A podcast by and for women in the era of COVID. The pandemic has exposed our vulnerabities and inequalities. Especially in India. Every week I will bring you a different story of women interrupted and women rising. Tune in and join the conversation every FRIDAY.
In 2005, the Jagori Women’s Resource Centre in Delhi began to develop a multi-stakeholder research and organizing project for women to evaluate their cities for safety, map the results, and use the data to call publicly for change. As of 2020, the project, now based in Haryana, India, and known as Safetipin, has spread to Latin America, Africa, and much of the Asia-Pacific region. Their reports can be found at safetipin.com. Kalpana Viswanath, described the project in her 2015 address to the International Association of Women in Radio and Television.
The period debate is back in India after food delivery company Zomato announced it will offer period leave to menstruating employees. While the initiative was welcomed by many women, it was also criticized by others as being anti-feminist.
India has one of the best recycling rates in the world - we recycle 70% of all water bottles and soft drink bottles as compared to 31% in the USA. All thanks to informal recycling chains in our cities.
This chain starts with the waste pickers.
There are an estimated 1.5 million to 4 million waste pickers in India, who pick up, clean, sort and segregate recyclable waste and sell it further up the value chain.
80 per cent of them are women.
These waste pickers either sort and segregate waste from waste containers, or transfer stations and landfills.
These women come from some of the most marginalized communities, they are barely educated and are often from the lower castes which makes it easy to erase or invisibilize their contributions to our billion dollar cleanliness programs or generally life in the cities.They are the ones who are cleaning up behind us, after us. A recent study of women waste pickers during lockdown in Delhi, had showed they faced difficulties in going out to collect waste because the police were patrolling the streets.
They couldn't go out to work also because they lacked protective equipment.
68 per cent of those interviewed, reported that the shutting down of godowns and junk shops have made sorting and selling recyclables nearly impossible.
The study found them facing a shortage of food and unable to access essential medicines and healthcare services.
Now waste pickers are stepping out for work, irrespective of not having protective suits.
Waste pickers are also on the frontline of defense against the spread of COVID-19 because they are managing the city’s waste while exposing themselves to disease and infection.
The government needs to designate them as essential workers, provide them with a stipend, protective equipment and health insurance.
Hello my dear listeners. Welcome to Episode 11 of the Women Interrupted podcast where every week we deconstruct the very many ways in which women’s lives are interrupted all over the world but also specifically in India. I am your host Nilanjana. I am a journalist based in New Delhi India. Thank you for tuning in tonight.
In today’s show – we will discuss how intimate partner violence has continued unabated in India – often normalized in families.
Next, there will be a program from the Women’s International News Gathering Service called Wife Beaters – Tough to Beat.
Somewhere in between there will be your weekly dose of feminism 101
India is obligated under international law to eliminate violence against women in all its forms, including wife-beating. But in reality attitudes towards wife-beating – the most pervasive form of domestic violence – has remained almost unchanged in the country.
The National Family Health Survey-4 found that 52 per cent of women and 42 percent men in India believe it is reasonable for a husband to beat his wife.
This acceptance is embedded in patriarchal norms of gender roles that are often perpetuated by older women in families.
The Indian government has never really been serious about addressing gender inequality. Victims of domestic violence run from pillar to post seeking justice. And things are unlikely to change anytime soon.
This week - from the WINGS archive, two leaders in the movement to stop domestic violence, share their experience and ideas on topics like why batterers often get custody of children, whether and how batterers can change, and how misogyny is like racism, encouraged by society and requiring self-awareness to work on.
And here’s your weekly dose of feminism 101:
This excerpt is taken from Kamla Bhasin’s keynote address at an international seminar interpreting feminism vis a vis activism
“Feminism and Activism are the same. There can be no Feminism without Activism; that for me is clear.”
“Feminism is perhaps world’s most badnaam or defamed ism. There are all kinds of totally unfounded, unsubstantiated allegations against Feminism. So many people are afraid of Feminism. This is why even strong, independent, actually feminist women do not wish to call themselves a Feminist.”
That’s all from the Women Interrupted podcast this week. If you liked the show tell a friend and do not forget to subscribe to our program on Google or iTunes or Spotify. You can also listen to the Women Interrupted podcast on soundcloud.com.
Good bye till next week.
This show from the archives (1996!) has new relevance now the pandemic renders many courtships virtual. Caitlin Sullivan and Kate Bornstein co-wrote the book Nearly Roadkill: An Infobahn Erotic Adventure, based on their pioneering experiments with sex, sexuality, and identity over the then-nascent World Wide Web. Although out of print, the book is enjoying a revival in the second decade of the 21st century; it’s studied and written about as a classic of genderqueer speculative fiction, and for its honest arguments about clashing beliefs and biases. The interviewer was the now-late Sue Supriano. Update by Series Producer Frieda Werden.
Host(s): Sue Supriano; update by Frieda Werden
Featured Speakers/Guests: Theatre and radio practitioner Caitlin Sullivan, self-described as a cis female, and author, playwright, performance artist, actress, gender theorist, and nonbinary post-op transsexual Kate Bornstein developed a long friendship on the internet that was part sex, part playacting, and part working through their identities and their prejudices. They were interviewed when their book came out in 1996 by Sue Supriano.
