A campaign to resist dowry, a practice that is “still rampant”, was organised at a street corner in west Kolkata to enable women to reach out for help.
Pamphlets were distributed, women talked over microphones so that their voice reached those sitting at home, passing by or maybe trying to sell something to be able to give dowry.
The programme at Metiabruz is part of the year-long campaign by a women’s rights’ organisation, where women urge women to stand up against dowry. “The need is strong because whether it is abuse, violence, incitement to suicide or death, dowry is still a reason in many cases,” said Anuradha Kapoor, the founder and director of Swayam, that works to advance the rights of women.
Kapoor said there were families who show marriage as a “favour” because they had brought the girl to the family and in return she “has to bring money to the table”.
The local ward councillor and leaders are supporting the organisation by putting up “No to Dowry” posters in the area.
Swayam collaborated with Raya Debnath Memorial Trust to organise the street-corner meeting.
A 16-day campaign titled — International Campaign to stop violence against women and girls — is being also observed by the organisation from November 25 to December 10 to raise awareness and act against violence on women and girls.
This year, Swayam’s theme is Soch Badlein, Baat Badlegi, inviting men and boys to think and work for equality.
It urges men to challenge patriarchal thinking and change the way they think, behave and act.