What does it take to challenge an age-old belief that has negatively impacted the lives of scores of child-bearing women? According to Ahmedabad Alumna Aditi Upadhyay, BCom, Class of 2013, Amrut Mody School of Management, and Assistant Professor Pallavi Vyas, Amrut Mody School of Management, maybe it is just creating enough and effective awareness about the truth that can do the trick.
The faculty-alumna duo has recently received a research grant from the prestigious Abdul Latif Jameel-Poverty Action Lab founded at the Economics department of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (J-PAL MIT). Aditi and Professor Vyas will study the impact of educating people about X&Y chromosomes in determining the gender of the child through education and entertainment - edutainment.
What makes it special for us is that Aditi has had a long association with Ahmedabad University at multiple levels. Having completed her BCom from the University, majoring in Accountancy and Management, she progressed towards an MA in Public Policy and Governance at Azim Premji University, Bangalore. Post her Masters, she returned to Ahmedabad University as a Teaching Assistant later moving on to be a visiting/adjunct faculty for Micro Economics. She has completed a two-year Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship, initiated by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore.
Striving to bring about a radical change in the mindset of the community through her research, Aditi will be using short entertaining and educative videos to make her survey respondents aware of the X&Y chromosomes which determine the sex of a child. Elaborating on her research grant, she shares, “Across India’s socio-economic fabric, for countless years, many women who haven’t given birth to a male child have been subjected to mental and physical abuse. This abuse varies from shaming to abandonment, even leading to death.”
It is these age-old beliefs that Aditi along with Professor Vyas intends to challenge and observe, and hopefully, change. “The social context is of the prevalent son preference and how women have wrongly been ascribed the responsibility of the sex of the child. Our goal is to observe the effect of our edutainment awareness on women's agency and on domestic violence at the household level,” she says, signing off.