Namita Bhandare

Namita Bhandare

Namita Bhandare writes on gender and other social issues and has 25 years of experience in journalism. She has edited books and features in a documentary on sexual violence. She tweets as @namitabhandare

Articles by Namita Bhandare
Six decades after the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961, the continuing prevalence of dowry remains India’s national shame. The 2019 National Crime Records Bureau data tells us that a woman is subject to cruelty by her husband and in-laws every four minutes. (Reuters)
Six decades after the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961, the continuing prevalence of dowry remains India’s national shame. The 2019 National Crime Records Bureau data tells us that a woman is subject to cruelty by her husband and in-laws every four minutes. (Reuters)

Dowry remains India’s abiding shame

UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 05:47 PM IST
In the run-up to the International Women’s Day, it’s good to celebrate the undeniable gains on our road to gender equality. But it’s also worth remembering just how far we have to go — and how little has changed.
Close
Despite new laws passed in the aftermath of the December 2012 gang rape, India’s women continue to fight a battle of endemic sexual violence. (AP)
Despite new laws passed in the aftermath of the December 2012 gang rape, India’s women continue to fight a battle of endemic sexual violence. (AP)

Shake power structures to give women dignity

UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2021 06:17 PM IST
The MeToo Movement undoubtedly gave a few women a voice and a platform, but it left out the vast majority of India’s working women, women employed as domestic workers, in brick kilns, as farm labourers, in garment factories. Dalit, tribal, trans and marginalised voices were never heard.
Close
We are in danger of losing this gain due to the pandemic. As this newspaper reported, 166,000 students, girls and boys, in Delhi government and municipal schools have fallen off the grid as a result of education moving online. One can only speculate on how many will eventually return to school, and whether some have already joined the labour force or been married off. (Santosh Kumar/HT)
We are in danger of losing this gain due to the pandemic. As this newspaper reported, 166,000 students, girls and boys, in Delhi government and municipal schools have fallen off the grid as a result of education moving online. One can only speculate on how many will eventually return to school, and whether some have already joined the labour force or been married off. (Santosh Kumar/HT)

The trinity of patriarchy, poverty and the pandemic

UPDATED ON FEB 06, 2021 06:40 AM IST
There is a clear link between keeping girls in school and delaying marriage. Raising the minimum age of marriage for girls to 21 is not a solution
Close
So many laws, still no solution. Perhaps because there’s a contradiction here. The contradiction in wanting to protect women but within the decorous folds of patriarchy (Hindustan Times)
So many laws, still no solution. Perhaps because there’s a contradiction here. The contradiction in wanting to protect women but within the decorous folds of patriarchy (Hindustan Times)

To protect women, challenge patriarchy

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:42 PM IST
Seldom has the State’s concern to protect one half of its citizens been so high
Close
It takes courage to push a conversation that evokes almost zero public sympathy in an audience that is inclined to believe that consent has no place on the marital bed(Shutterstock)
It takes courage to push a conversation that evokes almost zero public sympathy in an audience that is inclined to believe that consent has no place on the marital bed(Shutterstock)

The conversation India refuses to have

By Namita Bhandare
UPDATED ON JAN 08, 2021 08:01 PM IST
In the past few years, India has broken traditional silences on sexual abuse, on consent, and on the rights of sexual minorities. It’s time to break another traditional silence
Close
We do know that the pandemic’s economic impact has been higher on women. At the end of the year, 13% fewer women (2% fewer men) than the previous year were employed, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy.(HTPHOTO)
We do know that the pandemic’s economic impact has been higher on women. At the end of the year, 13% fewer women (2% fewer men) than the previous year were employed, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy.(HTPHOTO)

India’s 2020 Gender Report Card

UPDATED ON DEC 25, 2020 05:36 PM IST
The end of a year is a good time to take stock – just how much we’ve achieved, how much more must be done and, this year in particular, how much is in danger of being lost
Close
A study of violence during the lockdown by Saravana Ravindran and Manisha Shah published on(AP)
A study of violence during the lockdown by Saravana Ravindran and Manisha Shah published on(AP)

Covid-19: A distressing spike in violence

UPDATED ON DEC 11, 2020 07:46 PM IST
To stop gender-based violence, target attitudinal change through interventions in education, ad campaigns and other behaviour change communication
Close
At the heart of the issue is a fight for our rights as women to lead independent lives with dignity(Shutterstock)
At the heart of the issue is a fight for our rights as women to lead independent lives with dignity(Shutterstock)

