Friday, December 7, 2012

Day 13 -- Can good girls have fun?

In partnership with Transparent Chennai ( and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) (, Prajnya held a book reading and discussion with Sameera Khan and Shilpa Ranade, authors of Why Loiter?.

The evening started off with an exercise -- participants were given a diagram of a street and asked for likely spots where they would find groups of people like 3 girls playing, 3 teenage boys, 2 middle-aged ladies, a young woman waiting for friend, 3 teenage girls. The authors noted that they have done this exercise with many different groups and the results stay surprisingly consistent. Ms. Sameera Khan said, "Women tend to need a sense of purpose to stand in spaces which is why you would find a women more likely to wait for someone at a bus stop." Ms. Shilpa Ranade noted that "women do not stand in corners of roads as they can be seen too widely, whereas men prefer to stand in corners as they have a wider view."

After reading of a few selected passages, a spirited discussion followed. Questions ranged from design of spaces, the role of the government, which places are accessible.

About the authors:
Sameera Khan is a Mumbai-based independent journalist, writer, and researcher. A former assistant editor at The Times of India, she now teaches journalism at the School for Media and Cultural Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. In addition, she is a fellow (2012-13) at the TISS, PUKAR & Max Planck Institute Urban Aspirations Project.

Shilpa Ranade is a practicing architect and researcher based in Mumbai. She is founding partner with Quaid Doongerwala, of the Mumbai-based design practice DCOOP where her portfolio includes interior, architecture and urban design projects ( Shilpa is also an associate of PUKAR (Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action and Research) where she has been involved with the seminal Gender & Space Project (

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