In India, separate social conduct is expected from a male and a female. While there has been a lot of talk on gender empowerment and equality, the reality is that the women are considered secondary in their status within the household and workplace. While this discriminatory attitude is subtly present in urban India, in rural India the discrimination is much more apparent. Patriarchy continues to hold its grip.
Girls are denied education because they are deemed good enough to only become a mother and wife, not a professional. Married women are confined behind veils and boundaries of their homes because they are directly related to family’s honour. But what about considering them just humans?
There are thousands of small ways in which patriarchy and gender discrimination creep into their daily lives. Conversations on these matters only happen around violent incidents and we rarely confront the nuances of everyday, routine patriarchal norms.
But women of Rural India are starting a change in their community, with a camera and conversations as their weapons. Under Video Volunteers campaign, ‘Dismantle Patriarchy’, 63 Gender Correspondents across 16 Indian states are spotting and making short films, videos on everyday instances of patriarchy and gender discrimination. These women tell us four different stories on opposite ends of the spectrum about gendered work – from discrimination to empowerment.
Video #1 – Playtime for Boys and Housework for Girls: Training in Gender Roles Begins Early
An 8-year old boy and his 11-year old older sister are interviewed in Uttar Pradesh about their daily activities. The gender disparities in the division of household chores come to the fore. The story powerfully demonstrates how difficult it is for girls to aspire to the same educational qualifications as boys, to this day.
Video #2 – The Boy who Cooks and Cleans – Housework is not Gender Specific
When sixteen-year-old Rohit from Chhattisgarh started helping his mother and sister with household chores, people used to make fun of him. But this plucky young boy says ‘I give appropriate responses to them so they don’t say anything anymore’.
Video #3 – Different Beats: Being a Female Tabla Player
Mithu Tikadar is a musician, considered 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. While she continues to face gender discrimination, Mithu is progressing in life – one step at a time.
Scepticism about women’s ability to drive was no deterrent to Shanti Lakra, one of the 35 women in Ranchi to take up auto rickshaw driving as a living. Watch how she negotiates the roads, life and dreams of putting her two daughters through school as a single mother.