Women Of India
Imagine needing to go to the store, but being fearful that you will be harassed, or worse, on your way. Imagine not being able to sit outside to enjoy the evening because of your sex. Women of India have dealt with this for some time. India has been long known for the unfair treatment of women. Throughout history females have been considered a burden. Girls are often either aborted or killed. The ones who survive face discrimination, violence and prejudice. Nearly four out of five women in India have faced public harassment ranging from staring, insults and wolf-whistling to being followed, groped or even raped, said a survey by the charity ActionAid UK.
In the past few years women are speaking out. They are standing up for their rights. On January, 21st some of these brave women, and some men, took to the streets in solidarity and protest. The #IWillGoOut started in response to a “mass molestation” in Bengaluru on New Year’s Eve. Though there were over 1500 police the men there outnumbered them. Women were molested and groped. Karnataka Home Minister claims it happened because Indian women ‘copy westerners in mindset and dress’.
Though the #IWillGoOut march took place on the 21st, and wasn’t part of the massive global Women’s March, both had the common goal of standing up for women’s rights.
Why I March
As mentioned previously I will be sharing stories from the women who marched and why they did. I read a post from Durga Bhamidipati of India and felt I needed to reach out to her and see why she chose to march. This was her response:
“It’s a shame that we have to fight for simple things which are rightfully ours. Just be ourselves, be human beings. Not judged by what we wear, where we go, what we do. In this day and age everything is advancing at a breakneck speed but women’s condition seem to get stuck in 14th century. We hope our children and their children don’t need fight this kind of fights. It’s all about simple survival. We are in much better position than many other women. We were able to come onto the roads. Let’s say we are doing for the other women who can’t help themselves.”
She then shared with me these words from two other marchers:
Mridula Das wanted to say, ‘To voice my dissent. To show solidarity. This public space is equally everyone’s. Then be it women, men, children, or transgender…. everybody’s fundamental right to freedom and safety’
Another marcher, Natasha Ramarathnam: “When you are out on the streets, alone, you feel unsafe, exposed. You may be going about some totally legitimate business, but after a certain time, you feel almost furtive about being out. Simple pleasures like taking a walk after dark in an unknown city to soak in the atmosphere are denied you. That needs to change. Because it’s not healthy to lock half of humankind away. By extension, even in the workplace, you are put on the defensive. Even male subordinates have physically invaded my space when they want to make a point. That’s what we marched for ‘
I want to thank these brave women for sharing their stories with me.