Tuesday, March 8, 2011

For men only? International Women's Day issue

I woke up this morning and heard it was International Women's Day; within minutes of leaving the flat, I was reminded of how much there is that is still wrong with the way women are treated in the world.  Take that urinal on the right there--like many public toilets in Delhi, it wouldn't do a woman or girl much good--it's clearly made for men only. That causes all kinds of problems for women, especially in urban areas where going 'out in the open' is more and more difficult. And there is a lot of evidence to suggest that lack of toilets in schools is a major contributor to female illiteracy.  Something needs to change, and as greens we need to be aware of the complex ways in which the issues we care about--water and sanitation in this case--are often influenced by things like gender, class and caste.

We environmentalists also care about transportation, and here the news is not all bad. Last Saturday, I saw a female conductor on a DTC bus, which is a good sign for women commuters-- and for women workers, who are seeing more opportunities for different kinds of jobs. And the ladies compartment of the Delhi Metro is making travel for women all over the city more pleasant.

Here are a few links for the day; if you have more,  do share them in the comments:
  Fight back: Blank Noise
  Unfair: Why Women Should Not Hold On
  Unfair: "Napkin"
  Reading: Known Turf


  1. Thanks for raising this, and for the links. Sankari's was tough even to read!

    We've been having an interesting discussion on Jivika [for livelihood & gender equity] on what could be the three crucial issues with regard to women. Responses include:
    - Recognition of women's invisible work as productive and economic
    - Conservation of the natural resource base
    - Greater political, social and physical space
    - Safety: of women without sanitation at home, from domestic violence, and in the workplace from accidents and harassment
    - Training the girls from childhood to be able to say 'no' - to parents
    when they marry them off early, when they stop their education, when they ask to look after siblings; to young male suitors who claim to have fallen in love with them (& if not reciprocated, threaten to throw acid on them); to the roadside Romeo who thinks teasing her is his birthright; to the husband who continues to demand sex from her tired and unwilling body."
    - Challenging patriarchy as it reshapes itself in the neo-liberal era

  2. Bamboosong--interesting list. Of course these things are always difficult to prioritize, in part because they are often related.

    I was talking about this with an auto driver the other day. He told me that there is a at least one female autowala in Delhi. "She has to be tough and sharp...no, not sharp, very sharp!" The space she occupies, it was implied, was not a completely safe one, and she could not afford to show weakness at all...


What do you think?