‘A Gender-Equal World is Critical for Progress’ believes Sohini Bhattacharya
NEW DELHI, Oct. 10, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Breakthrough, an organization making gender-based violence unacceptable by transforming the culture that permits violence, particularly violence and discrimination against women and girls, today celebrated its 24th anniversary. As part of the 24th-anniversary celebration, Breakthrough organized a symbolic event—a friendly football match where girls from Delhi and Haryana took part in the match while the boys cheered them on, chanting ‘Teri Jeet, Meri Jeet!’ This powerful message signifies that the victory of one is a victory for all, and together, they are breaking down barriers and reshaping cultural norms. This match served as a testament to the strength and resilience of girls and women worldwide and underscored the importance of equal opportunities in all aspects of life, particularly for women and girls.
Founded in the year 1999, Breakthrough has been at the forefront of transforming cultural norms that perpetuate violence and discrimination against women and girls. Over the past two decades, the organization has made substantial strides in promoting gender equality through a multifaceted approach encompassing education, community engagement, media engagement, and system strengthening.
Sohini Bhattacharya, CEO, Breakthrough said: “Gender-based violence and discrimination perpetuate because social norms say it’s okay for them to exist. Creating a world of equal opportunity and fulfilment means pushing such social norms to change. This is why Breakthrough works with millions of adolescents in government schools and communities, helping shape gender attitudes and beliefs before they turn into behaviours that are difficult to change. By helping young people learn how to support each other, fostering aspiration, and teaching them the negotiation skills that can turn dreams into reality, Breakthrough is enabling a generational shift in norms that transform culture.”
Gender-based violence has been perpetuated by deeply entrenched cultural norms. Breakthrough recognizes that to combat this issue effectively, the culture that allows it to persist needs to change. The 24th anniversary signifies Breakthrough’s unwavering dedication to this mission. The key to ending gender-based violence lies in the early stages of development. By educating, guiding, and empowering adolescents at this crucial juncture when their gender norms and beliefs are crystallizing, we can prevent violence before it takes root.
In addition to working with young people in schools and communities, Breakthrough focuses on creating a supportive environment. The community initiatives and awareness campaigns work together to ensure that the transformative change is sustainable. As millions of young people grow up with a deep understanding of gender equality, societal norms shift, and a new era of equality, dignity, and will begin.
Priyanka Kher, Director, Media and Communications, Breakthrough said:
“Our work at Breakthrough has always been about instilling lasting change from the ground up. By engaging adolescents at the critical juncture when gender norms take shape, we are forging a future where violence against women and girls has no place. Our 24th anniversary signifies a significant milestone on this path, and we are committed to continuing our efforts until we realize a world characterized by equality, dignity, and justice.”
Breakthrough works with over 1.5 million adolescents across North India, moulding their gender norms and beliefs before they become ingrained behaviours. The interventions are designed to equip beneficiaries with the tools to aspire, lead, advocate, and negotiate. The result is an entire generation embracing a culture in which gender-based violence, particularly against women and girls, becomes unacceptable.
Breakthrough’s mission is led by young people aged 11 to 25, who are at the forefront of challenging gender-based violence. Breakthrough programmes bolster their efforts with targeted media campaigns that reshape public narratives and inspire people to envision a world characterized by equality, dignity, and justice.
The following aspects will remain key focus areas for Breakthrough as it strives to create a gender-equal world.
Systems change work in schools: Breakthrough has been working tirelessly to instil values of gender equality and respect in educational institutions, particularly in the states of Punjab and Odisha. Through innovative programs and curricula, the organization has been instrumental in fostering a safe and inclusive learning environment.
Deep transformation work in communities around adolescents: Recognizing the importance of engaging with adolescents and young adults, Breakthrough has implemented community-based initiatives that empower the youth with the knowledge and skills needed to challenge harmful norms and practices across states such as Delhi, UP, Haryana, and Jharkhand.
Media products and content: Breakthrough understands the power of media in shaping perceptions and attitudes. The organization has been creating impactful media content and campaigns that challenge stereotypes, raise awareness and inspire collective action.
System Strengthening: Breakthrough’s efforts extend beyond the community and school levels. The organization actively works to strengthen systems that protect and empower women and girls, advocating for positive and lasting changes.
Razia a participant in the football match and many of Breakthrough transformative programmes said:
“As a young participant in Breakthrough’s initiatives, I’ve witnessed firsthand the power of education, awareness, and community support in challenging harmful gender norms. I stand alongside my peers in saying that we will not accept gender-based violence in any form. We are a generation that will rewrite the narrative and build a gender-equal world for all.”
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