This 12 page brief lays out lessons learned from CARE's learning intiative on Engaging Men and Boys.
In early 2010, with an infant in her arms, another on the way, and a heavy load of daily household chores, Meeta quickly grew weak and ill with exhaustion. But Ramkishore, her husband, did not help her with the chores.
In Madhopur, India, where they live, household tasks are deemed “woman’s work.” Men seldom lend a hand around the house and often taunt other men who do.
A social worker in the village noticed how weak and tired Meeta looked and invited her and Ramkishore to attend one of CARE’s maternal health meetings.
The gatherings foster an atmosphere of openness, helping to improve the health and wellness of people in the village through communication, education, family planning and the promotion of marital harmony.
Ramkishore’s eyes were opened during these maternal health meetings. He didn’t realize he was placing a burden on Meeta by not helping with the chores or taking care of their daughter. Once he understood what Meeta was going through, he enthusiastically committed himself to helping her.
Ramkishore was so moved by the profound and positive transformation in his home, that he began sharing his knowledge with other men in the village, organizing theater performances and film screenings to foster discussions of social issues. Understanding his wife’s needs turned him into an activist for the equality and well-being of all women.
Meeta gave birth to a healthy baby boy. She says she plans to use the family planning opportunities presented to her by CARE to ensure that any future pregnancy will occur at a time of her choosing.
Ramkishore fully supports this choice and vows to continue speaking to men in the community about the importance of treating their wives with kindness, dignity and respect.