About This Story
We asked our online community of grassroots women leaders from 190 countries to submit their true stories about a time they took a stand on an issue they care about. This story is a selection of a few of the most powerful pieces.
Read all the inspiring submissions, and stay tuned for an announcement about next year's My Story contest.
My Story: Standing Up
Standing up to Fight Alcoholism
We were sitting together in a group: a few hundred women discussing the reasons for our poor reproductive health. A medical survey had revealed that our average hemoglobin count was 8 grams per deciliter, instead of the 12 grams that would have declared health.
As we were talking about various medical solutions, one woman stood up and said, “As long as men continue to drink and beat us and make us work like chattels, there is no way we can improve our health or our status!” Immediately, there was a roar of approval from the women. They unanimously agreed that the illegal liquor shops must be closed down.
No sooner was this decided than we all got up from the meeting and went to a bootlegger shop nearby and told the owner to close it down. When he refused, we searched his shop, seized his cache of liquor, and took it to the nearest police station and deposited it there.
Thus began a massive movement of Bhil tribal women against alcoholism and bootlegging. Under my leadership, we seized an illegal warehouse where the biggest bootlegger of the area stocked his liquor. Anticipating our action, he had come down with his armed goons to prevent us, but when he saw the strength and determination of us women he stepped aside. This was the first time in the history of Bhil tribal women that women stood up against the patriarchal pressures of society.
We were able to force state authorities to take action against the powerful bootleggers; however, they did not like this women’s rebellion. They slapped false criminal cases on a few of the women and myself. We weren’t having any of it! We went on a hunger strike in prison against this injustice and succeeded in freeing ourselves unconditionally.
We proved to ourselves and to our villages that women can stand up against injustice and oppression and improve our status in the face of deeply rooted patriarchy.