SPEAK UP, DON’T BE SHY: REFLECTIONS FROM COMMUNITY RADIO’S WORK ON GENDER ISSUES
Adolescence is a period of emotional storm, moodiness and stress. Life seems to be a secret vessel for an adolescent, with many unanswered questions, thoughts about sexuality and gender, as conversations around these topics are only incident-based. The stream of thoughts, questions and confusion that remain unanswered can start to have a detrimental effect on emotional and psychological health, and sometimes even on physical health.
The UN defines youth as an age group between 15 to 24 years. This population includes 1.8 billion of the 7.3 billion world population. Eighty-seven percent of youth live in developing countries, with 67 percent living in Asia. Half of the youth population are female. The case study intends to share reflections from community radio Alfaz-e-Mewat to explore conversations around gender, and gender roles that are imbibed through various means, starting in early childhood, and how they become even stronger in adolescence. The case study tries to analyse the scope of such conversations in the highly conservative region of district Nuh in Haryana state, the inherent challenges and the way forward. It highlights some critical learning from participatory development communications, the power of using narratives and storytelling, and integration with the positive deviance approach, which involves identifying individuals, groups, and communities, who have succeeded in overcoming social challenges against all odds to bring about social change.