Author: eduequalorg

HIV/AIDS Prevention Starts with Combating Gender Inequality

Written by: Hayley Trinh, Communications and Development Intern, Education for Equality International Since the first known case of HIV in India was diagnosed in 1986, the number of people infected with the virus has continued to grow. According the most recent UNAIDS Gap Report, India has the third-highest number of people living with HIV in the world, with 2.1 million Indians accounting for four of every 10 people infected in Asia. Rajasthan, where EEI’s girls’ education and empowerment efforts are currently focused, is considered a low prevalence state by National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), but the population is considered highly vulnerable because of its high percentage of migrant labor. People from Rajasthan migrate to high prevalence states like Maharashtra and Gujarat and return with the disease. Rajasthan also accounts for 19% of all mines in India, employing over 500,000 workers, many of them are from other states. The situation in the state has become critical due to increase of traffic on national highways, tourists, and laborers coming in search for jobs. Due to its large …

The Challenges of Conflict for Women and Girls

The long-term impacts of war in conflict affected areas can have seemingly ever-lasting effects that are passed down from generation to generation. Families are uprooted from their homes, customs, social norms, livelihood and sense of security. Though societies can recover from war and conflict, regain and rebuild as a whole, there are still underlying disturbances that exist for those caught in the crossfire so to speak. Historically, rape is used as a weapon of war in order to instill power and control of one group over another. Regardless of the efforts that have been made over the last few decades gender-based violence still persists and remains a threat to women and girls. Rape, sexual slavery, domestic violence, kidnapping, forced marriages, trafficking and forced prostitution, or any threat based on the female gender can all be experienced at the hands of military enforcement, rebel militias, government officials, and community members. Even trusted peacekeepers who have been sent to the conflict area to protect civilians have been known to use their power to their advantage and committed acts …

Droughts, Deserts: Women’s & Children’s Health in India

Over the last 15 years India has been struck with numerous natural disasters that have killed thousands and leaving many more men, women, and children in despair. The country is at high risk for natural disasters and is exposed to floods, droughts, cyclones, earthquakes, and landslides. From urban cities to rural villages, communities are ripped apart and families struggle to survive in the aftermath. Even more so are women and girls at an even higher risk of displacement and exploitation than their male counterparts. As NGO staff, social workers, health practitioners, and policy makers our understanding of the implications between gender and natural disasters is critical to effective disaster management that reduce the vulnerability of women and girls. Rajasthan is one of the most drought-affected states in the country. In 2002, the entire state experienced a severe drought which caused a shortage in food, water, employment, and farming. Because of the drought crops are destroyed, cattle die, and a family’s source of income is depleted. Families are unable to provide a steady diet for their …

Brave New Girl

Women and girls have the power to prevent conflict and violence by recognizing the inequalities that exist within their community and society.  Peace-building is a way to address the root causes of violence, prevent violence from occurring, and find sustainable, long-term solutions for peace.  Women and girls are largely excluded from decision making and must be included in conflict prevention and peace-building strategies to have a significant impact on increasing gender equality and eliminate the discourse that we are invisible.  In order to begin a process of transformation in her community, she must be empowered to find her inner-voice and realize her collective strengths. Empowering Girls to be Leaders in India Rajasthan, India is well-known for its dry, harsh deserts, diverse wildlife, and the unmistakable richness and color in food, textiles, and culture.  Unfortunately, the state is also known to be one of the most challenging places for girls to grow up in.  A large majority of the state is a vast desert and most of the population lives in these remote areas making it …

Her Story, Her Dream

Written by: Fonda Sanchez, Founder of Education for Equality International  If we listened to the voices of women and girls, what would we hear? How would their stories make a difference? While completing my graduate practicum with an NGO that focuses on increasing primary school enrollment and literacy rates for girls in Rajasthan, India, I had the privilege of meeting a young girl named Rekha. During field visits, I met many teen girls who had completed primary school, but were not enrolled in secondary.  Rekha was fourteen and recently married to a young man a couple years older than her. As is custom for many new brides in India, she went to live with her new husband and his family. Upon arrival into the family, Rekha’s in-laws prohibited her from continuing her education. She did not expect that early marriage would result in lost opportunity. Rekha’s husband had never completed secondary school and therefore her in-laws would not allow her to attend. In other words, as a young girl they did not want Rekha’s education level higher than …