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It was a packed house at the first edition of the Pune leg of the Women Writers Fest organised by SheThePeople.tv on Friday, August 18. The roomful of women comprised women from every segment of life, not just authors, bloggers, writers and aspiring authors, but encompassed homemakers, professionals, professors (including one who had come all the way from Rewa, Madhya Pradesh) and the cynosure of all eyes, a very well behaved five month old.
The morning kicked off with a workshop on how to blog to the right audience, with noted bloggers Protima Tiwary, Reema Sathe, Aashna Bhagwani on the panel, moderated by Richa Singh of Blogchatter. The discussion had some amazing insights into how it is vital to keep the blogging niche and the need to write to an audience. Says Richa Singh, “Women Writers Fest was a great place to connect with like minded city folks over conversations around writing, books and of course, inspiration of all kinds. It was quite heartwarming to see that so many from the crowd were forming plans of their own concerning blogging, writing –motivated by the day’s talks.”
The second panel of the day was steered by Sudha Menon, author and was a discussion on the Legacy We Leave For Our daughters with Anu Aga of Thermax and Rashmi Shukla, the commissioner of police, Pune. Soft spoken but feisty, Anu Aga was vocal about the double standards of patriarchy we have internalised. “Why do we allow our boys to play the field until they are married and expect our daughters to remain virgins till their wedding night?” she asked. “We need to drop this outdated notion of virginity.” Rashmi Shukla spoke about how women might not realise the little things that put them at risk of being victims of sexual attacks. “Leaving your hair open gives the attacker a chance to grab you by the hair, wearing very high heels makes it difficult for you to run from a potentially dangerous situation.
The panel discussion that followed, What it takes to run a magazine in the digital age, moderated by Archana Pai Kulkarni with Corina B Manuel, Sunanda Mehta and Sucharita Dutta Asane, was a high voltage discussion on how shortening attention spans have affected reading and the consumption of information, and how the benefits of digitalisation have even impacted the editorial process in terms of making it quicker to incorporate changes. Says Archana, “Loved the electric give and take of ideas and opinions, the opening of new pathways for aspiring writers, the insights into the shaping of empowered women, the valuable author tips and the creation of this wonderful platform for creative minds. Kudos!” Says Sucharita Dutta Asane, “The line-up for the panel discussions was thought through very well and the ideas relevant and topical. As for the Editors Speak panel we wish we had enough time for a complete discussion. We had to cut it short and feedback from those who were there was that they felt disappointed with that.”
The post lunch session on How to write your own novel, with Garima Gupta and Gouri Dange, and moderated by Vandana Saxena saw nuggets of information which were welcomed by the aspiring authors in the crowd. Garima Gupta spoke of the need to not try to be everything to everyone in one’s writing or one would end up being nothing to anyone. Gouri Dange stressed on the need tofinetune a 60 word pitch for one’s book that would go on the manuscript proposal to the publishers. It is this 60 word pitch that could be the turning point, she added and one had to work on it with great care. Says Vandana Saxena, “Chatting with the attendees, everyone has an untold story inside of them that is making them restless. For many, until the fest, they had no idea how to give their story a voice, or indeed the confidence to do so. The positivity, openness and sharing in the panels ignited a light within many of the attendees, that will continue to glow and help let their words flow.” Her top takeaways, “Start writing – find the time and don’t wait for it to be perfect. There will be struggles. It’s natural and you will waver between loving and hating your work. Don’t worry. Don’t consider even talking to publishers until you have your first draft, a 70 word summary and a good bio which clearly shows why you have the experience to write this book.”
According to Melanie Lobo who moderated the session on Writers versus Authors, with panellists Snehal Pradhan, Shraddha Satav and Saaz Agarwal, “Interesting and varied points of view emerged from all. It was clear that being a ‘writer’ meant more to each of us. The passion we have for writing shone through!”
The discussion on Why we need strong female characters in literature with authors Sujata Sabnis, Tanusree Podder and Kavita Kane, moderated by Tara Khandelwal, saw interesting debate on how mythological female characters get reinterpreted with the contemporary gaze. Says author Kavita Kane, “A session always gets interesting when there is more debate than discussion. And why we need strong female characters was one!”
Author Yamini P Bhalerao who attended the event, stated, “I had an amazing time at the fest. It was a great opportunity for those who wanted to write and get, published and those who wanted to learn the nitty gritties of blogging. For me, the session with Anu Aga and Rashmi Shukla was awe inspiring. Kudos to the She the people tv team for providing such an interactive platform for writers in Pune. Looking forward to more such events.”
The day ended with a high octane Open Mic curated by Pune Poetry Slam and Priyanka Menon, seeing some rousing poetry on feminist issues being recited to an appreciative audience.
This #IndependenceDay we celebrate women who are unstoppable. Nothing breaks their goals or their spirit. Everyday struggles give hope, and guts show the way. Celebrating Real women, Real stories with real women.
