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Is rethinking masculinity the key to gender equality in India? | The Stream

Al Jazeera, 09 Mar 2021
A new Indian series, What’s a Man? is a research-in-process podcast that lays bare what it means to be a man in the country today. Host Deepa Narayan says behavioural change among men is key to achieving a gender-equal world, but believes they are rarely engaged in strategic and compassionate conversations that help reshape the world around them. What’s a Man is put together based on more than 200 in-depth interviews of boys and men. The series explores their experiences in homes, schools, and offices, considering both the exercise of power and the practice of love.

Strict adherence to traditional gender traits is often the expectation of Indian families, and wider society. Men are traditionally viewed as being strong, dominant and protective, while women are commonly seen as fragile, submissive and nurturing. Narayan says that by focusing on gender traits in the binary, men are forced to walk a razor edge of social conventions that often push them to adopt toxic masculine traits.

March 8th marks International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to celebrating the achievements of women while also pushing for women’s rights and gender parity. This year’s #ChooseToChallenge theme urges people to call out inequality and build a more inclusive world.

In this episode we meet Deepa Narayan and ask how a better understanding of masculinity is essential to striking gender-balance and how her podcast is helping to bring change.

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