Meet some of 2018’s truly badass women who stood up and spoke out. The year witnessed the emergence of some of the most vociferous women who not just stood up for themselves but for others. From sports to politics, Bollywood to comedy, digital remained a strong medium for women to discuss important issues, develop consensus, mobilise others and take as well as initiate action.
Read on to know more about some of these badass women who rocked social media in 2018.
Noted author and columnist Natasha Badhwar is the co-editor of ‘Karwan e Mohabbat’ which is a journey of atonement, solidarity, conscience and justice. In 2018, the Karwan travelled to West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and many other states to spread the message of peace and safety for all the citizens. Her second book, Immortal for a Moment, has also just been released.
Manisha Koirala fought a painful battle with cancer and conquered it. She shared her life-transforming story in her memoir, Healed: How Cancer Gave Me A New Life which she wrote along with Neelam Kumar. Koirala has often spoken about how the journey has helped her explore and connect with her spiritual side.
Mithali Raj won our hearts by slamming the highest score by any Indian woman in T20s this year. Besides that, recently she grabbed the headlines after a nasty falling out with coach Ramesh Powar, after she was dropped from the semifinal against England, during the women’s World T20 in the Caribbean. Their spat became public and subsequently she took to Twitter to speak her mind and got the cricket bodies to rethink their approach.
Menaka Guruswamy, an advocate, activist, and Rhodes Scholar was the only woman in the all-male team who fought the battle against Section 377. Guruswamy’s concrete arguments in the Supreme Court proved a significant force compelling the Supreme Court to take down Section 377. Watch this episode on BOLD below.
It’s a historic, memorable judgement but we need to reflect and celebrate the judgement and be thoughtful about the future. You have a firm constitutional base to build on.” – Menaka Guruswamy to SheThePeople
Just four-and-a-half months into her role as SP of Jogulamba Gadwal district in Telangana, Rema Rajeshwari proved her worth by successfully tackling the issue of crimes due to fake WhatsApp forwards and social media rumours. She is also a champion of gender sensitivity in the police force and an inspiration for girls in Telangana. Rajeshwari is also the first female IPS officer from Munnar.
Read more about her journey right here.
The 19-year-old was thrust into the limelight in 2017 after she was at the receiving end of a nasty concerted trolling campaign, post a video where she spoke about how her father, who lost his life in the war with Pakistan. She said, her father was killed not by Pakistan but by the war, a subtle nuance that her detractors pounced upon. She has always striven to empower communities using digital. This year, she authored a book, a memoir, called Small Acts of Freedom which was published by Penguin Random House. It chronicles the stories of her female-led home and growing up without a father. She was also a speaker at the Harvard US India Initiative held in New Delhi in January.
Read more about her here.
Former JNU student leader Shehla Rashid chose to deactivate her Twitter account as the “toxicity and negativity” on Twitter had started affecting her psychologically. “After 8 yrs of using Twitter, I’m deactivating my account. I’ve tried engaging, I’ve tried blocking/reporting but the amount of toxicity & negativity that exists out here is insane. I can’t deal with such hate, lies and manipulation. Thanks to all of you who’ve been supportive,” she had said.
Swara Bhasker was trolled for her masturbation scene in the movie “Veere Di Wedding.” She, however, slammed her trolls in style. Swara was praised for making an attempt to remove the stigma around female sexuality in India and initiate conversations on topics hitherto considered taboo. In an open letter published online, she also called director Sanjay Leela Bhansali out for the glorification of sati and jauhar in his film, “Padmaavat.”
Click to read an earlier SheThePeople interview.
The Executive Director at the Asia Dalit Rights Forum and the current Manager of a programme seeking to strengthen Dalit Women’s Economic Rights across South Asia, Beena Pallical has been consistently using online platforms to elevate and empower people from the Dalit community and bringing their voices into the forefront.
Amrita Bhinder, a tax lawyer, recently forayed into active politics as the State Spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), Chandigarh a youth political organization of India that inspires young talented youth to serve the Nation. She often says, on Twitter, it is taking on both contrarian opinions and trolls with panache.
Rupa Subramanya is a Mumbai-based economist and co-author of Indianomix: Making Sense of Modern India. She has written a number of articles assessing Demonetisation and its impact on the economy. Rupa Subramanya called out Chef Atul Kochhar for an anti-Islamic tweet which resulted in him losing his contract for a restaurant he ran in the Middle East.
Champions of #MeTooIndia
The #MeTooIndia spread like a wildfire on social media with Bollywood actresses, journalists and thousands of women from different walks of life turning to online platforms to open up about workplace harassment. It all began when Tanushree Dutta accused Nana Patekar of sexual harassment on the sets of the film ‘Horn OK Please’ which happened almost a decade ago. This had a Domino effect, resulting in many others opening up about their #MeToo moment.
Vinta Nanda is a veteran writer-producer who accused actor Alok Nath of sexually violating her almost two decades ago. She said, “I have waited for this moment to come for 19 years,” she wrote in a long, heart-wrenching Facebook post, referring to the “predator in question” as “the actor par excellence who is known as the most ‘sanskaari’ (cultured) person in the film and television industry.”
Actor Saloni Chopra accused actor-filmmaker Sajid Khan of sexual harassment. Saloni, in a detailed post on Medium, described her horrific experiences. The incident, she wrote, happened in 2011 when she was interviewed by Khan for the position of an assistant director.
Singer Sona Mohapatra comic and writer Mahima Kukreja, journalists Anoo Bhuyan, Karishma Upadhyay, Avantika Mehta and Priya Ramani were some of the other people who opened up about their #MeToo moments.
Watch the below video for a fierce discussion with Bollywood’s outspoken personalities on the #MeToo issue.
Journalist and writer Sandhya Menon also called out prominent journalists for sexual harassment in the wake of the #MeToo wave. Independent journalist Rituparna Chatterjee was also a prominent #MeToo activist on Twitter. She created a handle @IndiaMeToo where she curates accounts of sexual harassment in the country. Mumbai-based lawyer Rutuja Shinde became one of the first lawyers to offer free legal representation to women who suffered sexual harassment in the workplace.
Also: A Look At Sportswomen Who Achieved Incredible Records In 2018