Safecity celebrated this year’s Women’s Day with the women of Indira Nagar (Sanjay Gandhi Nagar) in Jogeshwari east, Mumbai and the on ground team of Vacha Charitable Trust, our partner organisation. The event was well attended, by around 70 women in the afternoon of March 8, 2016.
The event was in the form of a Mela (fun and fair) with games, music and a lot of fun- as we felt that women too had a right to let loose and enjoy themselves.
The event began with talking about what is women’s day, why do we celebrate it and why is it important. In this discussion also we spoke about how women’s unpaid labour at home is not considered as work. Ankita from Vacha added to this discussion with a story about a man describing his wife as someone who doesn’t work, however when recounting all their daily activities it becomes clear that she works harder than him.
The local Mahila Mandal also presented some songs about women’s day in Marathi and Hindi, which we all were encouraged to sing together. We also got everyone to perform an activity based song about food, and it’s processes.
After a little singing and dancing, we opened up the game stalls for the participants. There were three game stalls developed by Vacha which were not only fun, but also spoke about issues of gender.
Nine-pin: The participant must try to topple over as many pins as possible with a ball. Each pin represents an evil in society that they want to destroy such as corruption, gender inequality, rape, etc.
Snakes and Ladder: The twist to this popular game is that all the snakes represents things that keep women and girls back, such as early marriage, sexual harassment, etc. and the ladders are things encouraging women to go ahead, such as family support, safe environment, and so on.
Nails and Hammers: Some day to day tools have become gendered. While a needle and thread are seen as feminine, nails and hammers are traditionally masculine. In this game we flip the script, and see how many nails can the women hammer into a block of wood in 30 seconds.
Besides the game stalls, we also created a space to talk to women about our campaign against sexual harassment, and the work we have done so far. All the women, many of whom have daughters, seemed to give their support to this campaign and to the need of raising a voice against sexual harassment. In this space we also had Anokhi, a doll representing girls and women. The women were asked two things- What restrictions to girls/women face? And What part of their own body do they like the most. These questions opened up various discussions about victim blaming and curtailing the freedoms of women, as well as how as women we don’t appreciate our bodies, or take time to take care of ourselves.
After many discussions, songs and games, the women finally had to go back home and we wrapped up our little mela.