I am Mandira, a medical student and also a health, women and child rights activist. I have been working for the welfare of women, children and other sexual minority groups since I was nine years old. I have been nurtured and have grown up in this field. I had always wanted a career path where I could help empower individual and community members to find solutions and advance changes in social policies, promote social changes and pull communities together in a way that fosters both humans and global wellbeing to truly make a difference I want to see in the world. I started first by learning about my child rights, improvising all the rights in my life and then spreading awareness about it. My journey started when a child club was established in my school with a joint effort with Lalitpur Metropolitain City.
Even after it started, we had a lot of balls that hit us. But I never looked back, got over it all and learned a lot from it. Every day was not a bright one. The late realization that I was a victim of child abuse too, hit me hard. That also was a key stepping stone for me, as it molded me to do better. Soon I personally got involved with different organizations working in similar fields. I worked harder than ever so other people didn’t have to face what I did. It does not matter if the person is my friend, a colleague, relative or maybe just a stranger. Sometimes people just need that extra push to do what they need to, and to help them has just given me this extra sense of confidence. The friendly and supportive environment has always been of help.
GBV is an issue that has been here for a very long time. It has no social or economic boundaries. It holds people back in all the sectors of the world. In the medical field, we use terms like sex and gender every day. However, misuse of these words is widespread even in this field. Knowing a patient’s gender/sex is very important for the right medical practice but not in Nepal. Here, often we just assume a person’s gender by their physical appearance, behavior etc. The only way to know a person’s gender is to ask them. There are numerous barriers in the transgender community. They are often denied medical care or “proper” medical care. They often encounter unprofessional and inhumane behavior by the professionals. Medicine is supposed to be gender neutral and that is what we are taught but in Nepal medicine is gendered. It’s not only medical field professionals but also patients who create a barrier sometimes. Most women prefer doctors who are women. We don’t see a lot of women in the profession as it is considered expensive and a time-consuming job for a woman.
Now there is a huge need of gender inclusiveness in Nepal’s medical field. Challenging political and social norms, addressing the social stereotypes that increase GBV through social protests, social media campaigns is the way to make a difference. The only way we are going to see a change is when we become the change we want to see in others. Nowadays we don’t need to depend on the mainstream media to voice our opinions. With new technology and new ideas, we can spread and empower the people about GBV. The first thing you need to do is educate yourself about the issue you are going to raise. Be it a man or a woman, we need to come together to fight the common enemy because your gender doesn’t define who you are but your action does.
Girls Out Loud is a group of teenagers where we discuss problems that affect the daily lives of adolescents and share ideas about making the world a better place. It’s a gender inclusive group initiated by girls of different backgrounds. After being a member from this, I have got a platform where I can discuss my views and interests as well as learn from others members like me. No matter what it is related to, education, health, and violence or any other, I can’t get enough information through this. It’s like a golden package for me to grow myself in a better way.