At the Feminist Conference by SheThePeople.TV there were several discussions surrounding the inequalities faced by women and the queer community along with some very powerful and enlightening thoughts about how to limit these inequalities. One such speech that stood out and touched every person present in the auditorium was by Srishti Bakshi.
Srishti is a Champion for Change with the United Nations Empower Women Initiative. Bakshi travelled 3,800 km on foot in 260 days from Kanyakumari to Jammu and Kashmir in order to empower women in the remotest areas in India.
In Hong Kong, during a dinner table conversation, she was told that India seems very unsafe as there are many rapes, gang rapes and molestation in the country. To which Bakshi said, “I think my country has much more than this one label that we’re an unsafe country”. She recalled that reading about the Highway 91 rape case is what shook her and inspired her to voice her opinion and anger.
She set out on a journey on 15 September, 2017, to travel on foot from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, covering 25 – 30 km per day, reaching out to women in the remotest corners of India. During which she conducted workshops in order to empower and guide the women and girls in rural areas. She described her experience of visiting schools, colleges, institutions and even jails and conversing with people about gender equality.
“We are so scared of our own voice that we don’t want to let it out”.
She went out of her way and engaged with the audience in an activity which happens to be a theatre practice for clearing voice in order to demonstrate how difficult it is to speak up. In her words, “We are so scared of our own voice that we don’t want to let it out”.
Srishti is of the opinion that voice is a very powerful medium to have a defense mechanism around us to create an aura where people step back instead of stepping forward to violate our space. She confirmed her faith in India by saying, “After travelling 3,800 km, I think we have hope in our country. The youth in this nation is charged, they want change. The only thing is that there is some amount of action missing, participation missing”.
“After travelling 3,800 km, I think we have hope in our country. The youth in this nation is charged, they want change. The only thing is that there is some amount of action missing, participation missing”.
She appealed to the audience to stop depending on government and putting their own step forward in order to make India a better nation.
Follow all the conversation on Twitter on the #FeministConference¬†here
Karishma Jangid interned with SheThePeople for the Feminist Conference.