.
Commenting on the rationale for the report, Nandita Gandhi, Co-Director of Akshara Centre said, “Unless men, women and all genders have the same opportunities and the same access to resources, we will see not see the progress and development which should rightfully be ours.”
“There is no doubt we need change, as ours is a very unequal and differentiated society with one group being racing ahead and the other far behind. Every generation has its own way of thinking. Unless we know what young people are thinking, how can we speak about change? Research and knowing will give us direction and strategies,“ Gandhi added.
Sabarimala Temple has traditionally banned the entry of women of menstrual age despite Indian Supreme Court ruling in late September to end a ban on women of menstruating age entering it.