Our LEADers discuss street harassment and learn how they can fight it and advocate for other issues they care about.
This post is written by Aparna Singh, Women LEAD’s Programs and Communications Associate.
With deep-rooted patriarchal norms and gender bias, young women’s voices often go unheard. At Women LEAD, we equip young women with the tools to become powerful leaders and change-makers in their communities. As part of our Leadership training, we explore topics that are not usually taught in classrooms and found in textbooks. One of such sessions is about street harassment LEADers learn about about self-defense, how to file a complaint with the police, and connect with anti-street harassment campaigns like HollaBack! and Stop Street Harassment.
Street harassment is something that girls face on a daily basis here in Kathmandu but is often less talked about. Through the session, we inform our LEADers about street harassment, its prevalence in Nepal and make them advocates to end it. Usually, girls are not given the support system to share their feelings when they face harassment. The fear of being judged compels many girls to bottle their feelings and that causes them to undergo psychological illnesses such as depression. We provide our LEADers with a safe space to share their stories of harassment. We connect them with Hollaback! Kathmandu, where they get a platform to share their story online and participate in anti-street harassment campaigns.
As part of the Advocacy credit, our LEADers also attended the Citizens March to the Parliament that was held on the 30th of November to act urgently for the nationwide crisis and urge government’s responsiveness to respond to the problem. LEADer Jessica, who attended the event summed up her thoughts as: The March was mainly to address the current crisis that Nepal is undergoing, such as the unavailability of necessary supplies like cooking gas and fuel. I got to know a man who lost his son in the conflict and made me aware of that it is a bigger problem and that we as citizens, need to care.
One of our LEADers Anugya shared, “Street harassment is the very first step for dominating girls and making harassers powerful. I learned that the culprits of street harassment should learn a lesson. I also learned that I can be a bystander if I witness anyone being harassed. Learning about self defense made me feel more secure, empowered and powerful. Advocacy is a medium to connect with people who share the same interest as you. We only read about the social and national problems through books or internet or just we get hands on information through the sessions.”
Women LEAD helps our LEADers strengthen their voices through advocacy. Our goal is to encourage all girls to speak up against injustice and fight for what is right in order to create an equal society for everyone.