A TV show gives an empowering call for women’s choice through ‘Aurat Ki Marzi’
By putting out an alternate narrative with Aurat ki Marzi (a woman’s consent or choice), popular television show Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon is highlighting the importance of women’s right to decisions on family planning and encouraging conversations between couples. The show Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon is an initiative by the Population Foundation of India (PFI) to increase awareness and change behaviours among people on family planning and women’s empowerment issues.
Government data shows that three out of eight Indian men believe that contraception is a woman’s responsibility. The burden of family planning falls on women; and with regressive social norms prevalent in society, women often find that they are not in control of fertility decisions. A shift in attitude within the family and society will give equal importance to women’s choice in fertility decisions – whether, when and how many children to have. The concept of “Aurat ki Marzi” contributes to the larger discourse of a woman’s choice and dignity, and also empowers them to be able to take decisions about their lives.
In the show, for instance, Aurat ki Marzi has been used to promote the use of injectable contraceptives and the freedom it provides women, as each dose protects them from unwanted pregnancies for three months. ‘Aurat ki Marzi ka Din’ has also been used previously to mark a day when women are free from domestic chores and do what they enjoy while men take care of the house and children. Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director, PFI says, “It is only when women are healthy and empowered that a society can be healthy. Popularising Aurat ki Marzi as a concept allows us to start a crucial conversation on women’s choice and consent – not only limited to family planning, but also about other aspects such as education, work and household decisions.”
Apart from the television programme that follows the entertainment education approach, the show also has extensions on an Interactive Voice Response System, community radio, digital media and on-ground outreach.
Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon revolves around the inspiring journey of Dr. Sneha Mathur, a young doctor, who leaves behind her lucrative career in Mumbai and decides to work in her village. The show has proven to be one of the flagship programmes on the national broadcaster with several repeat telecasts, dubbed and telecast in 13 Indian languages and aired on 216 AIR stations across the country. Season 3 of the show has been produced with support from REC Foundation and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.