Stronger Together

Stronger Together

Sunita, Rekha, and Ramesha (L to R) are members of the Creating Spaces Women’s Group in Bucchabasti Village, Purkazi Block, Uttar Pradesh], where they learn about gender equality and women's rights. The women work together to take action on violence against women and girls and end child marriage.

This is their story:

“Child marriage was prevalent in our village, but it doesn’t happen anymore,” says Sunita, 30, a member of Creating Spaces Women’s Group in Bucchabasti Village, Purkazi Block, Uttar Pradesh. Adding that, “when a child is born in a house, the parents do not even have any papers to show how old the child is. In arranged marriages, even if the girl says, ‘I really do not want to marry this man’, if the man says, ‘I want to marry this girl’, it is the man’s voice that matters.”

“Most of us work in the field for long hours. Then we come home and we have to continue working. The men earn more money than the women. This is not equality. Often, our children come to the field with us because it is the only choice. The men in our community are not united. If something happens to someone’s wife, they do not want to be bothered by this.

In our community, the women are united. If a man is beating up his wife, we will all go together and beat up this man,” says Ramesha, 30, another member of Creating Spaces Women’s Group in Bucchabasti Village.

She adds, “we all make sure that our young boys are taught how to respect women".

“When we started attending the women’s group, we did not know anything about women’s rights. We did not know that we had so many rights.  Through the women’s group, we have all learned about gender equality. Earlier, we would get afraid that a man would beat us. Now, we are standing up for our rights.” Rekha, 30.

“Ever since the meetings have started with the men’s group, boy’s group, and women’s group, the boys have become sensitized on issues like education for girls. The men have realized that girls need to have access to schools, this has changed their mindset,” says Rekha.

What is Creating Spaces?
Creating Spaces is an Oxfam Canada flagship project that takes action to reduce violence against women and girls (VAWG), including child, early and forced marriage in 6 countries - Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, and Nepal.

By helping change the attitudes, behaviours, and systems that perpetuate violence against women and girls through-

  1. Creating spaces for support: Women who experience violence often lack access to support services. Creating Spaces improves access to social services, medical assistance, counselling, job training, and legal aid. Support provides women with tools to take control of their lives and to build a better future.
  2. Creating spaces for justice: Laws often exist, but go unenforced or unchallenged. Creating Spaces works with legal professionals and community leaders to uphold the rights of women and girls. We educate women to better understand  - and fight for - their right to a life free of violence.
  3. Creating spaces for change: Creating Spaces facilitates knowledge-sharing between local partners and countries to generate widespread change. We help individuals and institutions connect, share, learn and adapt approaches to ending violence against women and girls.

Over 5 years, Creating Spaces will: 

  • Change how communities think about violence and the acceptance of violence.
  • Provide support to women and girls who have experienced violence.
  • Strengthen women & girls' rights, leadership, and engagement.
  • Help institutions and networks get the tools they need to influence change.

You can help Oxfam empower more women by donating today!

Photo by Atul Loke. Text compiled by Caroline Leal, Oxfam Canada for Creating Spaces project.

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