Gender and Mental Health
Gender inequalities continue to be a
reality, even, with a favorable economic and political environment. We believe
that in order to achieve gender equality and justice in the truest sense, it is
not enough to just empower women, it is also important to engage men as equal
stakeholders in the society. This will positively change the collective
consciousness of our community, leading to greater equality and gender justice
in practice. Manas aims to remove gender-based violence that is highly
prevalent in India by building an unbiased society through our unique gender-sensitization
trainings. Manas is creating positive attitudes and behavior changes by using
the principles of Mental health and psychology.
Our trainings impart information on
gender equality and related laws, and create behavioral activation that results
in pro-gender behavior from the outset. Our key programmes in this area include
the Building Bonds programme and Police Trainings. Apart from these, we
also integrate gender-sensitization trainings into our work with disadvantaged
youth, school and college students, juveniles in conflict with law and
residents of Homes for custodial care. We have also, worked with the Delhi
Government in 2005-06 in providing mental health services to women
beneficiaries through the Bhagidari scheme.
Manas Engaging Men
Manas’ interventions engage men from
different sections of the society including public service providers like
police personnel, auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers and DTC staff. These service
providers have direct contact with the masses and if transformed, will not only
change the quality of transport services, but, can positively influence behavioral
transformations in the larger public.
We include psychological techniques
for behavior modification, such as cognitive dissonance, social conformity,
commitment, and assumption of personal responsibility. It has been proven that
when a person engages in such behavior and his actions are reinforced, it
results in a deeper level attitudinal and cognitive change. Through workshops,
individual-group and family sessions and several other creative targeted interventions,
we promote knowledge.
Some of our key achievements:
Ø Building Bonds for gender-sensitization
has reached over 150000 commercial
drivers by December 2015, resulting in a perceptible change in making Delhi
a safe city for women commuters and creating safe spaces.
Ø Over 2500
police personnel have undergone gender-sensitization training
Ø Over 800 juveniles in conflict with law have been exposed to concepts of
gender equality, resulting in reduced repeat offences of a sexual nature.
Ø Over 1000 students from different colleges have been involved in
group sessions, workshops and campaigns focused on understanding gender
Ø More than 4000 school students and staff members including
principals have been touched by our interventions.
Bonds for Gender Sensitization :
Bonds for Gender Sensitization is a one-of-its-kind intervention with
drivers of public transport vehicles aimed at enhancing safety in Delhi by
engaging men in gender justice. The Building Bond trainings sensitize all
commercial vehicle drivers including auto-rickshaw, taxi and bus drivers in
gender justice and equity through interactive workshops. This act as a tipping
point and will bring about a cultural change. The programme has successfully
trained over 86,000 commercial drivers
since January 2014. This has been possible with the support of Delhi State Transport Department, the Ford
Foundation, Indraprastha Gas Limited, Maruti, and the Driving Training
Institute, Ashok Leyland.
In a city where 80% women commuters
opt for autos and taxis as their mode of public transport, taxi and auto
drivers are critical to creating a safe transport experience. By engaging men
involved in delivering everyday public transport, Building Bonds program
fosters empathy and support; and bridges the gap between the drivers and the
women in Delhi. This ensures that the drivers are actively involved in ensuring
safety and respect for women.
Manas has been a key participant in
working with the Delhi State Transport Department in bringing a policy level
impact. We have got in place a mandatory issuance for drivers to undergo
gender-sensitization workshops prior to renewal/issuance of their fitness
Innovative, Behavior Change Module
Our innovative one hour,
face-to-face training module is based on scientific psychological principals
and employs pictures, storytelling, group discussions and experience-sharing
methods. The training exhorts the participants to bring about a behavioral
change in response to the cognitive dissonance that is intentionally created
during the training. The training combines mental health with gender justice.
The Building Bond module provides
training that generates Social
Responsibility, Professional Behavior, Empathy and Care [SPEC-Approach] among the drivers. Through these
internal changes and reinforcement of their importance with respect to creating
an accessible and safe transport system for women, we aim to develop a sense of
ownership among the drivers.
After Training Support
A unique feature of Building Bonds
is the Auto-Sahara and Taxi-Sahara helpline, a medium by which auto and taxi
drivers can ask questions and receive responses on gender sensitive behavior.
This increases the possibility of a two-way dialogue on gender, and creates an
ongoing engagement with the drivers. Drivers can call and share their concerns,
peculiar situations and challenges that they may face that are gender-specific
and are facilitated aptly.
EFFECTIVENESS OF THE
TRAINING CONDUCTED BY MANAS FOUNDATION WITH AUTO DRIVERS
The effectiveness of the training conducted by Manas
Foundation with auto drivers under the Building Bonds programme was assessed
A follow up survey covering 399 auto drivers
An exit poll with 404
Documentation formats of the trainings
emerging from the survey:
- 64% of auto drivers were able to recall messages about legal
measures to combat VAW. 86% of them were able to recall messages around forms
of gender discrimination and the unacceptability of VAW.
