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Delhi’s winter of discontent…Becomes a spring of hope

By Manjima Bhattacharjya

The nation-wide protests after the gang rape in Delhi have finally broken the silence around sexual violence, put women’s rights on the political agenda, and established that rape is not a sexual act but a legally punishable crime

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Unsafe homes

By Manjima Bhattacharjya

Why do 1 million children, many of them girls, run away from home every year? Because the home is where social stratification and gender inequality is most acute

Runaways  Streetkids

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Too many cooks

Cooking has always been a gendered activity, and the arrival of gourmet foods as part of globalised lifestyles and cooking as a glamorous spectator sport on TV, has done little to alter the politics around food, writes Manjima Bhattacharjya

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Compensation is the last mile in recognising rape as a crime

No amount of money can restore the dignity and confidence of a rape victim, and certainly compensation is meaningless if the guilty are not punished. But monetary compensation does at least recognise rape or sexual assault as a crime, writes Manjima Bhattacharjya

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After the Slutwalk

Sheila, Munni and popular culture replete with sexual and sensual references notwithstanding, the debates around Delhi’s Slutwalk reveal that we’re still hypocritical about acknowledging women’s sexuality, says Manjima Bhattacharjya

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Molly's story

By Manjima Bhattacharjya

This April, which is Child Sexual Abuse Awareness month, a story about a searing summer of violations, to crack the wall of silence around the issue and remind us that over 53% of India’s children have experienced sexual abuse

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Doing the dirty work of a globalised economy?

By Manjima Bhattacharjya

The globalised economy of conspicuous consumption requires the outsourcing of domestic labour to migrant women – the Thai, Filipina and Ethiopian migrant in Europe, the tribal in India. Low wages and exploitative conditions are recognised problems, but what about the ethics of passing domestic work ‘down’ to another oppressed category?

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We are only halfway to understanding women's 'agency'

Feminism’s deepest belief is that women’s voices must come to the fore, but when they do, we find these voices often scuttle our assumptions about what should be the right/legitimate form of ‘agency’. How do we account for the agency of women returning to violent partners, of women who decide not to throw off the veil but put it on, of women who want to be mail-order brides or sex workers? Manjima Bhattacharjya explores

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Redefining rape

By Manjima Bhattacharjya

Women are increasingly reporting sexual violations/exploitation within the home, workplace, friends’ circle or university that don’t quite match the strict requirements of ‘rape’ or the loose connotations of ‘outraging her modesty’, the two broad types of sexual violations that the law recognises. Will the long-pending Sexual Assault Bill help?

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Moving beyond legalisation

By Manjima Bhattacharjya

The Supreme Court of India recently asked the government why they don’t legalise prostitution if they can’t curb it. But do women in sex work really want a piece of paper called a license? Or police reforms that may lead to freedom from extortion, convictions against traffickers rather than new laws, directives and campaigns that make discrimination against women in prostitution legally punishable and socially condemnable?

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Rumble in the desert

On May 17, 2009, four women were elected to the Kuwaiti parliament as MPs for the first time ever, spelling progress and change in the region. Indeed, the Middle East has been a black hole in the history of feminism, says Manjima Bhattacharjya, and we have only just begun to understand the unique issues and positions of women here

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Cosmetic changes on violence against women?

For 15 years the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women has helped bring VAW into the public domain as something more than a ‘private issue’. But have all these conceptual breakthroughs trickled down to the ground, asks Manjima Bhattacharjya

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Marching ahead

Manjima Bhattacharjya traces the history of March 8, International Women’s Day, back to the 1857 agitation for dignity and equality in the workplace, a battle not yet won

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Morality through the ages: Old strategies, new threats

By Manjima Bhattacharjya

Why is there such a resurgence of the moral police in recent times, threatening women in jeans or beating up women who go pubbing, as in Mangalore recently? Is it because ‘morality’ has historically been a powerful tool of social and political control, and now there is a fear that women are going out of control, and must be contained?

