The last time women came out in large numbers on the streets in India was to protest the Delhi bus rape of Jyoti Singh in December 2012. But what about the million small ways in which patriarchy and gender discrimination insinuate themselves into our daily lives? It makes us angry that conversations only happen around violent incidents and we rarely confront the nuances of everyday, routine patriarchal norms.[caption id="attachment_15106" align="alignleft" width="300"] #KhelBadal is Video Volunteers campaign to dismantle patriarchy, one video, one conversation at a time.[/caption]
That’s why Video Volunteers has launched the Dismantle Patriarchy Campaign – to address the root cause of all gender discrimination, which is patriarchy. We’re calling it #KhelBadal, and asking people to ‘change the game.’ The campaign is taking on patriarchy through stories of women and men who face, negotiate and challenge patriarchy in everyday life -- at home, at work, at school, in cultural and public spaces.
Gender Discussion Clubs in Villages
We have trained 63 Gender Correspondents across 16 states – from Rajasthan to Bihar, from Odisha to Haryana, to make films that capture the nuances of routine, normalised gender discrimination and to run Gender Discussion Clubs where lively, introspective conversations are happening.
These are a few examples of the conversations and the change these discussion clubs are bringing on the ground:
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Simultaneously we are generating online discussions with our staff and online followers and encourage them to share their stories with us. We’re bridging the digital divide and enabling urban and rural women to exchange experiences and learn from each other.
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Over the next year, 63 Community Correspondents who are part of Khel Badal will produce videos on the themes of Women & Work, Women & Culture. Women will be pro-women, to economic empowerment, female education to legal rights of women.
Check out these four videos our Community Correspondents have made to understand Patriarchy existing in Work for Women
Video #1 - Playtime for Boys and Housework for Girls: Training in Gender Roles Begins Early
Why are the aspirations of young girls’ treated so differently from those of young boys? Why are girls prepared for housework from an early age, boys are allowed to spend their childhood playing and studying? This video from Uttar Pradesh highlights this divide clearly.
While 11-year-old Khushboo starts her day at 5 am, her 8-year-old brother leads a comparatively free existence. Every day she cooks, cleans and takes care of her younger siblings before going to school, and has a host of tasks in the evening which leaves her with no spare time to play. But the boy's day is divided only into school time and play time. Khushboo’s aspirations of becoming a qualified doctor is exactly the same as that of her brother. But are we giving her even close to a fighting chance?
Unless we are able to transform our private spaces to more gender equal ones, we can never end sexism and discrimination in public arenas.
Video #2 - The Boy who Cooks and Cleans – Housework is not Gender Specific
There is a general perception that certain job at home and work are divided according to gender. So when sixteen-year-old Rohit started sharing household chores with his mother and sister, people made fun of him and ridiculed him for doing 'unmanly work'. But this plucky young boy is prepared to give answers, ‘I give appropriate responses to them so they don’t say anything anymore’. He cooks, cleans, washes clothes and helps his two younger siblings with their studies.
Rohit shows that to change our perception is simple, but to be consistent in the change is the hard thing. It’s time we follow his example and question ourselves to find how we are perpetuating and normalising patriarchal roles in our daily lives.
Video #3 - Different Beats: Being a Female Tabla Player
The field of art is as gendered as the rest of the fields. While men refrain from being dancers and women are encouraged, musicians too have such biases where certain instruments are considered suited more for men.
Mithu Tikadar is unusual in her choice of instrument: the tabla. Traditionally seen as the domain of male practitioners, Mithu constantly encounters discrimination in her field. The worst was when her aunt told a young Mithu that she was a disgrace to all women. Undaunted Mithu decided to take up tabla as a subject for her secondary school exams and build a career out of it.
Since then Mithu has come a long way. Today she's economically self-sufficient and is the only Dalit woman to have cleared the nationwide test on musical instruments that makes her eligible to teach in colleges. But her struggle with patriarchal mores continues.
Video #4 - Pink is the colour of resilience - Story of a Determined Single Mother
Pink autos were introduced in Ranchi in 2013 after the brutal gangrape of Jyothi Singh in Delhi as a means of ensuring safer public transport for women. Scepticism about women’s ability to drive was no deterrent to Shanti Lakra who was abandoned by her husband and lives with her children. She took up a training, and is now one of the 35 women auto-drivers to ferry women across the city in her pink auto.
Even though people around her expressed scepticism about her ability to drive or even the utility of learning to drive for a housewife, Shanti pushed on.
Today her determination has borne fruit. She is putting her daughters through school and hopes to see them as successful self-reliant women. The autos have not only ensured safer public transport for women but also pushed individuals like her into what was essentially a male-dominated profession, dismantling gender stereotypes.
Come join our efforts to move this conversation forward in the virtual spaces. We invite the men and women to share their tale of courage, determination while breaking gender stereotypes on our Facebook page. These stories featured on our social media will serve as motivation to the hundreds out there.
Avijit Adhikary is a journalist with nearly 8000 days of field experience till date. In the past two decades, he has witnessed the ebb and flow of the media industry in India, with ripples felt in his region too. This includes the rise of digital media, the decline of print...