In this spectacular video, meet a woman who ran a marathon after her kidney transplant. A young girl who is training in archery. A powerful constable who has immense belief in herself and respect for her job. In these amazing everyday stories, we capture women who are driven, hungry for more and finding ways to achieve their goals with glory.
A teacher, a single mom who raised not just children but a whole institution of schools. A woman who practises what she preaches and educates India. Get inspired by these most wonderful stories.
Ivanka Trump At The GES 2017 : Daughter and advisor of US President Donald Trump, is all set to lead US delegation for its eighth edition of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) on November 28, stated to be held in Hyderabad in November. The GES 2016 was held in California.
The global event is likely to witness Prime Minister Narendra Modi joining the summit room with Ivanka as per some reports. According to The Indian Express, when Modi visited the President in Washington in June, he had approached Ivanka for the GES invitation.
“Recognising the importance of fostering an enabling environment for innovation and empowering entrepreneurs, the United States welcomes India’s hosting of the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit ” the statement read.
Following the announcement of this big joint venture all the way to India, at the White House Rose Garden joint press statement, Trump had confirmed, “And I believe she has accepted,” happily adding that Ivanka would definitely be a part of the mega event.
Thank you, Prime Minister Modi, for inviting me to lead the U.S. delegation to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India this fall. pic.twitter.com/ZNwmTTnGYD
For the first time ever, the GES summit is being held in India and the government is doing every bit possible to make it a huge hit internationally by appointing NITI Aayog as the organizer of the event, and in coordination with Ministry of External Affairs and Andhra Pradesh government, source said.
Since the country has already alarmed the issue of H1B visas, it would be an appropriate time for this joint collaboration to lead us to a greater understanding between the two countries.
The India-US joint statement in June stated, “Applauding the entrepreneurship and innovation of Indians and Indian-Americans that have directly benefitted both nations, President Trump welcomed India’s formal entry into the Expedited Traveler Initiative (global entry programme) in order to facilitate closer business and educational ties between the citizens of India and the United States.”
The event’s crucial aim is to provide a platform for aspiring entrepreneurs and investors from around the world, to come and join together and showcasing a flow of opportunities for greater startup future ahead.
The national capital witnessed the launch of the Online Safety Summit for Women by SheThePeople.TV. The summit got together key voices to discuss solutions of the increased online breaches and sexual harassment of women through online portals. Representatives of all social networks were present and promised to make Internet Safer For Women. They focussed on the new initiatives in this direction along with the new products they are launching to check harassment online.
As women who thrive in the digital world, this effort was to bring together to discuss and debate what will make the internet a more equal space. Why many women still fear the internet. Just how can we make it safer, not just as a place to communicate and network, but grow, learn, transact and more.
The summit started with the panel discussion titled “The Social Safety Network” with panelists from Twitter, Facebook and Google. This session threw light on how popular consumer platforms like FB, Twitter, and Google are fixing the safety challenges faced by a country like India.
“The internet is the invisible force driving advancement for women in India. It opens up economic opportunities, helps with education and gives women a voice. We want to help women in India capitalize on this opportunity and help keep them safe while doing so,” Ankhi Das, Public Policy Director, Facebook -India, South & Central Asia said.
What are the ways in which women can be given a voice? “In the last couple of months, we have been rolling out product updates. We have some new enforcement mechanisms in place too. What happens if we think a tweet has violated twitter rules, we may ask them to delete that tweet before we can resume access to their account. We are finding some improvement. This tells the user why they went wrong and where they went wrong,” says Mahima Kaul, Public Policy Head of Twitter India.
Reporting remains a big part of the effort of enforcement of behaviour online. “When somebody reports, it’s important to understand local language and cultural contexts as well,” says Sunita Mohanty of Google India. “With the government we also partner for law enforcement trainings.”
Ankhi Das added, “We have policies which prohibit bullying, impersonation, harassment and hate speech; products which are designed to help prevent abuse and help those in need; and we work with a variety of non-profits to deliver safety educations programs across the country. We believe that by working together, through organizations like SheThePeople, we can have a greater impact on helping women in India stay safe online.”
Shaili Chopra, Founder, SheThePeople.TV said, “All stakeholders needed to get together and explore a consolidated approach for the safety of women from the trolls, eve teasing, stalking and other crimes aimed at them at online portals. It is a scaled effort to bring to light the experiences, lessons of varied organizations and make the women better prepared for the dangers lie hidden in the future of the online world.”
She was james bond in khadi. She was India’s first political supremo. Indira’s politics is what has shaped India’s current wave of leadership style says author and journalist Sagarika Ghose. In her book, Indira Gandhi: India’s most powerful Prime Minister she presents a nuanced portrait of the first woman Prime Minister of our country.
