By Neeraj Nanda
MELBOURNE, 8 March: Life is not easy for a migrant woman. It’s tough to join the mainstream. Sexism comes as you progress in jobs. Women do not support other women.
These are some views expressed by four women and a man came out with personal experiences and observations to mark the International Women’s Day 2017, at the Indian Consulate, Melbourne. Consul Manika Jain introduced the subject and gave an overview of the changing role of Indian women saying they faced hardships but were never ignored.
Marika Vicziany, Prof. at the National Centre for South Asian Studies, Monash Asia Institute detailed challenges she faced as a migrant woman and how “it is about enjoying life, having fun and respecting each other.”
Mitu Bhowmick Lange, Director of Mind Blowing Films & Director of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne in her ground to earth presentation said: “it’s hard when you are excluded from the mainstream.” “When I was pregnant people told me “How do you do the film festival despite being pregnant.”
She wondered, “Why women do not support women”.
Dr. Mridula Chakraborty, Deputy Director, Monash Asia Institute disclosed that in India there were only 13 women Vice Chancellors out of the 431 universities.
“Gender issues also need to be seen through class and caste,” she said.
On a question by SAT that the International Women’s Day was tokenism and real issues were ignored, most in the panel agreed real day to day issues need more solutions but the world needs to be reminded again and again through events like this that gender issues need to be addressed.
Monika Thukaral, Air India Country and Airport Manager, Melbourne told about the challenges she faced in her job with a toddler at home and how her seniors encouraged her to try for a higher position.
She felt performance was important and how now 100 per cent Air India flights from Melbourne are on time.
Prof. Suresh Bhargava, Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor International, RMIT, the only man in the panel said, “The organizing of this event itself was a breakthrough”
Gender issues are thousands of years old and things are changing.