Workshop on Gender Inequality in India

Gender inequality is not just out there, it’s in here too

On 21 October 2020, development consultant Smita Premchander and I ran a series of workshops for the students of a school in Bangalore on Gender Inequality in India. This 50 minute workshop was crafted for a group of 14-17 year-old students.

Gender inequality in India is a vast topic, one which Smita has spent her lifetime working on. We faced two challenges:

  • Providing a substantial overview in a 50 minute workshop
  • Personalising the problem of gender inequality

We decided that we would look at three facets of our lives where this inequality is apparent: family, institutions and society.

We began the session with this icebreaker: Share with us your first or strongest experience of gender discrimination? As expected, participants shared a range of responses. From not being selected for football because it was considered a ‘boys sport’ to not being allowed to walk in the city alone because ‘it’s not safe’ for girls. We used this opportunity to discuss ideas of social conditioning about gender and women’s access to public spaces.

From the personal, we extrapolated to how these experiences look back at us as data. We ran a data quiz and followed it up with a discussion. The discussion unpacked data and made it relevant to them. For instance, we said, if your class of 25 students were representative of India, 8 of the girls here would already be married.

Next, we took the recent case of Vijay P Nair, the YouTuber who made an abusive video titled “Why feminists in Kerala don’t wear underwear” and turned it into a roleplay game. This case, we figured, summed up very well the deep hold patriarchy, sexism and misogyny have on our society. We divided the participants into Women, Police and Society and had them discuss the case.

We ended the session with this reiteration: We don’t know what ground zero is for gender equality because we have inherited an unequal world. As demonstrated today, inequality exists in families, institutions and society at large. And the best way to tackle inequality as individuals is by asking the tough questions that need to be asked to these structures of power. 

The detailed breakdown of the workshop is available for free download. Sign up to access the workshop.

Picture Credit: Photo by Lindsey LaMont on Unsplash

TDWS | E6: The Search Mission

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

The Dog We Stole is the definitive biography of Her Majesty Begum Pathumma. Read earlier episodes of the series on the TDWS page.

As he trundled down the stairs stopping at each floor to double check if our wards were hiding in the shadows, panic quit pacing and sat down, politely hinting at refreshments. Echo is your puppy baby but do you realise that he is a big, brown dog to others? He couldn’t even manage to defend his spot on the couch from his tiny sister but strangers don’t know that! How would he survive in the world outside? You’ve not got a name tag on Pathu yet. How will she be found? Most importantly, where would they go? They don’t get along even under supervision!

As panic continued to peel my confidence and reveal my nerves, another scene was unfurling outside. When his meticulous search operation reached the ground floor, a sound came running up the stairs from the basement. He had never believed that all three of us knew he was home before he opened the door because we could identify the jingling of his key bunch when he locked the car in the street. But here it was, the unmistakable bell-like metallic ting of Echo’s name tag chiming against his collar. 

Pathu hid, tiptoed and then ran across the parking lot like a single thread drizzle of caramel sauce.

When he got to the basement the siblings were playing hide and seek among the cars. The cars smiled sheepishly, scratched their heads and avoided eye contact. Pathu was the first one to spot him. She clearly didn’t understand the rules of engagement here. Neither did she understand any of our commands. She walked over wagging not just her wispy dyslexic ‘C’ of a tail, but the entire lower half of her body. She must have assumed he was there to play with them. Because when he bent down to get a hold of her, she proceeded to step back, theatrically bang her front legs on the floor, lowering her upper body in a dramatised downward dog and running in the opposite direction, hoping he would follow. In the joy of having found them safe, follow her he did. He weaved between the parked cars, as they egged him on. Pathu hid, tiptoed and then ran across the parking lot like a single thread drizzle of caramel sauce. He followed like a man who had unexpectedly found his kidnapped children without much effort.

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Next Episode | E7: Who’s A Good Boy?