About the Video

Some sessions of Women’s Writer’s Festival didn’t delve into the delicate niceties of being a woman. Thank god. It sprung open a so-called Pandora’s box where women felt safe to enquire – why does my mother come home early when both my mother and father are working in the same business that they had started together, why aren’t there enough trans women in the mainstream, why is feminism is considered to be such a loaded word, why aren’t our workplaces made safer for the female employees, why are women journalists expected to cover a news story differently just because they are women, and why does the point of ultimate validation for a woman come down to having a ‘supportive family’ – isn’t she still at liberty to make her own decisions?

This feeling was especially echoed at the session ‘Change begins at home’ where writers and academicians dealt with the question of motherhood and family – if it alters their perspectives as professionals, do they feel pressurised to be there for their children all the time, while perhaps jeopardising their job, which might have been their utmost priorities before becoming mothers.

Why does the onus always come down to the woman to be there for the family, while a mere guest appearance by the father works just fine?

The speakers: Journalist Natasha Badhwar, writers Veena Venugopal, Aparna Piramal Raje, Bee Rowlatt and lawyer and professor Gitanjali Surendran could only come to the topic with acute exasperation, considering there isn’t the nuance language for a woman to speak up and out really. The fact that the panelists felt a lack of agency when they became mothers was resonated with the women in the audience who listened with rapt attention.

There was also a discussion about the strict separation between work and home for a woman, and yet she was expected to cater to both. Bee recounted her time with the BBC when she thought that it would be untoward of her to speak about her children in the office but when a senior of hers started doing the same it made her realise that such a simple act could empower other women to talk about their children in a professional space without feeling ashamed.

There was also a sense that a woman shouldn’t undermine the influence of role models in her life to which Veena candidly replied, “I don’t have a role model as such. I think about what my mother would do in a situation. Then do the exact opposite.”

So, in the lack of a conducive workspace for mothers, the inherent pressure of being a great mother – does a woman lose herself in the process? In the presence of external influences, where does a woman’s selfhood lie?

https://twitter.com/SheThePeopleTV/status/835096152219451392

Natasha said that she started blogging anonymously and continued it for five years to be able to put a finger to the problem. Gitanjali, who is greatly influenced by The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer added, “It is important for you to find the things that speak to you… but there needs to be a larger systemic change.  Women are expected to do so much work, how do you quantify that? People to need to change on what they think about that.”

Beyond the delicate niceties of being a woman: A search within for moms

Some sessions of Women’s Writer’s Festival didn’t delve into the delicate niceties of being a woman. Thank god. It sprung open a so-called Pandora’s box where women felt safe to enquire – why does my mother come home early when both my mother and father are working in the same business that they had started(…)

About Binjal Shah

Posts by Binjal Shah:

HT Calls Women Maal, So Should we call it Junk Food Wrapping Paper?

HT Calls Women Maal, So Should we call it Junk Food Wrapping Paper?

As a feminist, I count on the media to be responsible opinion leaders, be just, be objective and often propagate fair values that might even be radical for many, in order to do the right thing. My blind faith was beaten black and blue when Times of India made rookie mistakes while reporting about women,(…)

More

Women In Indian Village Take it Upon Themselves to Build Toilets

Women In Indian Village Take it Upon Themselves to Build Toilets

Even as the men chose not to heed all those “Jahaan soch, wahaan Shouchalay“, the women had built up their resolve about the bathrooms they deserved- even if it meant building it with their bare hands. And as the bridge on the Adri River in Aurangabad gave way, Kusum Devi saw the bricks lying around(…)

More

5 Priceless Pieces of Advice From Legend Maya Angelou

5 Priceless Pieces of Advice From Legend Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou became a great writer and poet, only since she drew from an illustrious life rife with experiences that made her not only sharply insightful, but also immensely wise. Following her path would definitely lead to enlightenment- especially keeping at heart these five pieces of advice, and abiding by them sincerely:   1.(…)

More

Ahalya Gives Mythology the One Thing It Lacked- Feminism

Ahalya Gives Mythology the One Thing It Lacked- Feminism

Sujoy Ghosh’s Bengali-English motley short film Ahalya – which is a modern rendition of a mythological saga from the Ramayana – not only does its job at being a perfect contemporary analogy of the epic, but also incorporates some refreshingly liberal tropes, turning it into a sharp piece of feminist art.   Radhika Apte exudes(…)

More

Santhi Soundarajan: India’s Caitlyn Jenner Minus the Open-Armed Welcome

Santhi Soundarajan: India’s Caitlyn Jenner Minus the Open-Armed Welcome

By Binjal Shah When Gay marriage rights were sanctioned in America, the rainbows managed to pierce the skies of India too. When Bruce Jenner transitioned, we were surprisingly civil about Calling Her Caitlyn. Yet, somehow we choose to observe our own countrymen through a harsher, more rigid lens than we do the westerners. This is one(…)

More

Share Your Stories:

Discussions

Blogs

Events