In defence of the right of women to choose

UPDATED ON NOV 27, 2020 08:37 PM IST
The solution is not to ban interfaith marriage, as this ordinance effectively does, but to make it easier for citizens to exercise their autonomy, regardless of parental approval
Close
Anurag Behar, CEO, Azim Premji Foundation, advocates community-based classes for school children: Get the teachers to go to the mohallas where the children live; collect five to 15 of them, whoever lives in that mohalla and is anyway interacting closely; and conduct classes in a community space(AFP)
Anurag Behar, CEO, Azim Premji Foundation, advocates community-based classes for school children: Get the teachers to go to the mohallas where the children live; collect five to 15 of them, whoever lives in that mohalla and is anyway interacting closely; and conduct classes in a community space(AFP)

Covid-19: Preserving the gains on education | Opinion

UPDATED ON NOV 13, 2020 08:45 PM IST
It’s the job of institutions and government to provide infrastructure. We need a coherent policy tailored to specific regions and needs that will look at the complexities of online learning.
Close
Many women employed in the informal sector have normalised sexual harassment as one of the many workplace hazards. Like their counterparts in the formal sector, they don’t speak up because they are either unaware of their legal rights, scared of repercussions from powerful bosses, loathe to lose jobs or, even, reluctant to complain for fear that their families might prohibit them from going back to work.(AP)
Many women employed in the informal sector have normalised sexual harassment as one of the many workplace hazards. Like their counterparts in the formal sector, they don’t speak up because they are either unaware of their legal rights, scared of repercussions from powerful bosses, loathe to lose jobs or, even, reluctant to complain for fear that their families might prohibit them from going back to work.(AP)

Expanding the ambit of the MeToo movement | Opinion

UPDATED ON OCT 30, 2020 07:48 PM IST
India’s #MeToo movement left out the voices of 195 million women in the informal sector
Close
“The family is pleading that they have no strength to speak but the media has not stopped thrusting mics into their faces,” reported Kavita.(Manisha Mondal/ The Print)
“The family is pleading that they have no strength to speak but the media has not stopped thrusting mics into their faces,” reported Kavita.(Manisha Mondal/ The Print)

A model for rooted, inclusive journalism | Opinion

UPDATED ON OCT 17, 2020 06:34 AM IST
Khabar Lahariya, a women-led digital platform that today counts 30 reporters and stringers across 13 districts in Bundelkhand has, for close to two decades, been chronicling a side of India that is seldom written about.
Close
The outrage over Hathras is justified and necessary. But there is nothing new about the systemic oppression of Dalit women aided by State-backed institutions: The police who won’t file FIRs, lawyers who urge rape survivors to compromise, a legal system that exhausts the patience of the most stoic victim, and a media that finds no merit in these stories.(PTI)
The outrage over Hathras is justified and necessary. But there is nothing new about the systemic oppression of Dalit women aided by State-backed institutions: The police who won’t file FIRs, lawyers who urge rape survivors to compromise, a legal system that exhausts the patience of the most stoic victim, and a media that finds no merit in these stories.(PTI)

Being a Dalit woman in modern India

PUBLISHED ON OCT 02, 2020 07:37 PM IST
To say don’t make the Hathras incident about caste is ignorance and privilege. But the systemic oppression of Dalit women isn’t new
Close
Hadiya’s marriage was eventually restored by the SC, but serves as a cautionary reminder that Indian society, including sections of the judiciary, is not prepared to grant daughters independence. Not when it comes to their choice of partner(Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)
Hadiya’s marriage was eventually restored by the SC, but serves as a cautionary reminder that Indian society, including sections of the judiciary, is not prepared to grant daughters independence. Not when it comes to their choice of partner(Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)

The autonomy to choose one’s partner

UPDATED ON SEP 19, 2020 10:23 AM IST
Couples who wish to marry under the Special Marriage Act must serve a 30-day notice during which their personal details are on public display. This violates their privacy and leaves many vulnerable to parental and community reprisal
Close

Covid-19 and the spike in child marriages

PUBLISHED ON SEP 04, 2020 08:00 PM IST
There has been a surge in child marriage, a side-effect of the pandemic. But to reduce child marriage at any time, expand opportunities in education and work, rather than increase minimum age of marriage
Close
On August 7, 600,000 Ashas and 100,000 anganwadi workers went on strike across India. Their demands: Better pay, health insurance and protective gear(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)
On August 7, 600,000 Ashas and 100,000 anganwadi workers went on strike across India. Their demands: Better pay, health insurance and protective gear(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)

