Working out a solution
A series of events aimed at understanding gender inequality in the Indian workforce have shifted the effort online
Indian women perform 6.5 hours of unpaid labour every day, compared to 45 minutes for men. That's just one of the unsavoury statistics thrown up in a podcast that comedian Aditi Mittal and filmmaker Christina MacGillivray started in March, ironically titled Women in Labour.
It dissects why the ratio of working men and women is so skewed in this country, and invites experts to weigh in on the subject.
Sarah Chawla. Pic/Dolly Devi
Recognising the need for such a conversation, The American Center in Delhi had joined hands with music and events platform Wild City to start a series of supplementary events to take the discussion forward, where the podcast was replicated in an offline format. But the lockdown has obviously put paid to that initiative, though the effort is being continued online. There is a live session scheduled for Thursday, for instance, where cricketer-turned-sports presenter Anjum Chopra, footballer Jyoti Burrett and F4 racer Mrinalini Singh will talk about their engagement with professional sports. We catch up with The American Center and Wild City co-founder Sarah Elizabeth Chawla to find out more.
Edited excerpts from an interview.
What do you keep in mind while curating the list of speakers for the ancillary events?
It is a collaborative affair. We work in tandem with the rest of the team to make sure that the tone of the conversation fits with the larger project. We also wanted to present a good mix of conversations and performances — ultimately using this as a platform to normalise the voices of women in positions of power.
What have you learnt about the situation that women in the Indian workforce face?
We've all been inspired by the stories of women supporting other women. We've also been inspired by the men who have joined our live audiences. The percentage of Indian women in paid work has dropped from 35 per cent in 2005 to less than 24 per cent today. This trend won't change without the support of both men and women, and the fact that this podcast exists is an example of
What did the shift to the online medium entail?
The American Center in New Delhi, where the Women in Labour events were being held, has been doing virtual programming before. So we are comfortable working in that space. We do miss the in-person engagement, but are happy to share the events with a larger online audience.
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