The Unmute Files is a collective committed to cultivating body acceptance, body liberation and bodily empowerment. We believe that in many ways discrimination, social inequality, and injustice are manifestations of our inability to make peace with the body, our own and others. Through information dissemination, highlighting peoples body journeys and community building, The Unmute files hopes to foster radical body acceptance which translates into action towards a more equitable, and compassionate world.
Vision for Change
We hope to create conversation and safe spaces for radical body acceptance where young women, men and non- binary people get a chance to process and heal shame and trauma surrounding their bodies, unpack and interrogate their beliefs and biases about their bodies and other people’s bodies , the structures of body oppression and privilege we live in and move closer to body liberation and bodily autonomy.
It is estimated that adolescents constitute about one fifth of India’s population. There are almost 200 million adolescents in India and it is estimated that this age group will grow to over 214 million by 2020. Adolescent girls alone, between 11–18 years, constitute 16.75 percent of the female population (Approx. 8.32 crore) in India. Young women and adolescent girls, particularly lack access to crucial information and services that still exist despite efforts to improve this situation through government schemes and programmes. According to UNICEF’s State of World’s Children Report in India, only 33% of females (15-24) in urban areas have comprehensive knowledge on their bodies. The inconsistency and inaccuracy of information, as well as the lack of spaces to discuss their varied experiences and leaves young women and girls with extremely limited spaces where they can clarify doubts, support one another, accept their bodies and understand and accept other people’s bodies to break the cycles and culture of structural discrimination and stigma, which in turn influences norms, behaviors and attitudes within communities.
An adolescent girl that faces such a lack of information and space to understand her body. Is more at risk of facing violence, abuse and shame. In Indian society the silence that surrounds women’s bodies is extremely harmful and jarring. We feel that even though we have multiple organizations that work on building access to information around our bodies in schools we lack spaces where these conversations can happen without judgment and are led with a focus on compassion and not only comprehension. We hope to solve this problem.
Founder : Ameira Sikand
Ameira Sikand is an independent consultant, researcher and feminist changemaker who has been working to advance the rights of young people from marginalized contexts in India, developing capacities in Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL), training and facilitation and resource mobilization for the past 10 years.
Ameira was the Senior Business Development Manager at ketto.org and worked with over 500 civil society organizations to build and implement resource mobilization strategies using new age technologies. Prior to Ketto, she worked as Programme Manager in the Senior Management team at The YP Foundation for 5 years, designing programmes and policies in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights, education and life-skills to advance the leadership of adolescents and young people. She is the founder of 'The Unmute Files' which is a collective committed to cultivating body acceptance, body liberation and bodily empowerment amongst adolescents and young people across India, through information dissemination, highlighting young people’s body journeys and creating safe spaces for community building. Through her work at the unmute files she facilitates workshops in schools, colleges, with CSO’s and corporates.
Ameira works with startups, women's funds, grassroots groups and civil society organizations on designing and strengthening their MEL systems, focusing on developing a theory of change and supporting monitoring tools and evaluation frameworks. She also helps produce and conceptualize podcasts for social impact. She has worked with diverse stakeholders such as Tewa Women’s fund, The Rights collective, Hear My Voice Women’s Network, Ford foundation, Resurj, UNESCO, Global Fund For Women, Directorate of Education, Government of Delhi. Ameira holds a Master of Business Administration degree from University of Stirling, Scotland and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree from Delhi University.
She is based in New Delhi
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