Lecture Series by Sara Ahmed at Vilnius University

Sara Ahmed1Sara Ahmed, PhD Adjunct Professor, Ahmedabad University, India

23 May 2018 17.30

Changing Fem-scapes in India: Context, Opportunities, Challenges

I am constantly being told: “You don’t seem Indian. You don’t look (or act) like an Indian woman, and so on.” What does it mean to be an Indian woman or a woman in India today? First, it means recognizing the multiple intersecting identities of caste, faith, sexual preference, age, ability and place which both divide and unify us as we unite across disciplinary, institutional or geographical boundaries, as women fighting for our rights, for our voices to be heard, for work, for justice.

Second, it means recognizing that although we have made significant gains as women since Independence, whether in terms of mortality rates, literacy, health and our sporting, literary or acting achievements, to name a few arenas, the gender gap in terms of access to productive resources, jobs, equal pay or political participation has not changed significantly. And third, it means drawing strength from multiple gendered coalitions, networks and alliances across civil society, facilitating communities of practice at the grassroots and supporting capacity building on gender justice whether in the formal system (schools, universities) or beyond (public and private organizations).

24 May 2018 17.30

The Gendered Contours of Violence in India: Engaging Men?

The recent escalation in gender violence and the use of women’s bodies, particularly of young girls, as de-humanized weapons of caste and communal politics has polarized a nation. For some men, the raping and killing of women and girls, especially the ‘other’, is about asserting a false sense of valour and pride, in the name of a warped notion of nationalism. Despite campaigns such as “Beti Bachao” (Save the Girl Child), changes in the laws on rape, domestic violence and sexual harassment at the workplace, the impunity with which men of power and privilege are acquitted, necessitates re-looking at the structural and interlinked dimensions of patriarchy, poverty and sexuality.  Bringing men into the dialogue, as brothers, sons, fathers, husbands or co-workers, is not only critical, bur raises questions of when, where and how. Asking your son where he has been, is perhaps as important as checking in on what time your daughter comes home; teaching gender sensitization to young would-be managers and supporting platforms such as Men Engage or He for She, plus of course recognizing the power of (Bollywood) films with strong female protagonists are all part of the growing, but not unchallenged, social discourse recognizing the role of men in confronting gender violence. 

Lectures will be held at the Institute of Asian and Transcultural Studies, Vilnius University, J. Kovalevskis aud.

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