Champions at work listen up! Nominations for Women In Corporate Awards 2022 close tomorrow. Nominate yourself today!
Listening to women at the Jaipur Lit Fest, I got something I wasn't expecting: solidarity and sisterhood.
Listening to women at the Jaipur Lit Fest, I got something I wasn’t expecting: solidarity and sisterhood.
It was my first time at the Jaipur Literature Festival, and I had planned to experience as much of it as I could. I couldn’t catch nearly as much as I would have liked (mostly because I wasn’t well and could finally only make it for two days, and then was still too tired and unwell to make the most of it).
But I got something I hadn’t expected — or even thought about — that was really amazing.
Almost everyone I met or talked to at any depth (barring volunteers, service workers, and so on) was a woman. Most of the people I heard from on stage were women (not that there were more women speakers — on the festival website, I counted around 130 women and over 200 men, including six men called David). But I was amazed at the number of feminist voices around me.
Women warn women about skeevy men. There are things you don’t say in a larger audience, but are murmured to each other when women meet. Men of power and privilege who are sexual predators. Women warn each other with stories: this happened to a friend.
Speaking of stories, aren’t they women’s medium? Ruchira Gupta told me that in her organisation’s ‘feminine workplace’, they rely on stories, not data. Because stories are how we tell the truth of our lives when there is no data, or to add nuance to data. Because feminism is about believing women’s stories in the face of gaslighting.
So many women’s voices. Bee Rowlatt railing against mansplaining (and the mansplainer). Ruchira Gupta talking about the “last girl” whom we must not leave behind. Anuradha Beniwal on our need to occupy places and make them ours. Kate Tempest’s magnificent performance poetry. Mridula Koshy’s passion for libraries, on introducing every child to books.
The woman in the audience who demanded why we sympathise with boys’ and men’s anger, with their violence, when women have it difficult too but they don’t react with that kind of violence. The young woman asking how she can advocate feminism better. A panel moderator handling with clinical efficiency the difficult task of keeping audience members (isn’t it always men?) from presenting long rambling opinions as questions.
Women I met briefly — who were there as speakers or as media people covering the event — whose eyes sparkled as they talked of feminist poetry or writing. A young woman who talked enthusiastically about how there are more women in her workplace and that she’s afraid that’s changing.
The friend I was there with, who is younger and brilliant and has taken me under her wing, for which I am very grateful. And her friend who also became my friend by the end of the two days: a quiet dignified young woman who is also brilliant and kind and uncompromising. Our conversations about clothes and shopping — women’s things — and about friendships and family and work and writing — also, I think, women’s things.
I came back from Jaipur with so many women’s voices —powerful, interesting voices — in my head. I feel so much stronger for it.
Become a premium user on Women’s Web and get access to exclusive content for women, plus useful Women’s Web events and resources in your city.
Image source: flickr
Unmana is interested in gender, literature and relationships, and writes about everything she's interested in. She lives in, and loves, Bombay. read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
In the last few days I was having a conversation with my younger sister about relationships, and she said something which hit me hard.
I have seen a lot of people feel uncomfortable sharing their age, but I have no such hesitations. I am 32 years old and my younger cousins tell me that I belong to the ‘old generation’. If you are born in the year 1990, you are still considered among them, but if a year less – 1989, you are from the old school.
Being an elder sister, my cousins come to me seeking advice about studies, career and relationships, but when I try to help in the way I understand, the only reply I get is, “Didi, leave it, you’ll not understand it. Aapki generation aur hamari generation mein bahut fark hai. (There’s a lot of difference between your and my generation).”
In the last few days I was having a conversation with my younger sister about relationships, and she said something which hit me hard. Though she is from the new generation and I am from the so-called old generation, we share a lot of mutual thoughts and interests. We spoke about love, how the generation born after the year 2000 perceives love.
You ask any SATC fan. We all wanted a friendship like the one that the 4 girls shared. A friendship that was a rock. A friendship that seemed to withstand the tests of time and in general, life.
I confess that SATC (Sex and the City) has a special place in my heart. I must have watched the 6 seasons and every single episode at that, countless times. Seriously, there was nothing like sitting back with a glass of wine, a bar of dark chocolate and an episode of SATC, after a hard day at work. It renewed me. Made me laugh.
So much so, that I even ended up going for the special SATC bus tour when I visited New York in 2019.
Now some may call the show frivolous but for me, it was pure, honest entertainment. I was in love with the fashion, the ‘fabulousness’, the fun! And it had its moments as well. Moments that were truly thought-provoking, moments that made its viewers take a good, candid look at their own relationships, particularly their female friendships.