Report of the First Lecture of Stree Vimarsh in 2021
Chair: Dr. S.B.Singh (Acting Principal)
Speaker: Dr. Bijayalaxmi Nanda (Principal, Miranda House College)
Stree Vimarsh organised a lecture on The Gendered Contours of the Pandemic- Opportunities and Challenges by Dr. Bijayalaxmi Nanda, the Principal of the renowned Miranda House College of Delhi University. The lecture session was introduced by Dr. Kalpana Singh, Assistant Professor of Psychology. The learned speaker began by discussing the way the world was stunned by the covid-19 pandemic that brough the entire globe into a halt. Then she went on to describe the lives of various sections of people, especially the men and the women, experienced the effects of the Covid-19. Dr. Nanda briefly dealt with the health effects of the viral disease but focussed primarily upon its social and political consequences for women. She brought in the public-private division binaries that still define the lives of men and women in most societies. The speaker showed the manner in which middle-class women struggled with household chores during the pandemic, especially as the domestic helps were not there to ease their lives. For women of low-income households things were worse as in most cases their men had lost their source of livelihood. In both the middle class and lower class homes, there were reports of a steep increase in the domestic violence caused mostly by frustration. Then she went on to discuss the women who worked outside their homes. While those working in contractual jobs in schools, colleges and many other institutions suffered a lot as the institutions refused to take any responsibility of these workers during the pandemic, the worst brunt was borne by the women migrant workers belonging to the lower economic groups. She cited examples of girls and women walking thousands of miles just to reach their homes, yet doing it gracefully.
The second part of the lecture dealt with what should we, as educated section, do about it? Dr. Nanda felt that a new feminist point of view needs to be brought in. Till now, feminist perspective has concentrated on criticality. The need now, however, is not merely to be critical but go beyond it. Dr. Nanda shared that this new feminist path, in her opinion, must begin from empathy. Empathy or Samanabhuti must inform the new feminist perspective.
The lecture session was followed by a question answer session in which many participants participated. Dr. Kalpana Singh successfully coordinated the question and answer session. In the end, Dr. Swati Sucharita Nanda propsed the vote of thanks for the session.
The lecture session was attended by faculty members from DAV PG College, Banaras Hindu University, IGNOU, Udai Pratap College, Vasanta College, Patna Women’s College as well as students.