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first_imgGenderList of cautionOn October 24, law student, Raya Sarkar, published a list of alleged sexual predators in Indian varsities on Facebook. Predictably, the conversation veered in every direction, and was only in part supportive of those the list sought to caution-the victims, both past and prospective. There were fits thrown,GenderList of cautionOn October 24, law student, Raya Sarkar, published a list of alleged sexual predators in Indian varsities on Facebook. Predictably, the conversation veered in every direction, and was only in part supportive of those the list sought to caution-the victims, both past and prospective. There were fits thrown as freely as the term “smear campaign” and the feminist movement within the country was fragmented. Centring the voices of women, we ask the affected sex about the importance of this list, “due process” and whether the two can coexist.Priyamvada Gopal, 49, Academic, University of Cambridge, UKSuch lists are indicative of a degree of desperation and a sign of how rife the problem of humiliating and degrading sexual behaviour is in academia. Due process is highly desirable at all times and we must never lose sight of how important it is, but it is also the case that institutions have failed victims of sex pests at many points. It is also helpful to be cognisant of the fact that most harassment usually takes place in private, and is therefore, not always available to documented proof. The lists are a call for cultural change on a scale which is not necessarily reducible to due process. The entitlement that many powerful heterosexual men feel in relation to the bodies of women must be undone.Mihira Sood, 33, Lawyer, DelhiThe Sexual HarassmentAct suffers serious shortcomings. Organisations are keen to havecomplaints dismissed for the sake of their reputation and most of theCommittee comprise the organisation’s employees so they are notindependent. The external member’s finding counts for little if she isin a minority. Moreover, the external member is also paid by theorganisation so her independence is compromised. While I think the lawis flawed, I am uncomfortable with anonymous complaints and vagueallegations. It deprives an accused of a defence, and opens the door for such guerilla tactics that can be used against vulnerable groups. TheAct as it stands is far from ‘due process’, but the idea of due processis one that protects, rather than oppresses the vulnerable, and thatidea should be valued.advertisementNaomi Barton, 25, Digital merchandiser, Penguin India, Delhi The insistence on due process is premised on the idea that due process itself has done enough for oppressed women. As we have seen with our own courts stating that ‘a feeble no is not really a no’, and acquitting the rapist Mahmood Farooqui, the basis of what constitutes harassment does not centre the idea of believing a victim. This list is what it looks like when women decline to engage with the establishment to protect themselves. Due process has had its way so far and failed. Women are taking accountability into their own hands.BooksEleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine GailHoneyman  Eleanor works in an office, likes to drink vodka on theweekends and has a conversatiion with her creepy mother every Wednesday. Utterly alone, she is not lonely. Published by Harper Collins 400 pages Rs 399.Rani Padmavati: The Burning Queen Anuja Chandramouli &Padmini: The Spirited Queen of Chittor Mridula Behari Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movie has sparked an interest in possibly the most mythologised beauty in India, our very own tragic Helen of Troy. Mridula Behari’s Padmini (Published by Penguin Random House India; 248 pages Rs 299) tells the tale from the point of view of the legendary beauty while Anuja Chandramouli goes full metal jacket, retelling the story as a modern love jihad, complete with a war mongering brutal Alaudin Khilji, a virtuous Maharwal Ratan Singh and the brave Padmavati of Malik Muhammad Jayasi. Published by Juggernaut Books 240 pages Rs 299.SportGoing for gold The Indian women hockey team broke into the top 10 in the International Hockey Federation (IHF) world rankings after winning the Asia Cup in Japan after 13 years.CultureThe gap widensThe World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Gender Gap report has ranked India at 108 out of 144 countries surveyed, showing a fall of 21 places from last year to find itself at 108 on the Global Gender Gap Index, lower than neighbours China (at 100) and Bangladesh (at 47). The main reason behind this abysmal ranking is the lack of engagement and involvement of women in the economy, coupled with low wages. Leading the list is Iceland. However, this year, the findings are bleak in that the overall gap has actually widened for the first time since the WEF began conducting the survey in 2006.SocietyThe robot of Riyadh In October, Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to a female robot created by Hong Kongbased Hanson Robotics. Sophia was on stage when journalist, Andrew Ross Sorkin, informed her of the government’s decision.advertisementlast_img

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