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17 January 2013

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Alana Ali-Reynolds

Super super happy to see your wonderful piece with the BBC! You are so poised and articulate. I found the group conversation insightful and honest. It makes me hesitantly optimistic about India's future. Truth is, I am so encouraged to see Indian men speak so passionately against the patriarchal attitudes toward females. The mindset where women are commodities and "burdens" to their families must pervade the entire culture, not just in the cities, or among the educated masses. Gender-selection infanticide/foeticide, dowries, forced labor, forced trafficking, victim-blaming and equating "honour" with modesty must stop. And sadly, gender violence is not solely restricted to India, but it greatly worries me, as my ancestral homeland, that Reuters rated it as the 4th most dangerous place to live for a woman (after Afganistan, Pakistan and the Congo). I love that a dialogue has started in India. I sincerely believe that a stable democracy is only as stable as how it treats its women. Interestingly, (on a side note), I read an article in the NY Times by John Eligon, where he postulates that rates of sexual violence spike in places where women are scarce. He cites a rural North Dakota oil town where women are stalked and hounded because they are in demand. Of course, Eligon neatly ignores the fact that the men are pigs and dehumanize women, but it still is an interesting theory. I do believe that when men have to 'compete' for women, women are not safe. Though there are many, many root causes to sexual violence, and India's problem is very complicated, I wonder if India's gender gap could be yet another contributing factor?

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