Covid-19 and the heroic role of women health workers | Opinion

UPDATED ON AUG 21, 2020 07:09 PM IST
India’s army of community health workers feels invisibilised despite the critical role they play in fighting Covid-19
Close
NGO workers hand over dry ration to sex workers, Pune , June 23, 2020(Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)
NGO workers hand over dry ration to sex workers, Pune , June 23, 2020(Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)

Covid-19’s impact on sex workers and their families

UPDATED ON AUG 07, 2020 05:46 PM IST
There are 6,57,800 sex workers in India, according to a 2016 UNAIDS study. Other estimates put the number at three million. The lockdown and social distancing measures have pushed them to the edge.
Close
While marriage remains an inevitable goal in most societies and certainly in our own, a new generation of Indian women is changing the rules(Shutterstock)
While marriage remains an inevitable goal in most societies and certainly in our own, a new generation of Indian women is changing the rules(Shutterstock)

The embedded patriarchy in arranged marriages

PUBLISHED ON JUL 24, 2020 07:14 PM IST
Arranged or otherwise, marriage in modern India continues to be bound by rigid social-economic-caste structures
Close
Facebook’s 71 gender options, including the two-spirit person, are a stretch. But “they”, used by singular non-binary gender identity people, was Merriam-Webster’s word of 2019 and India has recognised “other” as an official gender since 2014(Shutterstock)
Facebook’s 71 gender options, including the two-spirit person, are a stretch. But “they”, used by singular non-binary gender identity people, was Merriam-Webster’s word of 2019 and India has recognised “other” as an official gender since 2014(Shutterstock)

Gendered language has its roots in sexism, bias | Opinion

UPDATED ON JUL 10, 2020 07:38 PM IST
Gendered language is not just an annoyance. It can harm
Close
The mistreatment of women in the labour room is fairly common, especially if you’re poor(Diwakar Prasad/ Hindustan Times)
The mistreatment of women in the labour room is fairly common, especially if you’re poor(Diwakar Prasad/ Hindustan Times)

Women in labour must be treated with dignity

PUBLISHED ON JUN 26, 2020 07:29 PM IST
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted an old problem of the mistreatment of women in the labour room
Close
In India, 320 million children have been affected by school closures caused by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). Online classes do not factor in the country’s digital divide where 16% females have Internet access, compared to 36% males, according to the National Sample Survey 2017-18(HT Photo)
In India, 320 million children have been affected by school closures caused by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). Online classes do not factor in the country’s digital divide where 16% females have Internet access, compared to 36% males, according to the National Sample Survey 2017-18(HT Photo)

How Covid-19 has set back the education of girls | Opinion

UPDATED ON JUN 13, 2020 05:51 AM IST
The risk of girls dropping out of school in large numbers is real. The time to act, plan and stop a predictable slide is now.
Close
In 2018, the Indian Psychiatric Association clarified that homosexuality is not a mental illness but stopped short of calling for an explicit ban on conversion therapy. Doctors who practise it face no action(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
In 2018, the Indian Psychiatric Association clarified that homosexuality is not a mental illness but stopped short of calling for an explicit ban on conversion therapy. Doctors who practise it face no action(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)

Build a society that respects individual choice | Opinion

UPDATED ON MAY 29, 2020 07:40 PM IST
Demonising doctors and families who force individuals to undergo conversion therapy is the easy bit. The far harder part is the work that must go into building an affirmative society that is respectful of individual choice
Close
Projects such as The Consent Project seek to create awareness about legal protections and prohibitions. They challenge norms about what it means to be desirable, to be a man, to be “cool”. And they open conversations on personal spaces and consent.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Projects such as The Consent Project seek to create awareness about legal protections and prohibitions. They challenge norms about what it means to be desirable, to be a man, to be “cool”. And they open conversations on personal spaces and consent.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Start talking to boys on what constitutes consent

UPDATED ON MAY 15, 2020 05:18 PM IST
If sex education is such a loaded term, call it something else — value education, life skills, consent education — but we can no longer ignore how desperately we need it in India’s school curriculums.
Close
An Afghan woman with a child waits for alms in front of closed shops during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Kabul, Afghanistan April 23, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail(REUTERS)
An Afghan woman with a child waits for alms in front of closed shops during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Kabul, Afghanistan April 23, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail(REUTERS)

