Monday, December 1, 2014

Meet Our GEMS: Sudha Umashanker

The Power of Stories
by Meera Srikant

Sudha Umashanker is a freelance journalist, columnist, social activist and storyteller. She has written on a wide variety of subjects ranging from women centric stories and gender issues to health articles, humour and spiritual columns. As a social activist she has run numerous campaigns for the use of seat belts and helmet, Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, Maternal Health and Prevention of Child malnutrition, Eye donation, Barrier free environment for the physically challenged, Environment protection etc. An ardent advocate of women's rights she believes in equal rights for women and even performed the last rites for her father. She took to Storytelling a few years ago and uses it to support causes she believes in .Off and on she has also been a broadcaster and TV interviewer and has produced content for media houses on business, culture and cinema. She shares her plans for the Prajnya campaign.

Why is this issue important to you?
Gender violence is prevalent in many forms - overt and covert - in our society. From female infanticide to acid attacks to domestic violence (which runs the gamut from physical, emotional and mental abuse and violence) to genital mutilation, sexual harassment, rape and honour killings - the list is indeed long.
Girls and women are already hamstrung by various disadvantages thanks to primitive mind-sets. I feel we owe it to ourselves to help create a gender violence-free world where women can live without fear and oppression and function as equals.

What is it you feel most strongly about?
I feel strongly about preventive steps and knowledge sharing. Victims of gender violence must know that they need not and should not suffer silently and that there is help available.

My part in the campaign - what I hope to do with it.
As part of the campaign I have fleshed out a story of gender violence which arose out of a male child preference. I believe stories can powerfully convey messages as people tend to remember and retain stories and connect to them as opposed to dry facts and data. I must thank Ms Swarna Rajagopalan for providing me a platform to do that during this campaign .I hope the story receives many hits and stimulates thought once it is up on youtube.

Three things you would suggest to keep individual actions going.
 a) We must talk about these issues in a constructive way
 b) We must help women victims with support and solutions
 c) We must stop being judgmental and do our bit however small 

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