SABRINA IQBAL SIRCAR
There have been a plethora of efforts to create awareness and to fight gender discrimination in society. However, steps within institutions, both public and private can actually go a long way to eliminate such undue biases of the society. Carrying this line of thought forward, the Women’s Cell of Cotton College State University, of which I am a part made a very innovative effort. We organised a mime, a series of acts depicting some serious issues like women’s education, domestic violence, wife battering, sexual harassment at the work place and body shaming and then supplemented this act by a chorus of poetry, by famous feminist writers like Maya Angelou and Kamala Bhasin.
The idea was to reach out to the students and all other staff and members of the institution, with the message of women’s rights and their rightful place in society. The play was staged twice, once in front of the administrative block of the University office and at the Sudmersan Hall in Panbazar. To create an impact and to draw people towards this effort, we had a ‘dhol’ which was a part of the performance, and the sound of which was used to emphasise the high points of the mime.
As a collective endeavour of the Women’s Cell, it was decided that we the members would also dress in black to show solidarity to the cause of Gender discrimination and sexual violence against women. We also wanted to be in solidarity with the students of the mime, so we chose to wear black as a form of assertion, recognition and symbolic protest, to mark our existence and effort on International Women’s Day.
I on my own initiative took the opportunity to organise an intra-departmental programme to spread the message among the under-graduate students. In collaboration with the faculty and students of my Department, that is the Department of Political Science, we organised, a skit on body shaming, a song to capture the enslavement of women and we screened a documentary on the cause.
These are small efforts, but the ends they can fulfil are large and wide. When one is part of an educational institution, it is a matter of great honour and pride that, you have the privilege of reaching out to so many people from so many varied backgrounds. It is only wise to take up this opportunity to raise awareness for a real cause and International Women’s Day provided us with a very rightful one.
We hope that, as part of the Women’s Cell, we will continue to raise awareness and consciousness and that we shall also be able to act on the issues concerning women and their dignified existence in society.