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In this Reader’s Corner interview, meet Prathama Raghavan who proudly proclaims herself as a Feminist driven by movements for gender and sexual equality.
Reader’s Corner looks at the contemporary urban Indian woman, through the lens of a Women’s Web reader in each interview.
Prathama Raghavan proudly proclaims herself as a Feminist who is driven by movements for gender and sexual equality and is interested in identities, languages, cultures and the questions surrounding them in today’s world. She is inspired by social justice movements, environment-conservation initiatives and development work. She blogs at Towards Harmony.
Hi Prathama! Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a developmental psychologist, working with children and adolescents; I do workshops on adolescence and sexuality with a gender perspective. I have worked on development projects on street children, child sexual abuse and urban poor empowerment projects in Nepal. I love books, travel, photography, contemporary art and languages.
Do you have any life goals for yourself or anything that you think your life must include?
When I decided to study psychology it was with the perspective of doing social work. I want to work with NGOs on children and women related projects in low and medium income countries, especially South Asia. I also want to travel, live in different countries and cultures and learn their languages.
How far along would you say you are in achieving these? What would you love to have/achieve that you don’t yet have?
I already worked for a French NGO in Nepal so I guess I am on my way to doing what I always wanted. I would love to work in North Eastern India, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Philippines and any other country that will have me.
I want to do the longest train journey from Kanyakumari to Assam – the Vivek Express by myself, once I am done with my PhD to celebrate.
Is your life today as you imagined it would be 5 years ago? If no, how is it different? Where do you want to be 5 years from now?
My professional life is pretty much how I imagined it to be. My personal life, not quite, I never thought I would be married but I am and happily too. So my life is actually a good balance of professional and personal fulfilment. 5 years from now I want to be working for an NGO in a South Asian country other than India.
Do you believe that being a woman has made a difference to your choices and your life?
I grew up in a majority female household, with 2 sisters and 2 cousin sisters, and a matriarch grandmother who doted over us. We never felt any gender discrimination in terms of opportunities and grew up thinking that everything was possible. There was no pressure to get married or to prioritise personal life over professional. If anything my parents would have liked me to take up a more competitive profession.
I think my first encounter with patriarchy was marriage. It has taken a lot of effort from us as a couple to build an equal marriage and it is an ongoing process.
Tell us one thing that you like about Women’s Web and one thing you think we could do better!
Women’s Web was one of the first Indian feminist websites I discovered and since then I have been a regular. I love the topics you touch and the questions you raise. I think it is important for young women and men today to be exposed to gender sensitive perspectives. It would be really great if Women’s Web could go to schools, universities and colleges and do talks on Feminism and Gender Equality.
Thanks Prathama! We will definitely keep your suggestions in mind!
*Photo credit: Prathama.
Previous Reader’s Corner Interviews:
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There are many mountains I need to climb just to be, just to live my life, just to have my say... because they are mountains you've built to oppress women.
Trigger Warning: This deals with various kinds of violence against women including rape, and may be triggering for survivors.
I haven’t climbed a literal mountain yet
Was busy with the metaphorical ones – born a woman
Fighting for the air that should have come free
And I am one of the privileged ones, I realize that
Yet, if I get passionate, just like you do
I will pay for it – with burden, shame, – and possibly a life to carry
So, my mountains are the laws you overturn
My mountains are the empty shelves where there should have been pills
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