New Delhi: An innovative and evocative steel installation of a safety pin in Patna is mainstreaming the conversation about dignified healthcare for women. The first of its kind in the city, the installation symbolises the one million voices that have come together for women's health. The giant safety pin placed permanently at Patna's Ramnagri Mod Chowk is the first installation of its kind in India to stand for dignified healthcare.
The initiative titled 'Khud Se Pooche' underscores the importance of affordable, accessible, and judgment-free healthcare with the safety pin, symbolizing a code of dignity, along with creating a safe space for women. #PassThePin, a simple act of solidarity and support has now reached over 71 million people across the country. Over 20,000+ physical pins have been collected, and 10,000+ women have shared their stories on social media.
"Dignity in any field is very important. Every woman has the right to access healthcare with dignity. We are glad to support the symbol of dignified healthcare for women and appreciate the beautiful representation of dignity in the city of Patna," says Sheela Irani, Additional Municipal Commissioner, City of Patna.
"To celebrate the collective voices of the women associated with the campaign and to make Patna the first city where women's dignified healthcare is made a priority, we wanted to create a physical structure that stays in the city forever. The safety pin installation stands as a powerful reminder for everyone in the city... to continue the work towards improving the conditions and situation for all women," adds Samya Ghosh, Creative Lead, Khud Se Pooche.
"I see the safety pin as a symbol that connects and inspires action for solutions. During our campaign, we heard about many experiences with healthcare services, the judgemental behaviour of doctors, discrimination, and issues related to pregnancy and abortion. This showed us that there is a huge gap in healthcare services in Bihar for women. And this pin somewhere works and fills that gap," says Priyaswara Bharti, Ashoka Changemaker Fellow, and 'Khud Se Pooche' Leader.
The Khud Se Pooche movement reflects and acknowledges the diverse experiences that women have while accessing health services, gives space to varied feminine perspectives, and makes women and young girls feel heard, validated, and respected.
One such woman is Rukhsana Parveen who says, "As an unmarried girl, when I missed my period for three months and visited the doctor, I was judged and offered a pregnancy test. I felt very ashamed and embarrassed and went back home without any information or medication that could have helped me. This is what happens to so many women who are denied requisite respect and medical guidance and feel deterred from seeking help."
The movement has garnered support from many celebrities as well including actor Manoj Bajpayee and Amrita Puri, and women content creators such as Dr. Trinetra, Oolfat, Astuti Anand, artist groups such as Princess Pea, La Pintura, BihArt, women-led groups such as Bihar Youth for Child Rights, Sakhi, Gaurav Grameen Mahila Vikas Manch, Center for Social Equity and Inclusion, Patna's colleges, universities, and health institutions such as IGIMS, AIIMS Patna, among others.