Written by: SMIW Editorial
Picture credit: SheThePeople
This post is a part of our weekly roundup series. Every week, we will take a look-back at sexual harassment, gender violence and related incidents in India and beyond. Readers can submit their suggestions, comments and opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week in gender wrap was defined by two state governments announcing affirmative actions for women.
The Delhi government announced its decision to provide free travel for women in metros and DTC buses. Social media was rife with dissenting arguments, coming from both men and women. Men, because they felt left out, with pro-BJP Hindutva pages asking why a poor man still has to pay for a ticket when a rich woman doesn’t have to. Some women, clearly the ones who have internet and smartphones, expressed on their social posts about how this is insulting to them since they want equality and not freebies, ignoring or unaware of the part of the announcement which says that the women who want to pay, can pay. While there was opposition, other women saw beyond their class and caste privilege and cleared the air for those still questioning or failing to see the connection between making public transport more accessible for women and their security. Atishi Marlena too explained how existing fairs affect women more, and they cause them to use unsafe modes of transport like private buses, ride sharing, or even walking. Also, some reports focused on how this move is related to the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections and the cost and technical challenges of the scheme.
Close on its heels, the Punjab government announced free education for women, from nursery to PhD, in government institutions along with other initiatives of improving the education system.
In other news, while advertising its new product ‘mutual climax condom’, Durex India launched an epic conversation on orgasm inequality with hashtags #IFakedItToo, #OrgasmInequality. Women resonated with this, obviously, and joined the discussion, alongside famous faces. Their particular tweet about a poll result that 70% of Indian women do not orgasm every time during sex invited a lot of offended Indian men coming to repair their broken egos. Some dismissed the poll, and other men happily exposed their ignorance by implying that procreation requires a female orgasm. Case in point, meet the Irony Man and his not so ironical tweet;
But within the Men’s Rights Activist (MRA) group, the person who stole the whining showdown was this guy whose Twitter handle translates to ‘insecure man’. Two words that probably describe any typical MRA in India. This gentleman tweeted to Amit Shah and RSS because he was quite upset that Durex India started a conversation on achieving equality in orgasms.
Watching this happen to Durex India was giving us so much Gillette feels.
In a disturbing video, a BJP MLA Balram Thawani was found joining other men in kicking, beating and slapping a woman outside his office who had gone there to represent about a water supply issue in her area. She later filed a police complaint on him and other attackers. The Gujarat BJP president appropriately issued a show-cause notice to him and directed him to apologise. Subsequently, the victim tied him a Rakhi and claimed that he hit her as her brother would. This cleansing act is a reminder of our traditional customs made for erasing crimes of men – asking women to marry the rapist, bonding the assailant with the victim in a sibling relationship. The fact that society respects such forced relationships prompt men in power to exercise the same for their cleansing. Whether using remuneration or threat, the assailant got the victim to normalise the public beating as domestic beating, which remains normalised in India.
In first of its kind, Zomato has rolled out 26 weeks of parental leave policy for both its male and female permanent employees. The policy covers 13 countries, including India. It also extends to non-birthing parents in cases of surrogacy, adoption, and same-sex partners. Are other companies going to follow suit in the absence of any such policy compulsion from the government?
In a disturbing case of misogyny, casteism and child labour joining hands, a 14-year-old Dalit girl was killed in Muzaffarnagar, where she was working in a brick kiln. The girl was allegedly raped and subsequently thrown into the furnace to die.