I have memories of Women’s Day ever since I was in elementary school. Growing up in Europe, March 8th was a good day to be a girl. Boys would give us flowers at school, husbands would surprise their wives with a bouquet, my dad would get chocolate for his girls. It was natural for me that women are beautiful, valuable, hard-working creatures who should be celebrated. I didn’t know there were parts of the world where being born a girl was undesirable or even dangerous.
India also observes International Women’s Day, honoring women’s accomplishments in different ways on this day, but acknowledging that women are equal to men is still not an everyday reality. There has been much progress in recognizing women’s value in the last 30 to 50 years, but traditions and mindsets are slow to change and some women suffer “from womb to tomb.”
One of Ending Gendercide’s core values is that God created men and women with equal value, and they work to empower women to know their own worth. They want people in every sphere of Indian society to respect women and treat them with dignity. This starts with eliminating female foeticide – the killing of unborn baby girls, an issue that Ending Gendercide is passionate to raise awareness and speak up about.
On every International Women’s Day the Ending Gendercide team plans different creative and culturally relevant ways to engage the public with this issue of inequality between genders. In the past, they have used street theatre, documentary screenings, music and dance to call attention to the problem and spark conversation and change. This year they will follow suit with the UN’s theme, Pledge for Parity, which encourages everyone to take a step towards uplifting women. On March 8, around 200 Ending Gendercide volunteers will wear matching “Pledge for Parity” T-shirts, either with English or with Hindi lines, and will go out and ride the subway in teams of four. When people approach them with curiosity and questions, they will kindly educate them about the problem of violence and discrimination against women in India. The volunteers will carry small cards that passengers can sign and take with them, something like “I pledge to treat women with respect and equality.” Ending Gendercide is also preparing for a group of college students to put on a street theatre play related to gender equality at one busy subway station.
Please lift up the Ending Gendercide team in these ways:
- Pray for fruitful conversations between Ending Gendercide volunteers and subway passengers on March 8th, and for many people to sign the pledge cards.
- Pray that the roots of gender inequality would loosen here as God changes people’s worldview and belief system. Many Indians understand the problems surrounding gendercide and devaluing women, but it is a great challenge for them to actually change their lifestyle, traditions and interactions, and stand by these values publicly.
- Pray for the Ending Gendercide volunteers. They are eager to show up to events and take action but still need guidance and encouragement on how to put their convictions to practice in everyday life. Pray also for new volunteers to join and spread the word on treating women with respect.
Adrienn is exploring the highs and lows of cross-cultural living with her husband and two young children. She loves chocolate, words, hope, and wading through life’s joys and sorrows with other women.