Exploring Proactive Solutions to Culturally Sanctioned Violence and Discrimination Against Women and Girls in Tamil Nādu, India

by Kavitha Israel Jeyakaran
October 27th, 2022

This project’s focus was to explore proactive solutions to address culturally endorsed mindsets and attitudes that sanction violence and discrimination against women and girls in Tamil Nādu, India. To study the patterns and subsequent impact of culturally endorsed attitudes and mindsets on the well-being of women and girls in Tamil Nadu, 18 participants for the study were chosen to represent 2 main demographics. These participants included 6 girls between 18 and 25 years from underprivileged communities who have been through rehabilitative programs and 12 women between 26 and 55 years from empowered backgrounds with significant roles in nonprofit, governmental, and corporate professional spaces. The reflective analysis through one-on-one interviews and focus groups revealed that culturally endorsed mindsets and attitudes exist across varying demographics impacting the safety and well-being of women and girls in significant ways. The transformational strategies recommended include population-level sensitization on culture change, prioritization of prevention through advocacy and awareness, and enhancement of existing interventions with added components on culture change. The study identifies and proposes the training of change agents across different cross sections of society who have the power, privilege, and access to influence transformational change in toxic cultural beliefs and practices without alienating people from positive aspects of their culture. Biblical perspective on equality undergirds the transformational solutions proposed where women and girls are seen as created in the “image of God.” Therefore, bringing transformational change would be to explore ways to restore to them their God-given dignity, worth, and personhood.