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Another kind of terror

The Indian State and citizens are pledging to fight against political terror. But what about the sexual terror that all women have faced, survived and continue to silently battle? Why has no government ever called for a war against this kind of terror, asks Manjima Bhattacharjya

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A tale of two speeches

When a black woman with empathy and a single mother who writes about magic speak about empathy, service and compassion on graduation day at Stanford and Harvard, does it finally signify that values once rejected as ‘feminine’ and invalid are finding a voice and a space, asks Manjima Bhattacharjya as she flags off a new column on feminism’s Third Wave

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Backgrounders

Agriculture And Food Security : Background & Perspective

Agriculture And Food Security : Background & Perspective

By Devinder Sharma

Pre-Independence India suffered repeated famines, drought and food shortages. But following the Green Revolution in the '60s, yields and foodstocks rose manifold. Now, 30 years later, Indian farmers have realised the follies of their tryst with intensive agriculture. Despite 70 per ...

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Analysis

The organic foods divide in India

The organic foods divide in India

By Rahul Goswami

The divide between farmers growing and selling organic produce in India and the major organic foods and beverages retailers is widening, to the detriment of organic farmers. This was evident at Biofach India 2013 held in Bengaluru

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Features

Ragi over rice

Ragi over rice

By Ananda Siddhartha

As in the rest of India, in Pavagada taluka of Karnataka, ragi is losing out to rice, groundnut and other cash crops. Until 15 years ago, it was the reverse. What are the market and policy pressures that have caused this reversal, and what are its consequences on health and nutri...

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Books & Reports

Vertical farms

Vertical farms

By Sudhirendar Sharma

A new book by Dickson Despommier posits the farm of the future as a vertical farm over 30 floors in any city centre. Powered by renewable energies a vertical farm could meet the food needs of 50,000 people, consume 70-95% less water, restrict the use of harmful agro-chemicals and...

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Punjab Series

Nation's food bowl in crisis

By Anosh Malekar

When the state that was the country's biggest agricultural success story in the 1970s tops the list of indebted farmers, it is obvious that there is something very rotten in the state of agriculture in the country. A three-part series that looks at the agriculture crisis in India's fo...

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News

Stories of change

Nalbari farmers resume cultivation after 25 years

By Ratna Bharali Taukdar

Thousands of farmers in Borigog-Barbhag block, in lower Assam’s Nalbari district, joined hands to dredge a 15-km stretch of a water channel that had blocked and flooded farmlands across 50 villages. For 25 years, farmers had abandoned work on their waterlogged lands. No...

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Changemakers

Urban poverty and the food crisis

A grain in an empty bowl: Government services in the urban context

By Maheen Mirza

Anganwadis, ICDS and PDS are huge government programmes meant to cater to the health and nutritional requirements of the poor. Yet 72.4% of urban poor children in Madhya Pradesh are underweight, 60.4% are undernourished and almost nine out of 10 are anaemic. The fifth and final part o...

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Backgrounders

IT And Development : Background & Perspective

IT And Development : Background & Perspective

By Aditya Dev Sood

What use can a computer be to someone earning less than a dollar a day? What use is information technology in a country that has a low penetration of telephony and computers, where even electricity is not assured, and where millions are still illiterate? These are standard questions...

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Analysis

Free culture for a free society

By V Sasi Kumar

What is it that prompts a group of people in Calicut to start the Chamba Swatantra Cinema Project? How did the world move from copyrights over knowledge, introduced in the 16th-18th centuries and codified as the Statute of Anne, to free software, free knowledge and free culture? And w...

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Features

Do you want to be watched?

The new rules for surveillance under the IT Act are an assault on our freedom. They also seem misguided, says Sunil Abraham . How many terrorists or criminals will be arrested in India thanks to the new ID requirements at cybercafés or a ban on public wi-fi? Intelligence work cannot be replaced...

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Changemakers

Stories of change

The people's voice

By Sherna Gandhy

Every citizen in this country has a right to be heard. But what happens when you live in an area where no mainstream media organisation bothers to penetrate, and when you speak a language no media organisation knows or understands? CGNet Swara uses mobile telephony to break through th...

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News

India turns to ICT for better delivery of welfare schemes

Bihar will become the first state in the country to videograph the distribution of PDS coupons to weed out ineligible recipients. And the Union human resources ministry proposes to use a cheap, indigenously made tablet PC to record BPL and caste data

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