Feminism in India (review of India chapter in Vol. 2 of Brave: Young Women’s Global Revolution

“Women in India” Review (Chapter in Volume 2 of Brave: Young Women’s Global Revolution

By

Anandita Pan

PhD Student,

Department of Humanities and Social Sciences,

Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur,

India

 

 

The chapter, “Women in India”, by Dr. Gayle Kimball, provides a broad spectrum of social, economic and political situations that affect the women in India. One of the greatest merits of this study is the author’s recognition of geographical (urban and rural) and structural (gender, caste, class, etc.) specificities that affect different groups of women in India differently. Acknowledgement of difference of women helps remove any universalizing tendencies and provides better scope to equip ourselves with solutions vis-à-vis the unique situation that different women face in India.

One very interesting observation that comes out of this study is the general discomfort with the word ‘feminism’ by women in India. Ascribed narrowly to the Western counterpart, ‘feminism’ has unfortunately, and very wrongly so, has come to be equated to ‘man hate’. Owing to the exclusive participation of women in the West’s feminist liberalist movement, the sentiment still prevails that it is a movement ‘for women, and by women’ and to replace ‘men with women’. Feminism’s aim is not to replace one oppressive system, patriarchy, with another, matriarchy. Instead, feminism understands that patriarchy is an oppressive system that functions by prescribing gender roles to everyone. This is why Nivedita Menon, in her seminal work Seeing Like a Feminist, defines patriarchy as a system where few older men in power control women, younger men, and people of non-heteronormative sexualities. To put it crudely, feminism is a movement aimed for establishing equality among sexes. In fact, in India, feminism began with men like Raja Rammohan Roy and Vidyasagar who understood traditions such as sati (widow immolation), child marriage, and imposed widowhood, as detrimental to the entire society and sought to eradicate them.

Dr. Kimball’s work becomes important in understanding these nuances of gender in contemporary India and making us realize that in order to opt for equality we all need to fight together, irrespective of the sexes we belong to.

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11-year-old Australian activist

9-17 Women in the World reports that public schools in the state of Western Australia, which have long limited girls’ uniforms to dresses and skirts, will now give female students the option to wear pants or shorts. The change comes, in part, due to the efforts of an 11-year-old girl named Sofia Myhre, who sent a letter of complaint to the state’s education minister. “I really love kicking the footy, netball and doing handstands at recess and lunch,” Sofia wrote. “It is annoying doing these things in a skirt.” The new dress code will only apply to public schools, but several private institutions are reportedly planning to follow suit.

https://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2017/09/12/public-schools-in-western-australia-will-amend-dress-code-to-allow-pants-for-girls/

Song lyrics by Nattali Rize Speak for her Generation’s Issue

The Lyrics for Generations Will Rize by Nattali Rize feat. Notis & Kabaka Pyramid have been translated into 2 languages

You wont see us on the TV, you wont read it in the news feed. but the time it come, Change keeps beating like a Drum. Cause The People have the Power, They keep Waking by the hour.And the Youth them see so they’re breaking Free from your mental slavery. Generations will Rize, Governments they will fall, We’re the only ones who will carry us through it all, If the words they are clear and the actions are strong, Oh my People We can’t go wrong… so hold on. hold on. hold on. hold on. Staring down their lie of democracy will you fight on your feet or live pon ur knees…? This is not the way that life’s supposed to be I’m callin’, callin’ yeah. These generations are making that change, they’ve learnt your system now they’re gonna rage, better take care and babylon you be aware, this a warnin’ warnin’ yeah. Generations will Rize, Governments they will fall, We’re the only ones who will carry us through it all, If the words they are clear and the actions are strong, Oh my People We can’t go wrong… so hold on. hold on. hold on. hold on. It’s just a drop inna di ocean of revolution, every ripple felt by the younger generation. Just Rize and take your stand where you belong cause it’s awakening, replacing them false religions. Truth it spread like wild fyah in di streets, any thing less than equal rights get delete cause higher consciousness we seek, open up your heart and let that inner voice speak. In the midst of these crazy times we’re gonna find our place, if we open up our hearts and let love lead the way. To the world that we want to see, we nah have no place for dem capitalism and dem economy. So open up your heart and let Love lead the way again.

https://www.musixmatch.com/lyrics/Nattali-Rize-Notis-feat-Kabaka-Pyramid/Generations-Will-Rize

Regional Difference in Spiritual Attitudes of SpeakOut Youth

Some regional differences surface in SpeakOut respondents’ statements about their life purposes. Rural Chinese youth value service to the motherland and to family: Asian students value getting into a good university: Muslim students value following the principles of their religion and spreading it to others: and African youth place high value on their religion and on having children. Mother of George (2013) portrays this African emphasis on giving birth. The film is about Nigerians living in New York City and the problems created when, a year and a half into marriage, the bride has not gotten pregnant. Reginald, a young Nigerian who gathered book responses for me, explained in an email,

Africans are the most religious, with 67% seeking their purpose in God/Allah, followed by Central and South America (47%) and the Middle East (46%). Western respondents are least likely to know their life purpose—56% in Western Europe and Australia and 20% in North America don’t know. The most altruistic, concerning with doing good deeds, are in India (71%), North America (59%), Eastern Europe (57%), and Central Asia (53%). The most altruistic with a focus on helping family are East Asia (36%), Central Asia (17%), and India (12%). The least altruistic in that they responded to the first question about what you would ask the wisest person by asking about their personal success are Central and South America (37%), followed by 35% in Africa, and 34% in Central Asia and India (gender differences aren’t significant). The most desirous of knowing the meaning of life are in Eastern Europe and Russia (42%), Western Europe and Australia (38%), and North America (37%). Interest in what happens after death is highest in Africa (27%) and Western Europe (19%). Regional differences are more significant than gender or age group.

 

Gazan young women tell what life is like there

Much suffering happens in the Gaza Strip with the third highest poverty rate in the Arab world, after Sudan and Yemen, with high unemployment and a decade-long Israeli blocade. Gazan young women tell what life is like in a place where 80% of the people live below the poverty line under the seige.[i]

[i] Ramzy Baroud, “Three Years After the War: Gaza Youth Speak Out,” TeleSUR, September 5, 2017.

https://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Three-Years-After-the-War-Gaza-Youth-Speak-Out-20170905-