Sagarika articulates that Indira was the first political leader to carve a leadership style that put herself in the centre. “Indira Gandhi started dynasty rule! Original Bahubali of politics,” she says in conversation with Shaili Chopra at the latest edition of SheThePeople Bookclub held at SodaBottleOpenerWala in Gurgaon.
In a cosy and focused conversation with fellow book lovers, Sagarika regaled the audience with details of Indira’s sarees, her love for food, the timid behind the terror.
Her insights about Mrs Gandhi’s childhood, which shaped her personality, are particularly intriguing. The book not only talks about the supremo of politics but also about Indira the woman in flesh-and-blood. Indira Gandhi was a single female child in her family and lived with a life-long complex about being a woman, this made her relationship with gender ambiguous. She had a kind of toughness which very few politicians have.
Indira Gandhi started dynasty rule! Original Bahubali of politics.
Sagarika says, “There was a paradox in her personality. She was both a man and a woman, both politician and mother, who loved beauty but created ugliness in politics.”
She goes on to call her the first Dabangg or the Bahubali neta of Indian politics. Who always wanted her family to keep ruling. She refers to Indra Gandhi’s tenure as a leader as ‘Indirafication of Indian politics’. The author believes Indira Gandhi had a kind of grit and toughness which very few politicians today would have.
Constitutional democracy was not her game.
Talking about her legacy, Sagarika said, “Her legacy is quite controversial. She was not a Democrat. Constitutional democracy was not her game. Indira Gandhi ruled with an iron hand, a ruthless politician, who was determined to gain power for herself. She was someone who was determined that India would remain within the Nehru-Gandhi family. She had no doubts about that her family will rule India.”
Sagarika draws a parallel between erstwhile Indira’s Government and the present day led by Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi’s style of politics.
She says, “There is a lot of similarity between Narendra Modi and Indira Gandhi. Narendra Modi is Indira Gandhi’s greatest Bhakt. He deserves to be the true heir in terms of being supreme in the party, supreme in the government, one-man show, collision with the media, collision with the judiciary.”
“The BJP Government today doesn’t say a single word against Indira Gandhi. She is the heroine of Bangladesh war and an iron leader. That’s a Dabang leadership and she embodies all of that.”
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When one thinks about online safety for women, the primary stakeholders in the conversation obviously involve social networks and search engines which give individuals a platform to express their views in the first place. Facebook, Twitter and Google are also places where a huge spew of hate and aggression is hurled at women — from critiquing the clothes of a cricketer’s wife to body shaming sportswomen, actresses, and just about any woman out there — the trolls will not stop at anything. So how are social media networks stepping up and giving women the tools to empower themselves?
At the first session of the Online Safety Summit, The Social Safety Network, spokesperson from Facebook stressed that it is a mission-driven company which has numerous policies and community standards in place to combat bullying and any kind of harassment.
“The internet is the invisible force driving advancement for women in India. It opens up economic opportunities, helps with education and gives women a voice,” says Ankhi Das, Public Policy Director, Facebook -India, South & Central Asia – Facebook. “We want to help women in India capitalize on this opportunity and help keep them safe while doing so. We have policies which prohibit bullying, impersonation, harassment and hate speech; products which are designed to help prevent abuse and help those in need; and we work with a variety of non-profits to deliver safety educations programs across the country. We believe that by working together, through organizations like SheThePeople, we can have a greater impact on helping women in India stay safe online.”
Programmes To Spread Awareness
“Every piece of content on Facebook is reportable and we have robust mechanisms and local stakeholders in place to help that happen. Our biggest challenge is that not many people know about our safety regulations, which is why we conduct extensive outreach programmes to spread the awareness.”
Sunita Mohanty of Google agreed with Das and stated that education and empowerment is key to the company. And of course, global policies need to be localised (or as she says, glocalised) so that in context, it is faster to address a possible report on the search engine.
Catching Them Young
“When it comes to Internet, we at Google, believe in starting young. We have safety workshops for students in schools. We recently conducted a programme called Internet Saathi, which reached out to 10 million rural women in 100,000 villages. So, we are working with the government and Supreme Court to ensure safety for children on the internet which obviously percolates to women,” said Mohanty.
The word trolling is perhaps even more amplified on Twitter, where behind the garb of anonymity, one might be more likely to get away with verbally abusing someone. Mahima Kaul from Twitter said that the platform is open and public so that anyone can seek out information based on their interests and needless to say, a conversation always has two sides.
“This can lead to abuse and harassment but it is important to keep the debate civil, irrespective of how opposing two views may be. We are all about enabling the victim and we also constantly strive to come up with policies which doesn’t necessarily sanitise the platform. Because of this, we don’t take down any content which doesn’t violate Twitter rules.”
Facebook, Twitter and Google aspire to keep listening to their users and keep safety parameters in place. Ankhi Das concluded by saying that women in general need to speak more and fight for their rights
“There needs to be changes in the discourse. Women should be able to say whatever they want and we, as organisations, will continue our commitment to support them by making the internet a safer space to interact and engage.”