As I reflect on 2018, it’s clear that gender-based violence was both a huge problem and a problem that more people are now working to address.

During the first half of the year, there were several horrific stories about men gang-raping young girls — including babies — in India. The public shock and outrage was immense and forced the government to introduce the death penalty for raping minor girls.

Key Takeaways

  • 2018 has really felt like it was the “Year of the Woman.”
  • An important fall-out from #MeToo was that several powerful men were outed and some of them even lost their jobs.
  • Men need to make space for women to achieve their potential. They need to consciously check their privilege.
  • We are on a roll and it is hard to stop us from achieving our goals for equity and equality.

The #MeToo movement continued to pick up momentum around the world and it finally caught up in India in October. Many women courageously took a stand in public, revealing personal details of their trauma at the hands and other body parts of powerful men. The fall-out from it was that several powerful men were outed and some of them even lost their jobs.

At a personal and professional level, 2018 has really felt like it was the “Year of the Woman.”

 

Every single conference I attended had either a gender focus or a gender track and often an entire panel dedicated to #MeToo. I was fortunate to share my views at the World Bank Transforming Transportation Summit, ICAO’s Global Aviation Gender Summit, BMW Foundation’s Roundtable on Female Leadership for Resilient Cities and host a session on Women Friendly Cities at the Deutsche Welle’s Global Media Forum, amongst others.

Every single conference I attended had either a gender focus or a gender track and often an entire panel dedicated to #MeToo.

Putting “Gender on the Agenda” has been critical for me this year and has informed my work accordingly. As a result, I hosted TEDxVersovaWomen this month on the theme “Showing Up” and also hosted earlier this year an Urban Thinkers Campus for UN Habitat’s World Urban Forum on Creating a Resilient and Inclusive City from a gender perspective.

At my organization Safecity, we created information to help people take action against sexual violence and make a difference in creating safe public spaces through a Safecity toolkit and a primer for Urban Planning from a gender perspective. We undertook a massive audit of hotspots along the railway lines in Mumbai, speaking to over 1000 people and presented the findings to Mumbai Railways.

Sexual violence is a hard topic to discuss constantly. So it is important to create safe spaces for discussion and more importantly creating spaces to take action. Therefore, our youth leadership and mentoring programmes have been very critical in enhancing the capacity of young people to explore civic action. Safecity hosted the Global Mentoring Walk for Vital Voices in Mumbai and matched 25 mentees with 25 women leaders, giving them access to an ecosystem of support. Through the Youth Innovation Challenge, we mentored and incubated 10 social innovations for Creating a Resilient and Inclusive City. These ideas have progressed to being prototypes and will be picked up for further acceleration by interested institutions like UNDP and others.

Sexual violence is a hard topic to discuss constantly. So it is important to create safe spaces for discussion and more importantly creating spaces to take action.

As we end the year, and look forward to the next, I would love for more men to get involved in gender issues. This cannot change if only women constantly show up for the discussions. Men control everything at moment – government, corporations, finances and opportunities. They need to make space for women to achieve their potential. They need to consciously check their privilege. They need to educate themselves as ignorance has no place in this day and age. They need to do their fair share of family care and show their peers and the world around them that they can be serious on this issue. And finally, they need to ensure they do not perpetuate patriarchy and violence and be willing to call out their friends when they do so.

Men control everything at moment – government, corporations, finances and opportunities. They need to make space for women to achieve their potential.

I do believe, 2019 will continue to be another year for women. We are on a roll and it is hard to stop us from achieving our goals for equity and equality. So we will continue to see more glass ceilings being broken and more boundaries be extended. I will personally do my best to facilitate the same and be a role model for others to follow.

The future, in my opinion, is definitely female.

Views expressed are the author’s own.

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