Khabar Lahariya (News Waves) is an eight-page weekly newspaper in local languages, produced by a collective of rural women journalists in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. It is the first multi-edition newspaper in the country run entirely by women. A team of over 40 women across eight districts sells 6,000 copies every week. The newspaper has more than 80,000 readers across 600 ‘media-dark’ villages in the two states.
This weekly rural newspaper is written, edited, illustrated, produced and marketed by a group of women – most of them from marginalised Dalit, Kol and Muslim communities. The publication began in 2002 in the Chitrakoot district of Uttar Pradesh in North India. The newspaper has six active editions in Chitrakoot, Banda, Mahoba, Lucknow, Banaras, and Sitamarhi (Bihar). Each week, 6,000 copies of Khabar Lahariya are sold across 600 villages of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, reaching a readership of 80,000. In March 2004, Khabar Lahariya received the prestigious Chameli Devi Jain Award – an annual award for outstanding women journalists from Media Foundation, New Delhi. In 2009, it won international recognition by being awarded the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize, a prize honoring outstanding contribution to literacy.
Women empowerment is one of the most important words of the present times. It is not a mere phrase but it rather represents a movement, which has been pending for the longest time. However, many have a misconception that educating women, “letting” them work, etc. is all that women empowerment is all about. However, the concept of women empowerment is more of an umbrella term. It intends to involve society as a whole, including men.
We always encourage and applaud a woman who successfully balances both work life and her household. But won’t it be easy for that woman if the load of the work is shared? We see that in our society a woman’s primary role is seen as that of a homemaker. At the same time, her personal likes, aspirations, and dreams are forced to be put on the backburner because of the undue expectation that she has to single handedly manage the household while balancing her career. To give credit where it is due, the times are changing. Men and women of the house are increasingly sharing the workload. However, one can also not turn a blind to the fact that a lot more still needs to be done.
Driving home the same concept, popular brand Ariel has come up with brilliant communication.
The video shows a mother speaking to her married daughter over the phone, all whilst cleaning the mess her son has created. She is absolutely heartbroken when her daughter says that she plans to quit her job since juggling both a demanding job and her household has become too overwhelming. It is during this time that she realises that while she and her husband as parents left no stone unturned to give an all-round upbringing to their daughter, they somewhere forgot to teach their son some basic life skills like cooking and doing laundry so that they grow out to be equally responsible in doing household chores. This is not a story of just one family, but of families across the country. These are some things which everyone must know, not for any other reason, but simply because these are basic tasks which are absolutely essential to survive. And, they make you capable to be equal partners tomorrow!
As Ariel raises an important question-is household work only a woman’s job? We need to ask ourselves the same question. A recent study revealed that the unpaid work done by women around the world amounted to 43 times the annual turnover of Apple Inc. It is high time we share the load and change the narrative that household work is the “duty” of a woman. As the video shows, contributing to the household work is not only a daughter’s work, but the son must contribute his bit too. It is also important for the parents to instil a sense of responsibility in their children, irrespective of their gender so that at any juncture of their lives, they are not completely dependent on another person for basic tasks like these. Ariel has been consistently driving this message and addressing the inequality within households since 2015. The Logical Indian applauds Ariel for coming up with such a brilliant video for depicting such an important concept.