Niyatii N Shah, Sexuality Educator Counsellor

Niyatii N Shah is an enthusiastic, passionate and renowed sexual educator counsellor who believes in educating the kids on sex education, empowering them to make informed decisions and eradicating the hesitations and taboos around Sexuality. She is skilled in Negotiation, Coaching, Public Speaking, Curriculum Development, and Parent Coaching. Niyatii is a strong and passionate professional Trained Sex Educator who is focuses on Sex Education & Sexual Health from Institute of Human Technology.

The birth of a girl child is not welcomed in our country. The discrimination starts as soon as one knows the gender of the unborn child. Sometimes, she is killed as a fetus, and if she manages to see the light of day, she is killed as an infant.  

Gender inequality concerns both women and men. Historically,  gender equality policies have been understood mainly as a “women’s issue” – as women have been a driving force behind gender equality strategies and struggles. Hence, to create true equality among genders, today we talk about all genders.

Are you a girl or a boy? This is such a simple question that even a 3-year-old can answer. But do you know how many types of genders are there? Before you guess a number, I would like to make a very important distinction between sex and gender. In simple words, SEX is what your body is biologically and GENDER is what your mind thinks you are and how you feel about yourself. So you could be a girl by sex but feel masculine within and vice versa. This is socially constructed roles and responsibility in a given culture & location.

We have all types of people – people who identify themselves as females, males, neither, both, or any other combinations. Equality means the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities. ‘Gender Equality’ means the state in which access to status, rights or opportunities is unaffected by gender.

‘Gender Equality’ means the state in which access to status, rights or opportunities is unaffected by gender.

Let me state some of these HUMAN RIGHTS which are not extended to all.

  1. Freedom to express in any form – and yet we have homes, schools, colleges, and workplaces where many are not allowed to speak their minds or express their feelings or thoughts or ideas. The classic example being males can’t cry or females should not speak when males are discussing.
  2. Freedom to move safely throughout the country – and yet we have children, young girls, women & transgenders fearing to move around in their localities.
  3. Freedom to work – Yes, there are opportunities where young girls are employed happily but as soon as the woman is married or has children, the attitude of the employer changes. These women are not given the opportunities that men receive. The transgenders who do not fit into the social norms of appearance or behavior are not given jobs. The income also varies for different genders even if they all are working equally.
  4. Educational rights ensure education for everyone irrespective of their caste, gender, religion, etc. But this is just in the books, girls are not allowed to be educated in many parts of our country. They are made to stay home once they attain their puberty. Children who look different or act differently than the sex they are born as are victims of non-admissions at schools. They are maimed with a lot of disrespect and are not included with other children.

Right to Equality ensures equal rights for all the citizens. In India, discrimination towards either sex has existed for generations and affected the lives of all sexes. Although the constitution of India grants men and women equal rights, gender disparities remain.

Have you ever thought, what happens to people who do not fit into the socially created genders (the male or the female)?

  1. Non-acceptance – Imagine being ridiculed, called names, thrown out of your own homes just because you feel different than those who call themselves normal people. In most parts of India, girls are not accepted as their family once she is married. She is also not accepted as a part of her new family either. She longs to belong. Transgenders are not even accepted by their own parents.
  2. Education gets affected – In India, the government has a social cause called BETI PADHAO. This movement comes in existence only because the girl child is not given adequate and equal education as the boys. Transgender children are not sent to school at all. They are often subjected to intense bullying that they’re unable to receive an adequate education.
  3. Bullying – LGBT youth identified bullying problems as the second most important problem in their lives, after non-accepting families, compared to non-LGBT youth identifying classes/exams/grades.
  4. Depression – In a study, about 78% of the students met the criteria for one or more mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-injury and suicide risk.
  5. Stress – Unfair treatment increases stress levels which can lead to greater chances of physical illness. 
  6. Suicide – Gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual counterparts.
  7. Interpersonal relationships – Because of the discrimination between men and women and the dominance of the male gender in interpersonal relationships, the women are suppressed, and transgenders are not even considered as life partners. Men too are tortured and harassed for money and are expected to be the sole breadwinner

When we talk about gender equality, we are basically talking about human beings who may identify themselves differently, but their basic human rights should remain intact. Gender equality is understood broadly as woman empowerment, but it is not so. It is about each human being, irrespective of their gender to be treated equally in all aspects.

Things that we can do to bring equality:

  1. Treat others in the way you would want to be treated.
  2. Respect people’s choices.
  3. Focus on talents, skills, and efforts, and not on gender.
  4. Spread awareness amongst your friends, families, and peers.
  5. Empower parents & teachers.
  6. Allow a deserving person to take the positions of power and not dismiss because the person is not a male.
  7. Encourage children of all genders to get educated.
  8. Employ all genders because of their talents and skills.
  9. Offer programs to educate about the rights of every human being.
  10. Create communities for support.

There has never been a more important time for colleges and universities to act to protect and support all genders.

As young adults, I see hope in you. I hope that you will treat people as people, and not as male and female only. I hope you treat each other with respect.

I hope you see good in people and not let their fashion or behavior influence you. Every human being has a right to be who they want to be. Wouldn’t you want your loved ones to completely accept you for who you are, for the ideologies you believe in?

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