The lockdown is hard for women with disability

PUBLISHED ON MAY 01, 2020 06:22 PM IST
Before Covid-19, women with disabilities were already undergoing their own lockdown, invisible and shut out from the rest of the world. Now, the walls are closing in.
Close
Six days before Kerala recorded its first coronavirus case on January 30, health minister KK Shailaja made plans. She was following the news from Wuhan, China, where many students from the state were studying, and the minister knew there was no room for complacency.(ANI)
Six days before Kerala recorded its first coronavirus case on January 30, health minister KK Shailaja made plans. She was following the news from Wuhan, China, where many students from the state were studying, and the minister knew there was no room for complacency.(ANI)

Covid-19: The centrality and invisibility of women

PUBLISHED ON APR 17, 2020 07:31 PM IST
As the world battles the pandemic, it cannot be a coincidence that countries headed by women — Taiwan, Germany, New Zealand — are doing comparatively well. In Taiwan, President Tsai Ing-Wen’s early intervention, including screening passengers from Wuhan, limited the outbreak to 393 infections and six deaths.
Close
An ongoing study by researchers at Northwestern University, the University of Mannheim, Germany, and the University of California, San Diego, finds that women are bearing a disproportionate economic burden of the coronavirus disease.(Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)
An ongoing study by researchers at Northwestern University, the University of Mannheim, Germany, and the University of California, San Diego, finds that women are bearing a disproportionate economic burden of the coronavirus disease.(Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)

Women are bearing the brunt of the lockdown

PUBLISHED ON APR 03, 2020 05:48 PM IST
The silver lining in the Covid-19 shock would be this disruption of India’s business-as-usual labour market. “In the long-term, when companies realise how beneficial work from home is, the biggest beneficiaries would be women,” says Mahesh Vyas, managing director and CEO, Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy.
Close
We made her the braveheart who accepted her martyrdom. A martyr is someone who embraces death, usually for a religious cause(AP)
We made her the braveheart who accepted her martyrdom. A martyr is someone who embraces death, usually for a religious cause(AP)

Reclaiming the identity of the December 16 victim

UPDATED ON MAR 20, 2020 07:49 PM IST
To honour the one who died, we could begin by reclaiming her identity and calling her by her name
Close
Symbol for gender equality. Hand turns a dice and changes a unequal sign to a equal sign between symbols of men and women.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Symbol for gender equality. Hand turns a dice and changes a unequal sign to a equal sign between symbols of men and women.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

How to bring men into conversations on gender| Opinion

PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2020 05:14 PM IST
If men and women are to work as equal partners, then we need new rules of engagement, ones that understand the centrality of mutual respect and consent
Close
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in New Delhi, February 19, 2020(PTI)
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in New Delhi, February 19, 2020(PTI)

How Kejriwal failed Delhi’s women voters

PUBLISHED ON FEB 21, 2020 06:24 PM IST
Women want politicians who will listen to them. The AAP’s work in schools and mohalla clinics, free bus rides for women and subsidies for electricity and water was a major draw. But if Kejriwal really wants to be a game-changer, he might want to end an old bias and recognise that there can be no democratic representation if 48.1% of the country’s population is shut out.
Close
Playing together teaches the team respect for each other. It breaks stereotypes. And it teaches the players that public spaces belong to all.(NAMITA BHANDARE)
Playing together teaches the team respect for each other. It breaks stereotypes. And it teaches the players that public spaces belong to all.(NAMITA BHANDARE)

Gender stereotypes can be broken. Here is how

PUBLISHED ON FEB 07, 2020 07:17 PM IST
In a slum in New Delhi, a group of young women and men are making their city safer
Close
All over the world, women bear a disproportionate burden of household chores. This “sexist economic system” has resulted in gross imbalances in paid work, finds an Oxfam report released this past week(HT)
All over the world, women bear a disproportionate burden of household chores. This “sexist economic system” has resulted in gross imbalances in paid work, finds an Oxfam report released this past week(HT)

Recognise unpaid care work as a common good

UPDATED ON JAN 24, 2020 08:16 PM IST
Care work is highly gendered and a barrier to women’s participation in the paid economy. It’s time we changed that
Close
SHARE
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • ...
Story Saved