I am Generation Equality: Jeevika Shiv, lawyer, social worker, youth and gender equality activistBillions of people across the world stand on the right side of history every day. They speak up, take a stand, mobilize, and take big and small actions to advance women’s rights. This is Generation Equality.
Three things you can do to become part of Generation Equality:
- Understand and provide space for those who are not at the table and ensure more seats at the table
- Ensure that the voices of marginalized people are amplified
- Recognize when discrimination happens and speak out about how to end it in all spheres of life
I am generation equality because…
“I grew up in India, in an environment where you see gender disparity around you everywhere in the way women are treated, but I was also brought up in a supportive, inter-caste and interregional environment at home that was very gender-equal. So I believed that if my family can create a nurturing environment, I should be able to do the same.
At 18 I interned at a community-based organization called ANANDI dealing with issues of gender. I went on to work with them and also with grassroots movements, living in local rural villages and experiencing what life was like. Everyone says India is prosperous, but there are these pockets of poverty and discrimination. I went on to live and work with rural communities, and to question power in my own world too.
“I believe that the power of collectives can bring about change, by building solidarity and supporting each other. ”
“The power of collectives can bring about change.”
I advocated for the power of strong women leaders who brought about change, and I wanted to understand how that can be done systematically. I worked on how we women and people of different genders can build inclusive systems and processes in communities and negotiate with the government, how we can have more voice in political power, how we can bring about more representation, how we can look at issues of justice, health, food, gender-based violence, land, discrimination and much more. Every issue is a women’s issue – you cannot take a woman out of their context, and you cannot work on women’s rights without looking at gender equity, collective action and intersectionality.
Working with others including men
While working in communities, I had to ask myself these questions: How can we support and amplify the leadership of marginalized women and ensure access to entitlements and social protection? How do you listen, amplify and, not speak for others, but work alongside others as true allies? How do you sustain this 10 years from now? How do you bring in the next generation? How do you also engage with all genders, also men while doing all this?
Our lives are not boxed. We live intersectional lives and the more you have faced marginalization, the more the struggle. I believe that the power of collectives can bring about change, by building solidarity and supporting each other.
Jeevika Shiv is a lawyer and social worker in India. She is a member of the Women in Criminal Law Association WCLA and a National Youth Gender Activist from India for UN Women. She works on gender equality and with marginalized communities including tribal people and the rural poor, with a focus on feminist leadership, legal systems, livelihoods, governance, social security, and justice.