India Women's Rights

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The Womanhood Penalty: 5 Behaviours That Show Corporate India Has Some Serious Growing Up To Do

As a vice-president advising one of India's best-known companies, I was once asked to leave the room so a very senior member could crack an inappropriate joke. I was the only woman in the room, needless to say. Let's face it, corporate India isn't used to seeing women in positions of power. I've learnt to expect some curiosity, some inelegance and many awkward moments. Here's my list of workplace woes that illustrate how corporate India has a lot of growing up to do.
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Will I Die A Contented Woman?

It's Women's Day. Around the premises, I see women wishing each other happiness and strength. Feeling my eyes moisten, I leave my desk to withdraw to my Fortress of Solitude--the washroom. Locking myself in the corner-most cubicle, I pull down the seat cover. I feel warm tears rolling down my face as I sit. Before I can make sense of the deluge, the events of the previous evening inundate my head.
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Serendipity 2.0: Making Our Own Magic Happen

Smartphones and social networks have brought the world to our fingertips, giving voice to many who would have otherwise remained unheard. It is up to us, now, to exercise the choice and freedom that technology affords us to get out of our comfort zone. Today, we can choose. To listen and be heard. To discover the world, and ourselves. To discover the magic of human connections and the incredible possibilities they represent.
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Measuring The Social Poverty Of Women

When we think about poverty, we presume that the poor, whether men or women, boys or girls are equally poor. The truth is that women experience poverty differently and more acutely. Women (and girls) are naturally assigned to domestic roles and this limits their access to formal education and knowledge. This, along with deep-rooted social and family hierarchies, limits their access to material resources, but more importantly to social resources, i.e. participation in economic, political and social decision-making. I call the latter the social poverty of women.
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Why I Think Temple Bans On Women Are Absolutely Fine

Let's think of these 'reserved-for-men' shrines as the women's-only coach in the Delhi Metro. Now imagine a bunch of aggressive men demanding equal rights and to be let in! Surely we'll turn into female incarnates of the wrathful Lord Shani. And why not? The Metro coach is our sanctum sanctorum, where we can squat on the floor, do our makeup, doze on our neighbour's shoulder without the fear of body odour. I am sure male devotees share similar sentiments while resisting female presence in shrines like Shani Shingnapur.
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How Being In A Room With Nirbhaya's Rapists Changed Me

I witnessed one of the trials of the accused men live while preparing for Kajarya, Madhureeta Anand's film on female infanticide. I was standing in a room merely 15 feet away from the accused in 2013, right before I started shooting. I play a reporter in the film and as part of my research for the role I was trailing an actual journalist. Little did I know that I would find myself in a room with men who had enraged an entire nation.

Mama's Boys And Ladies' Seats

Our testosterone-scripted movies, our regressive but hugely popular soap operas, our lack of focus on women in public life have all contributed to creating generation after generation of males who still haven't realised that women can do more than cook, clean, bear children and take their abuse. Their loss, I say, going forward. Worse, it's our loss as thinking people if we don't tell them.