When it comes to addressing gender inequality, dialogue is vital. ‘We the Circle’ decided to start a conversation on the subject by holding an event We for She — The Myriad Facets of Womanhood, which took place over the weekend at British Council. Spearheaded by city girl Mehek Narula, the event was an eye-opener on the subject of gender equality and women’s empowerment. The event not just motivated people but also inspired them to do something.
Two of the three speakers were G.R. Reddy, father of Meghana Reddy, a gold medallist in rhythmic gymnastics. He urged the male audience members to not shy away from the feminist tag and egged them on to learn more about what true feminism is, and act accordingly. He also recounted the challenges that his daughter had to overcome in order to make it to the top.
Another effective speaker who didn’t mince her words was Tejaswini Madabhushi, representing the group Hyderabad for Feminism. She gave a brief overview about the topic from a historic perspective. She touched on Bhanwari Devi, the Dalit woman who was gang-raped by higher caste men who were angered by her attempts to prevent a child marriage. The pronouncement that the lower court judge had then given was that since she was a Dalit woman and higher caste men wouldn’t touch her, so they couldn’t possibly have raped her.
This case gave rise to the Vishakha Guidelines that deals with sexual harassment in the workplace. She also talked about how the fight for women in India focused on the suffragette movement and violence due to dowry, which continues to prevail in all sections of society. She also spoke of the Mathura custodial rape case, enlightening many of the participants.
The speakers at the event also shed light on the fact that gender equality must today be viewed not as equal rights only for women but also for persons across the LGBT spectrum.
Questions were posed and ideologies were challenged during the interactions between the speakers and the audience. One of the questions was about how a teenage boy should react to being called a sexist. The speaker replied, “A good start would be to ask the person which part they thought was sexist in your speech. Try to understand their point of view, challenge it and learn from it.”
After refreshments were served and enjoyed, it was time for some comic relief. Stand-up comedian Vivek Muralidharan was called on stage. He sent the audience into peals of laughter and thankfully, without sexist jokes. The theme of the evening was kept in mind as he joked about how when a person enters his grandfather’s room, every kind of ism — sexism, racism, casteism — will be present. One of the many jokes that evoked laughs was, “My grandfather couldn’t move much and had a problem with his voice, so he got a whistle, with which he calls my grandmother for help. But my grandmother is so accustomed to spending most of her time in the kitchen cooking that she responds to him only after three whistles!”
The event came to an end with an open mic, when the audience and speakers alike shared some hard-hitting poetry on the same topic, to really drive the point home....