Every year, International Women’s Day serves as a call to forge gender parity. And while there is change for the better, it comes at a very, very slow pace.
Commenting on the Global Gender Gap Index in an article on World Economic Forum, Leena Nair, Chief Human Resources Officer, Unilever, says, “To some extent, there is evidence of progress amongst the 149 countries who were indexed. But progress is slow, painfully slow. There are proportionately fewer women participating in the labour force and political life. It will take 108 years to close the gender gap and 202 years to achieve parity in the workforce.”
At Pratham Books, we’re committed to creating a #BalanceforBetter. We believe in the power of storybooks, and our book list features a slew of gender-positive characters, whether fictional, like Daddy’s Mo, or Anaya’s Thumb, or drawn from real life, like We Call Her Ba, Chuskit goes to School, or Dipa Karmakar: In Perfect Balance.
We’re thrilled to share a glimpse of some of our newer (and forthcoming!) titles featuring inspiring women. We also reached out to their authors to share their vision of a gender-balanced world. This is what they had to say.
“In a gender-balanced world, everybody would acknowledge gender as a spectrum. Children will be completely free to be and become what they want, irrespective of how they identify and who they like. No more weighed down by the pressure to conform, our minds and bodies will have more energy for more important things, like science and art! The world will be a more beautiful and fairer place.” – Nandita Jayaraj, author of Anna’s Extraordinary Experiments with Weather
“My vision of a gender-balanced world is one where men and women have equal responsibilities, opportunities and rights; and where women can live their full potential to be free-minded; and men can feel and display the full range of their emotions. Prukalpa (Sankar, founder of Social Cops, and subject of The Girl Who Thinks in Numbers) is a fantastic role model for young women because she has courage, imagination and grit, in equal measure. She is solving difficult problems, using technology and human connection and experience.” – Shreyasi Singh, author of The Girl Who Thinks in Numbers: Data Warrior Prukalpa Sankar
“In my mind, a gender balanced world is one where a family is defined not as man-woman-children, but as any group of individuals that claim that relationship for themselves. In that home space, an assumption of equal responsibility towards house and child work – where a woman’s ability to work work outside the home, to build and sustain a career,is not considered a right or favour or forward thinking, just accepted reality. Where everyone works to make her working a possibility. Again, not a special achievement or favour.” – Alisha Sadikot, author of Cracking the Code: Women who have changed the way we look at computers
“Sudipta (Sengupta, first Indian woman geologist to visit Antarctica, and subject of The Rock Reader) has lived life on her own terms. She never chose her path based on whether it was ‘suitable for girls.’ She worked hard, enjoyed work, and became really good at what she did. She is an inspiring role model to all young people, not just girls.” – Veena Prasad, author of Sudipta Sengupta: The Rock Reader
And one last, brilliantly inspiring tale – the story of mountaineer Tine Mena. Tine and the Faraway Mountain will be launched today at the Mussoorie Mountain Festival by Tine herself! Read it online on StoryWeaver.