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Tamil Blogosphere: Reflecting on Women and Gender

International Women's Day evoked quite a lot of posts in the Tamil Blogosphere.

Living Smile Vidya is a transgender blogging from Madurai, South India. Through her posts she has been quite instrumental in making other bloggers understand the trials and tribulations transgenders face in India. Her personal recounts the troubles she took to be where she is now, an executive assistant in a private company. In her latest post she talks about how transgenders are being exploited in Tamil movies. She had earlier, written a post when the movie ‘Vettaiyadu Vilaiyaadu’ was released.

Mangai, a social worker from Delhi writes in detail about the ‘Domestic Violence Act’ that was made into a law in India in 2005. Unique aspects of the law, according to Mangai are the following: 1. Verbal and economic abuse are also considered along with physical and mental abuse. 2. The judge would make a ruling within 3 months of filing a case. 3. Abused women would be allowed to stay where would like to and the protection offices appointed in each district would be incharge of their protection. Mangai also talks about some women she met in a village camp in Haryana. Couple of women expressed their desire to become a member of the parliament, or the chief minister. The women's understanding of local issues and their knowledge about current affairs makes Mangai feel confident that the issue of female infanticide may be resolved soon.

Thanu, a doctor from Erode, Tamilnadu talks about female infanticide and sex selective abortions. She writes further on the issue of sex ratios in the world, and links sex selective abortions and female infanticide to the trend of lop-sided ratios. She explains how the concept of dowry, society's outlook on female children, traditions and rituals contribute to female infanticide and sex selective abortion. As an example, Thanu talks about a couple who desire for a male child more than anything and are prepared to do anything. They went through six abortions and came once again to ask about the possibilities of getting a male child by artificial insemination. When the 45 year old wife was spoken to privately, she pleaded for her uterus to be removed. Thanu however asserts that the laws against sex selective abortions have become strict and most of the medical practioners follow them. But illiegal clinics continue to do scans and abortions. The ways used to kill the female babies are heart wrenching and horrible.

Tamilnathy, Srilankan-Canadian living in Chennai writes an introductory post about a book she's currently reading. It's the biography of C.K. Janu, a semi-literate tribal leader from Kerala translated into Tamil from Malayalam. Tamilnathy details the atrocities faced by the tribal women and female children and about C.K.Janu's fight to claim the land that originally belonged to the tribal communities.

Jazeela questions the need for a day for women. She also says that in many families, change is in the hands of women themselves. Mothers should bring up their children – male or female – with equal responsibility.

Thurgah from Malaysia talk about the improvement in the conditions of women over generations. Durga's grandmother went to school for some years, but she had to go and work in the rubber plantations. Durga's mother attended school. But girls were only sent to Tamil medium school while the English medium schools were reserved for boys. While Durga's mother also worked in the rubber plantations, opportunities for work in other areas started cropping up. Durga belongs to a generation of women who can study as much as they want to and can shine in any field they choose.

.:MyFriend:. from Malaysia talk about Vanajah a Malaysian Tamil woman engineer, who wanted to become an astronaut and trained for it. She was selected from 11,275 people and became one of the eight sent to Russia for training. Unfortunately Vanajah could not pass the gravity test and is now working as a researcher in Malaysia space agency. She is conducting shows to popularise astronomy. She is into blogging too.

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