Journey of Steps

Steps Towards Development (Steps) was established inspired by the belief that the prevalent gender inequalities in this country could only be addressed through working together. That initiative led to the establishment of Steps. It was officially registered as a non-political, not for profit, non-government voluntary organization in 1994.  When Steps started its journey in 1993, initiated by a group of individuals motivated by the spirit of volunteerism, Steps realized that men and women do not get equal opportunities and benefits in the family, society, institutions and state. As a result, they cannot act as equal partner in development process and personal life. As a consequence women have less dignity, less participation in decision-making process and cannot practice their rights in personal/private and public life.

Steps found that institutions of different sectors were not aware and sensitive about gender equality in its services and initiatives. For that reason, Steps started to work to sensitize human resources on gender and inclusive approach based on rights and good governance perspectives. Before developing capacity building strategy of any institution/organization, Steps would conduct study and assessment to identify the gaps and supportive existing practice related with gender conducive environment to suggest required inputs for improvement in this regard. Steps produced a number of need-based reader-friendly print and AV materials for bringing change in people’s mindset. Side by side, Steps carried out campaign, advocacy, promoted volunteerism, and activism as a way of bringing social change.

Steps also found that social identity of women is determined by the patriarchy through socialization process based on their biological identity; early marriage and polygamy are deep-rooted social problems; right to control over own body, choice, opinion and decision are not asserted. In the same manner, sexual expression and behavior is determined by the social norms, values and culture. In addition, these issues and concerns are not adequately considered in the policies and implementation strategies. All these factors lead to non-recognition of women’s contributions – a significant barrier to balanced effect on women’s life to take decision. So, Steps came to set up its mission and vision to change the society in a way that would ensure equal opportunities for all regardless of gender, race, religion or color. The situation has not changed much over the years. There are still a lot of work to do.