On the 21st of September, we were in rain-soaked Mumbai, making our way in local trains and cabs to the Build Together conference on Men and Masculinities hosted by Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies.
We met several colleagues and friends in person. What we were most thrilled about was having an opportunity and the space for girl leaders associated with EMpower initiatives over the last 10 years to present our journey through their experiences of leadership and introduce nuanced approaches to the discourse of engaging men and boys in gender programming.
In the 90-minute session, EMpower’s airtime was 15 minutes, and the rest was led entirely by our panel of girl leaders, Rani (Girls Advisory Council, Learning Community Mentor in Rajasthan), Kajal (Girls Advisory Council), and Netra (Leaders Lab), and moderated par excellence by Sabah (alumnus of the Learning Community, and part of its first cycle back in 2012!).
There were many aha! moments, but, we want to share what one of the leaders said: “We cannot keep these conversations inside the NGOs. We have to take them outside to our friend circles, to our homes—to engage the men in our lives.”
We hope to continue on this journey of following girls’ wisdom and making space for them to blaze the trail.
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