New Indian Express, March 9, 2008.

Quiz to mark Women's Day
Sunday March 9 2008 09:25 IST


CHENNAI: An intercollegiate quiz on `Women in South Asia' was held, marking International Women's Day, here on Saturday.

Organised by Prajnya, a think-tank that studies the security of women among other issues, the quiz aimed at raising the consciousness of young women about the contribution of women to politics and security.

Students from five city colleges participated in the programme.

Questions on politics, mythology and sports were breezed through, while blank faces greeted most of the queries on literature and cinema.

Both the audience and participants revved up at the difficult audio-visual round which involved recognizing the voices of women leaders and identifying clips from films.

The students' research paid off, especially for the team that had spent time at the Connemara Library.

V Shruti and N V Vardhini of M O P Vaishnav won by a margin of more than 30 points, to walk off with the trophy. Devna Rastogi and S Krithika of Stella Maris came second.


Deccan Chronicle, October 18, 2008

Aiding women to walk free

H arassment seems to be an issue that several women across the country deal with on a regular basis - whether it’s while walking on the streets or while travelling in public transport. To counter the same, a national campaign has now been set into motion by the Blank Noise community pro ject called the Step by step Guide to Unapologetic Walking.

It urges women to walk without fear on the streets of their cities at any point of time in the day while following a few guidelines. The instructions comprise steps like ‘walking without your arms crossed or folded, without staring down at the ground, wearing the one dress you always wanted to, but did not because someone made you feel you are asking for it among other things’. Speaking about the response from Chennai regarding her campaign, Jasmeen Patheja, the founder of Blank Noise says, “So far, I have received an extremely positive feedback from Chennai. Quite a few people have emailed me from Chennai, expressing their excitement on hearing about the campaign and their desire to join the same.”S pread over a period of three weeks, the participants have been asked to post their experiences while trying out one or more of the instructions on the official site Jasmeen says, “Most of our activities are based on the simple premise of enjoying the streets. It’s about challenging ourselves not as performers but as individuals. So I listed the simple things women deny themselves walking on roads. For instance, most women look directly at the ground while walking on streets. Right from childhood, we are asked to look down and mind our own business. So I thought of pushing ourselves a bit to see what happens if we break or question the rules.” Dr. Swarna Rajagopalan, the managing trustee and the director of The Prajnya Trust, which plans on joining Blank Noise for a campaign in the city says, “It is a wonderful initiative and a good beginning for a just cause. All too often women are restricted in their interactions in public. I believe more women should come forward and participate in such endeavours. They should be bold enough to walk anytime, anywhere. And such changes are required in our society today.” She adds, “Women need to do things that will inspire other women to follow this unapologetic walking. This will make others to think about it and even they will tend to follow her. Few girls in this society are still scared and timid, this state should completely change. They have to come out of it. If these kinds of campaigns are done regularly it will create much awareness in the public.” Divya Bharathi, a techie says, “It is a good approach. In most of the schools and colleges there lies a different scenario. Still the girls are reserved and they are scared to move socially with the guys. This kind of campaign will bring a big difference to the society. I person ally appreciate this initiative and it will be a successful one if it reaches people for those who are really in need of such campaigns. So that it will help quite a lot of girls to be bold enough to face any situation. I too wish to join this campaign” However there are also those who feel that such campaigns may not be the be all and end all. Says K.M. Ramathal, the chairperson of the Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women “Compared to other cities Chennai is a lot safer for women. Of course, every city has its own problems. In Chennai, women are usually more protected by their parents or spouses and asked to play it safe. But they fail to note that women can manage things better than a man.