In India, men make up over 70% of internet users. That means that even on a social change platform like change.org, men’s voices, opinions and perspectives are most likely to be represented and amplified.
On the change.org platform in India, there has always been a robust number of campaigns and petitions tackling the issue of violence against women, particularly after the protests across the country in 2012. However our initial analysis showed that the majority were framed as a need to protect women from danger rather than to punish perpetrators or empower women through advancing legal and legislative rights or changing social attitudes.
At the start of 2017, only 23% of Change.org India’s monthly visitors identified as women. Our team wondered if there was a correlation between the low number of women using the platform and the trend of campaigns designed to protect women rather than propose solutions or advance their rights.
Our Learning question became: if we increased the number of women starting and supporting campaigns, will there be an increase in the diversity of topics and solutions addressed by those campaigns?
Predictably, the answer was yes. In the past 15 months, with concentrated support for women-led campaigns through the She Creates Change program, we’ve seen a significant increase in the impact of women-led campaigns and in the engagement of women on the platform overall. The percentage of women using the platform has increased by 69%.
We deliberately supported a far more diverse set of women’s rights campaigns in 2017, for example:
- Dropping the tax on Sanitary Napkins
- Fighting to #EndFGM in India
- Challenging the high rates of C-Sections in hospitals
Big campaigns which emerged throughout the year included women asking for gynecologists to protect the sexual health rights of unmarried women, while another significant trend came around promoting safety in schools.
Our most recent She Creates Change residential training program truly highlighted the diversity of issues women are passionate about tackling. Thirty women gathered together in Bangalore in South India, designing personal campaigns to address everything from adequate street lighting to ensure safe public transport to delivering lessons addressing sexual abuse in schools.
Our investment in amplifying women’s voices and perspectives in campaigns across India was long overdue. However this step change in just 18 months was made possible by the significant investment of the She Creates Change program.
She Creates Change is part of a three year project by the Change.org Foundation in India to dramatically increase the impact of women-led campaigns by supporting campaign champions, building campaigner communities and amplifying these campaigns to the media and decision-makers. This blog is part of our She Creates Change series, sharing our learnings and reflections throughout the project.