While women across the Western world were waking up to the momentous Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21, women in India were already taking to the streets in more than 22 cities and towns across the country. Both marches were essentially feminist protests against misogyny, fueled by the organizing power of social media. The Indian march, with the hashtag #IWillGoOut, was prompted by reports of the mass molestation of womenin the southern Indian state of Bangalore on New Year’s Eve. In response, the organizers wished to take on “this … misogynistic culture of questioning women’s right to be in the public sphere.” The march was billed as the start of a discourse on “how women must bear the burden of several socio-cultural expectations in order to be deserving of “safety” — wear a dupatta, cover the cleavage, sit with legs crossed, don’t talk loudly, get home before dark.” But in a country of around 586 million women, only thousands turned out for the women’s march, as opposed to the half a million who turned out in the United States, whose female population stands at a little over 162 million.
I may know why the turnout was low. READ MORE