#Issues

In No Textbook Does It Say That Only Men Can Be Reporters

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There is a huge divide between the way global technology pundits boast about the technology revolution and the way in which women and marginalized communities at the grass root level experience it. While, technology and the internet are more accessible today women still face barriers such as the patriarchy, mistrust in technology and how to navigate these systems. With that being said some initiatives such as Google Saathi and Grahm Vaani are making the technology and the internet more accessible to women and thereby increasing their connectivity and helping them become entrepreneurs.

SheThePeople.TV ‘s second Feminist Conference the final panel delved into the state Women at the Grassroot level in India and how technology is changing the way in which they interact with the world.

Panelists, Dalit rights activist, Beena Pallical, communication professional, Svati Chakravarty Bhatkal, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Khabar Lahariya – the first newspaper in Bundelkhand local dialect, Meera Jatav and moderator spoken word poet, Aranya Johar discussed whether technology has penetrated rural India to create more spaces for women and their expression.

Meera Jatav began by telling us about her experiences starting off her career in reporting. “Women solve their challenges differently, we have to realize, young girls are often put in inferior schooling systems to their male counterparts. Their brothers get better opportunities and even more resources in the home”. So, it wasn’t a surprise when she was questioned about why she wanted to be a reporter for her area she was dissuaded immensely, she persisted and got her registration certificate. She tells us that she responded to the men in authority saying, “women are equal to men, in no textbook does it say that only men can be reporters”.

Women are equal to men, in no textbook does it say that only men can be reporters.

Moderator Aranya, asked Beena, how we can extend our intentions of intersectional feminism to the women of low income and marginalized communities and help them navigate the platforms we are privileged to already use. “I have always questioned the feminists, where are the Dalit women and the women from the minorities?”

Svati Chakravarty said, “I think representation itself of women on primetime is useless, a mere representation, numbers is useless. This session is called women at the grassroots, I realize we need to uproot our current system and sow new seeds.” “I didn’t really consider myself a feminist, I was always an activist. I was a researcher on the team. Our first topic was female infanticide, I realized for thousands and thousands of women they have no power over their womb. It introduced me to a dark side of humanity.”  She adds, “An understanding of a woman herself and her rights is challenged from the very beginning. In some parts of one’s life one can be a feminist and in the same person’s life, a part of them might be a misogynist. Before seeing the enemy outside, one needs to take on the enemy inside. She concludes by saying, “whether we clean toilets or write soaps we have the responsibility to change society”.

She adds, “An understanding of a woman herself and her rights is challenged from the very beginning. In some parts of one’s life one can be a feminist and in the same person’s life, a part of them might be a misogynist. Before seeing the enemy outside, one needs to take on the enemy inside

Beena Pallical shed light on the plight of Dalit women in the context of social change. “When you talk about feminism for the Dalit woman, she faces the worst of it. She goes to the well to retrieve water. A Dalit woman was dragged naked and many women of higher castes participated in violating her rights. So, I think we have a long way to go to overcome systemic barriers.” She adds “That all of these policies are good on paper, we need to put into action.”

Follow all the conversation on Twitter on the #FeministConference here