Everyday things which pass as blur, became the focus of my life and brought inspiration to bring ‘Womenite’ to reality. Most of us, like me, had grown up seeing how our mothers sacrifice all their might and happiness for the sake of her family. And it pained me to see that despite all their abilities and sacrifices, world plagues with stereotypes and continues to treat women as inferior sex and deny them their most basic rights. This realization motivated me to take a stand and I was a 19-year-old undergraduate engineering student at NSIT when I decided to start ‘Womenite’ with a mission to create an equal society with education, love, and empowerment.
I’m an Engineer by education and social entrepreneur by choice. When I started Womenite, people used to mock me by saying that I do some kind of business which involves supplying girls at night- ‘Women at nite’ but surpassing these mockeries and hurdles, ‘Womenite’ has come a long way. We have worked for ‘HeForShe’ campaign, UN Women’s solidarity movement for gender equality. We were also invited at the UN Women’s headquarters in New York for Brown Bag activity to present our project. Also, Womenite gave me the opportunity to become a global youth ambassador for ‘A World At School’ campaign which aims to promote quality education for all i.e. SDG 4. I was featured as TEDx speaker and was highly-commended runners-up for Queen’s Young Leader Award chosen by HH Queen Elizabeth II with a 1-year mentoring course on Leading Change by the University of Cambridge.
The dark underbelly of the world has some hideous facts and it stirs something inside you to work constantly to create a better world for women. We live in a world where more than two-thirds of all women have been harassed sexually or physically at least once in their lifetime. This is a world where every third woman gets harassed in her workplace. Here, a housemaker’s work has no monetary reward and menstruating is considered a taboo where bleeding women are barred from entering religious places. I believe these problems will continue until people are ‘educated’ and made ‘aware’ about these issues and their skewed mentality is changed. Thus, we conduct workshops with our focus on three key issues, namely ‘Child Abuse’, ‘Gender Equality’ and ‘Menstrual Hygiene’ in order to educate children and adults alike.
The workshop on child sexual abuse functions in four age brackets: grade 4, grade 5-6, grade 7-8, and grades 9-10. It aims to educate students about safe and unsafe touch and talk to them about danger, trust, and safety. It teaches them the concept of personal space; make them aware of abuse and its types, i.e. contact and non-contact.
The workshop on gender equality finds its target audience in the children of ages 12 and above. Its primary objective is to make children realize that gender inequality does not exist in a vacuum; rather, it permeates every part of our lives and affects everybody and everyone, regardless of the social systems that bind them. The gender equality workshop has a follow-up, i.e. the feminism workshop that introduces children to the concept and ideologies of feminism.
The workshop on menstrual hygiene aims to educate both young and aged about the process of menstruation and serves to bust myths and folklore around the menstruation process. It motivates the audience to use products available in the market that are aimed towards menstrual hygiene.
Till this date, we have conducted sessions in over 100 schools, organizations (including other NGOs), colleges and public events, thus, impacting over 20,000 students and youth. But I believe there is still a lot that has to be done; as an old saying goes- ‘Rome was not built in a day’ and a new ‘equal’ society must wait many days to come into being.
Harhsit Gupta|Founder- Womenite NGO