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Religious discrimination against Women must end

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On Gudi Padwa, women enter Shani Shingnapur temple for the first time Image source: www.ibtimes.co.in
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It’s a common trend that where social, political and religious systems fail, the judiciary steps in – as in the case of the entry of women to the Shani Shingnapur temple.

A centuries-old bastion of the patriarchal social construct was smashed to smithereens. The women activists from the Bhumata Brigade, led by Trupti Desai, were successful in entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Shani temple. Trupti hailed the decision of Shani Shingnapur temple trustees to open the gates of the sacred chabutra (platform) for men and women devotees, and said it was a prudent step on their part.

“Der aayad, durust aayad!” said a spirited Trupti and hoped the trustees at the Trimbakeshwar and Mahalaxmi temples in Nashik and Kolhapur too would follow suit to treat women devotees at par with men.

One would congratulate Trupti for her stoic resistance as it was after her activism that TV debates were generated and many storms raised in teacups besides the national print media highlighting the issue.

Priyanka Jagtap, another member of the Bhumata Brigade, celebrated the court’s observation at the temple premises by distributing sweets. “It’s a big victory for all the womenfolk of Maharashtra and the country. It is an occasion to celebrate,” she said.

The main question that needs to be asked is whether this outburst of activism against ritualistic practices in Hindu temples is a legitimate effort to break the almost 400-year-old tradition.

What’s unfortunate is that most religions talk about gender equality, but it is either totally defunct or reduced to lip-service as totem. The question is whether it is the followers of Hinduism or Islam or any other religion,who vie with one another to deprive their women of equal rights.

The aim of these lines is to convey a message to the custodians of women’s rights – the men – to remind them of the cultural traditions that are mired in gender discrimination. In this context, whether it is Shani Shingnapur, Haji Ali Baba or Kerala’s Sabarimala temple, all these famed religious places have banned the entry of women.

Politically, the BJP has been accused of vitiating the atmosphere in Sabarimala. However, it would be preposterous to suggest that all villagers in this temple town are BJP or right-wing activists. According to social commentator Sreemoy Talukdar, the patriarchal mores lie so deep that even women (and probably more so) were the first ones to take umbrage of the ‘breach’ which they fear will bring calamity on their families.

Talukdar feels that Kerala’s Sabarimala temple authorities have stuck to their stand – in the face of legal scrutiny from the Supreme Court of banning all women between the ages of 10 and 50 from entering temple precincts citing ritualistic practices and traditions.

They claim Lord Ayyappa, who attracts more than 50 million devotees each year, is a sworn celibate. They do not want the apex court to interfere in religious practices.

In Mumbai’s Dargah Haji Ali Baba, it is really something totally inexplicable that women are not allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum in spite of the fact that Islam has granted equal rights to woman. During the days of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), Muslim women used to go to the mosque to pray. However, after him, some myopic and orthodox Muslims asked women to stay at home.

Nevertheless, the larger question is about the general exploitation of women by men from all religions.

They are not given their rights and, at the slightest provocation, are maltreated, beaten, divorced and even murdered.

Trupti’s campaign – that of challenging the patriarchal hegemony over religion, its practices and ending stigmas against women – would only materialize truly if the activism continues. (IANS)

 

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Television Academy sets new standards of professional conduct

One key document that has taken on added resonance with recent events is the Television Academy's Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct

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The Television Academy is participating as a member of the Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace.
The Television Academy is participating as a member of the Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace. Wikimedia Commons
  • Chairman Hayma Washington sent a letter to Academy members, linking to the two-page code of conduct
  • Violations of the code may result in disciplinary action
  • One key document that has taken on added resonance with recent events is the Television Academy’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct

Following the lead of the film academy and other Hollywood guilds, the Television Academy has established its own new code of ethics and standards of professional conduct.

Chairman Hayma Washington sent a letter to Academy members, linking to the two-page code of conduct, reports variety.com.

The document read: “The Academy has zero tolerance for discrimination or harassment, as well as illegal, dishonest or unethical conduct. The Academy will not tolerate, condone, or ignore unethical conduct and is committed to enforcing these standards at all levels.”

Violations of the code may result in disciplinary action, “up to and including being refused admission or ejected from an event, being barred from future events, or the suspension or expulsion of membership”.

Also Read: Where is Indian Television Steering?

In the wake of the sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, the Academy voted in November to permanently expel him from their ranks.

The letter read: “As we recently announced, the Television Academy has taken the last year to review and revise several of its governing documents.

One key document that has taken on added resonance with recent events is the Television Academy’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

In the wake of the sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, the Academy voted in November to permanently expel him from their ranks.
In the wake of the sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, the Academy voted in November to permanently expel him from their ranks. Wikimedia Commons

“The watershed events of the past months gave new urgency for us to revisit and revise these ethical guidelines, leaving no doubt as to the conduct and the behaviours the Television Academy expects from its leadership, members and staff. Below, we are providing a link to the revised Code of Conduct that was recently approved by your Board of Governors. Please give it a thorough read.

“The Television Academy is also proud to be participating as a member of a new industry organisation, the Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace.

Also Read: Google to nurture youth in technology through it’s 3-day India summit

“Like the Motion Picture Academy, Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG/AFTRA) and other members of the Commission, we are committed to achieving and supporting safer, more equitable and accountable workplaces.

Our revised Academy guidelines make clear that we expect nothing less from Academy leadership, members and staff than respectful conduct and behaviours that foster and maintain environments free of disruption, abuse, discrimination and harassment of others – during and outside of Academy events. This Code of Conduct is an acknowledgement that all of us share the responsibility for upholding a positive, professional, inclusive and supportive environment for our Academy business and member activities.” (IANS)