https://global.luskin.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/20/2015/04/img_5113-2.jpg 1024 1024 Global Luskin https://global.luskin.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/20/2019/02/Bxd_Blk_LGPA_Luskin_G-e1550679145118-1030x199.png Global Luskin2016-01-01 18:36:522019-05-20 13:32:59Alumni Spotlight: Christina Metz (MSW 2015) was in Delhi in Summer of ’14
Christina Metz (MSW 2015) was in Delhi in Summer of ’14. One year later, she reflects on her experience:
It has now been a year since I traveled to India with the International Practice Pathways Program. I worked at an NGO called Kat-Katha at G.B. Road, which is Delhi’s Red Light District, which is dedicated to the empowerment of the women working in brothels and their children and to breaking the cycle of exploitation. This is a difficult issue to attack, as the issues of sex work and sexual exploitation are so taboo that they are simply not discussed. This population – the women who work in brothels and their children – are so marginalized, that mainstream society does not even acknowledge their presence. At a place like G.B. Road, you find the devaluation and objectification of women in its most undiluted form. However, those views of women are not limited to red light areas; they trickle out into the mainstream and contribute to the gender-based violence and rape culture that plagues India.
The sociocultural landscape of India is far different than what you see in the United States – theirs is very traditional, patriarchal culture organized along a class system with far less fluid boundaries than our own. Even as I think about how great the challenges are to overcome the many social issues India faces, and particularly issues facing women – discrimination, gender-based violence, limited access to education, unequal pay – my experiences visiting various organizations in Delhi ultimately leaves me with a sense of hope. Part of the reason for this hope is that we visited many agencies, such as Kat-Katha and the Center for Community Action and Development, which were founded and run by women for the empowerment of women. In a traditional society like India, that is a bold and pioneering move. It takes another level of courage and devotion to engage in social work when it so wholly defies societal norms, and these courageous individuals are often creating something from the ground up. These brave women were not the only ones holding progressive values and ideas – many of the male students and volunteers we met held those same values, signaling to me that this movement is gaining momentum amongst younger people. Like all these, real change will require education, awareness, and advocacy across India, a great task given the broader poverty, infrastructure, and education challenges. Though it will take time, the passion and sheer determination I witnessed gives me faith in this movement of women’s empowerment.
Slider picture source: http://imgarcade.com/1/red-light-area-grant-road/