Almost 70% of the survey respondents rated the training 5/5.
Overall, the average score is 4.62/5, indicating that the trainees found the
experience to be very positive.
The respondents have also reported heart warming gestures,
o “If someone is following
the auto I slow down so that this person is forced to move head.”
o “I have placed a first aid
box and water bottle for passengers in the auto”
o “Now when I see a woman at
night I definitely stop the auto for her.”
- Many auto drivers have reported
more consistent use of the meter. Some heartening responses regarding the
application of the training inputs include:
--Have stopped smoking
--Used to hesitate taking women as passengers in the evening
but do not do so now
--Give preference to women passengers; never refuse to take
--Have shared about VAW with friends, family members
Manas’ Police Trainings project
focuses on engaging and training police officers in gender sensitization to
adopt a more conscious approach in their professional and personal lives
towards women. The training also looks at developing interview skills while
dealing with female victims. It brings to conscious awareness the specific
gender stereotypes of the group and maps the process of how these stereotypes
are formed. It helps the participants understand the differences between the
biological “sex” and the socially constructed “gender” and how gender identity
is constructed in our minds from the time of our birth.
Through this mapping exercise and an
understanding of subsequent patterns of bias in thought and action, we discuss
positive alternatives for approach and behavior with women. This introduces
gender equality in context with the roles of the police personnel. The officers
also learn how to interview victims and possible perpetrators using principles
of psychology that are discussed during lectures. These trainings help them
understand the difference between an abuser and the abused, and develop skill
sets and empathy to manage walk-in complainants, especially women. They
understand how to assess and interview victims of different abuses as well as
Over 2000 police officers underwent this
training and wanted it to be part of basic police training. They found it
useful for their everyday situations and in interviewing women victims and
Our trainings are delivered through
lectures, group discussions, role plays and other objective based activities
and touch upon several themes of relevance like:
Ø Conscious awareness of specific
gender stereotypes of the group and process mapping of how these stereotypes
Ø Understanding the differences
between the biological “sex” and the socially constructed “gender”
Ø Understanding the different types
of abuse that women go through
Ø Awareness on why it is important
to rewire ourselves to become more gender sensitive in the current context
Ø The meaning and need for
gender-sensitivity in personal lives and professional practice
Ø Skills required to conduct a just,
fair and unbiased interview with women
Under our campaign“Barabari ki Dagar...Surakshit Safar”aiming to enhance safe public
transportation for women we are imparting Gender Sensitization Training to
home-guards who have been deployed as marshals in DTC buses. The key role of
these Home-Guards as marshals is to take appropriate action in case of any
incident of sexual harassment in the bus.
Our initiative of Building Bonds for Gender Sensitization with marshals
is an effort to engage men in the process of achieving gender justice and
equity. This project was launched on 17th September 2015 by ShriGopalRai,
Minister, Department of Transport and Rural Development, Rebecca Tavares, UN
Women Representative for India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, and Shri C.R.
Garg, Managing Director, Delhi Transport Corporation, and the DTC Marshals.
It is a participatory half-day training program that imparts knowledge
about gender sensitization, sexual harassment: meaning and legal implications
and lastly also helps to behaviorally equip the home-guards to address the
gender-related issues commonly faced with regard to women commuters. A
structured module for the training has been developed by us with the help of UN Women
for imparting these trainings. We have also provided the changed and developed
meaning and legal language of sexual harassment to equip them to perform their
job through a gendered lens rather than moral policing. Another specialty lies
in creating a sense of responsibility for women safety among them.
now approximately 1475 home-guards
have been trained for this. The trainings have been successful in igniting a
change in mind-set among them and trigger a sense of sensitivity towards women
travelers. Inferring the feedbacks collected during training it is perceived
that it has motivated the marshals to perform their duty optimally. The
marshals have been able to engage and relate themselves during the dialogues as
our facilitators are touching various prevailing common concerns of society
like- violence, discrimination and social responsibility. They also feel that
the training has been very useful with the information on legal implications of
sexual harassment. Such information is beneficial for them to identify and
stand against instances of sexual harassment as well as spread awareness among
their social circle about the same.
Marshals have felt that change in outlook and
attitude of public towards such gender issues is a prerequisite to establish
equality among all. For the same, they have assured to join hands with us in
answering the mounting call for gender equality in our society. Many have
stated to initiate this change primarily through their own life and homes by
providing equal opportunities and resources to their family members
irrespective of gender. They have also ensured to treat all women with dignity
and respect and prevent incidents of sexual harassment in DTC buses. They
believe that through this they are able to safe-guard self-esteem and protect
human rights of women travelers.
Following this assurance, each trainee signs a
pledge indicating his commitment to women safety, and is given a badge to be
worn during duty hours as a social display of his responsibility to the cause.
Messages about women safety in the DTC buses have also been pasted for
spreading information and awareness about this among all.