Don’t be surprised if you see no women at your workplace or at a shopping mall today. Today is not just about protesting at India Gate or Jantar Mantar, but observing the ‘Aurat Bandh’. An idea initiated by actor Huma Qureshi and Delhi-based activist Noor Enayat among others, the bandh urges women to boycott work or any other form of activity that they do, for today.
“45% of our corporate workforce is women. If we come together and boycott all work for a day, at home or in the office — we can bring the country to a standstill,” says Enayat. The concept has gone viral and is being operated as a group event through social networking site Facebook. More than 5,000 people had signed up till the time of going to press. “We don’t want to stay home to be safe, we want to show how much women contribute to the economy,” she adds.
For many organisations in Delhi, women form most of their work force and even a day without them could amount to huge losses.
“We are fully booked for today. If women don’t turn up, we will lose business,” says Meenu Vadehra, founder, Sakha Consulting Wings Pvt Ltd, a cab service in Delhi that has only women drivers.
However, some feel that the bandh shouldn’t be for women alone. “I would have been happier if men were also considered a part of this bandh. Since both are equal, both should participate in it,” says Rajendra Prasad, principal, Ramjas College, New Delhi.