Credits: Original production by Sue Supriano for her community radio program “Steppin’ Out of Babylon” that aired on KPFA-FM, Berkeley, California. Edited and later updated for WINGS by Frieda Werden.
Comments: Originally released as WINGS #31-96 Sexing the Net. Re-edited and updated to 2020.
As India gradually opens towards a new normal Menstrual Hygiene has remained a huge concern. A sizeable population of girls and women continue to grapple with challenges to access safe and hygienic menstrual hygiene products, information, and sanitation facilities required to manage periods hygienically and with dignity.
The COVID 19 pandemic has created a gap in production and distribution of menstrual hygiene products.
Periods don't stop in a pandemic - but in patriarchal societies where menstruation continues to be a taboo - they can be well ignored.
Around 3.5 million barefoot women health workers are fronting India's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. These women are known as Anganwadi and ASHA workers - community health workers who work with women and children in their villages.
Anganwadis are rural health centers established by the Indian government in 1975 to address malnutrition among women and children. There are around 2 million Anganwadi workers in our country.
When the COVID crisis broke, they were enlisted for door-to-door distribution of dry ration, awareness campaigns and screening. Along with them, the government had also pulled in the services of around a million Accredited Social Health Activists, known as ASHAs, to track returning migrants, contact tracing, reporting or accompanying suspected COVID cases to nearby medical centers. They connect some of India’s most vulnerable communities to the public health care system, which is why they are an invaluable network for the Indian government for conducting awareness campaigns and door-to-door screening especially important now as migrant workers return to their local communities from cities.
This army of semi-literate women are burdened with an inordinate amount of health care interventions and are now an important part of India’s strategy to flatten the curve of the coronavirus. But they are poorly paid, overworked and inadequately trained and protected.
Imagine a male workforce of over 3 million people working under such conditions silently? Would they have been treated this abysmally?
My guest this evening is Ina Puri. She is a writer, biographer, art curator and collector and author of several books on Indian art and contemporary artists. She has been associated with the visual and performing arts, and has been curating art exhibitions in India and abroad for over three decades. In this episode she tells us how much she is missing traveling to artist studios, the smell of paint, her grand daughter Samaira who will turn one soon and the forgotten treasures jumping out at her from forgotten shelves and drawers.
Suchitra Vijayan is a New York-based lawyer, foreign policy analyst, writer, and photographer, and mum to a three year old. In this episode, she raises some pertinent questions about privilege and poverty and COVID-19, while also talking about how hard it has become for women to balance work and life against the backdrop of the pandemic lockdowns and the kind of world she wants for her daughter.
Educator, microbiologist, and environmental warrior Sue Lennox, is the co-founder of nonprofit OzGREEN and winner of the 2020 NSW Senior Australian of the Year award. In this episode Sue talks about misinformation, disinformation, how to fight it.
Check out OzGreen's new online community program "Pulse of the Pandemic".
Talk to me on Skype: nilanjanabhowmick
I have a very special guest this evening - mah boi Che, who turns 15 today. We are under a strict lockdown in India and hence we have had to re-imagine the way we would mark the day. The dude was stuck with his parents for one - instead of in a coffee shop with his friends. But we made the best of it - some experimental cooking, lots of conversations and (bad) jokes. How are you planning to celebrate your child's birthday in lockdown?
There is no doubt whatsoever that going forward there is always going to be a pre-COVID and post-COVID world.
The Coronavirus pandemic has upset everything we have known till now. Negotiating our children’s early years, negotiating their teen years – will it be the same? Or will we have to unlearn and learn a new way of bringing them up?
What kind of psychological effect might this pandemic have on our children? Can you see any visible signs? Have you noticed any change in behavior? How are you keeping them engaged at home? Are you looking differently at their upbringing?
Maybe you now think home schooling is not such a bad idea? Or maybe you think it is the worst idea. Personally I don’t think I can do it – I do not have the patience. But I also ask myself when will I be ready to let him go back to school with confidence? Will I have to learn to let go all over again?
For those of you who are pregnant or about to give birth, what are your fears or hopes and dreams for your child? How are you preparing yourself for motherhood in a suddenly uncertain world?
Our children were born in a very different world. A world of plenty – not just in terms of our daily life but also in terms of hopes and dreams and aspirations.
But they were also born in a world that thrived on inequalities and oppression and a lopsided distribution of wealth and opportunities. But today as we face our mortality we know that pandemics do not discriminate on the basis of religion or wealth or gender. This moment in time is as frightening as it is sobering.
Are we going to learn a lesson from this and work harder at demanding equal rights for every single person on this earth, or will we go back into our privileged corners again?
I hope we fight harder for equality in the post-COVID world. I hope we are more compassionate, more tolerant, more embracing, more grateful, more mindful.
I can’t wait to connect with you and learn about your deepest fears and uncertainties and hopes for the future. This solidarity – this mommyhood – will help us negotiate this crisis better and help us build a brand new world. Is that too much to hope for? Perhaps. But hope is courage. Hope is the future.
Find me on:
Skype - nilanjanabhowmick
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter - @nilanjanab
We are in this together. Come talk to me. And tag another mommy – let’s build a chain and plot for a new world together.
Remember what Nellie McClung said?
Women are going to form a chain, a greater sisterhood than the world has ever known.