Women have a lot at skate at this event in Khar

Updated: Apr 16, 2019, 23:18 IST | Debjani Paul

It's time for women to reclaim their space and take a stand, whether it's on a skateboard, on the soapbox or on the dance floor, at a first-of-its-kind event

Women have a lot at skate at this event in Khar
Women show off their skating skills. Pics/Skateboarding in Mumbai Facebook page

Let’s be frank. Falling repeatedly in front of a crowd of strangers is hardly considered "ladylike". But picking yourself up, getting stronger and better each time, is one of the most empowering things you can do as a woman. And that’s why you should head to a Khar pub this weekend, as women in the city take a stand — on a skateboard, on the soapbox or even the dance floor.

"Women and girls form half the population, and yet their interaction in many spheres — public, private and digital — is limited and censored," says Ruchika Parab, founder of the ORB Movement, which works to increase women’s representation in sports. On Sunday, the sport of choice at the venue will be skateboarding, an activity heavily dominated by men. "Recently, there’s been a growing subculture of girls and women skateboarding as a symbol of empowerment," she says, citing Instagram pages such as Girls Skate India to push her point.

Sheena Khalid and Anushka M
Sheena Khalid and Anushka M

More women will have the chance to experience this in a first-of-its-kind event organised by ORB Movement, titled A Girl’s Place, where expert Russell Lopez will conduct a skating workshop on April 21. "Mumbai has about 1,000-2,000 skaters, of whom about two to three are women. The ratio is terrible, but the few girls that do skate are phenomenal. They can do some tricks that the guys don’t do either. I think this is a nature vs nurture conversation. Girls are conditioned to stay away from sports that involve too much running, sweating, dirt or risk of injury," he adds. Skateboards will be provided, and the only warning Lopez provides is: "Come in comfortable shoes, and be prepared to fall. But don’t worry about it; every skater has fallen at some point. Everyone here will cheer you on, wanting you to succeed."

Skating

The second part of the event will focus on women’s safety in digital spaces. In a spoken word performance titled "Would you say it to my face?" actor-director Sheena Khalid will tackle the misogyny women face online, from creepy "fraandship" requests to cruel trolling. This will be followed by a panel discussion on creating safe digital spaces for women. "There’s not a single woman who hasn’t faced some sort of harassment online, and we’re hoping for audience participation in this discussion as well," says Parab.

The evening will end on a high note, with a DJ set by Anushka M, who has also played internationally at festivals such as Burning Man in the US.

On: April 21, 4 pm onwards
At: Khar Social, Ram Krishna Nagar, Khar West.
Log on to: http://tiny.cc/wfv94y (to RSVP)

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