#MappingTrends: Why aren’t women a major part of social discourse and debate?

  • Recently, an English news channel did a panel discussion around IPL scandal. What was appalling was the lack of a female voices on the panel.

So, how difficult is it to find one female representative in a panel involving eight people? From topics related to politics, foreign policy and sports, debates on prime time television aren’t anything new. Usually, the panel selection is directed by the editor-in-chief and co-ordinated by production assistants.

What is shocking is the certain disregard to include female voices, as seen time and again in an all boys club to discuss issues. The point is, there are enough experts for any topic or theme. Its just a matter of researching well. If you cannot find one, you aren’t searching properly.

So, if you do not have women experts, how do you plan to provide an all encompassing debate that involves voices from a wide spectrum discussing issues from different point of views? A Manel cannot be an all-encompassing voice and in a patriarchal society, the more women are included in public discourse, the better it gets.

Safecity founder Elsa Marie recently called out Times Now for not including any female member in a Manel (Panel with all men) while debating on IPL scandal when I was curating the handle @PinTheCreep.

ElsaMarie‏@elsamariedsilva

Why no women’s voices on @timesnow panel on #IPLVerdict? #genderequality @pinthecreep Aren’t women part of fan base?cant find women experts?

NDTV Chief Barkha Dutt, who had a panel on the same day had a diverse set of panel members including women for the same topic. She raised the point and explained it on Twitter to @PinTheCreep.

Read LadiesFinger’s piece that shatters the idea of a MANEL

And when we look around now, we see misrepresentation everywhere! From a dialogue process on foreign policy that consisted only of the all-boys-club to CEO Summit with hardly any diverse voices. So, how do we break the glass ceiling and get a gender neutral voice, if women aren’t given much credence?

Meanwhile, below are some well-known names who raised the issue:

Anand Ranganathan ‏@ARangarajan1972 Jul 18

Totally agree with @rupasubramanya. Despicable, wrought-iron ceiling in evidence everywhere, and especially in panels. #AllMalePanellists

Rupa Subramanya ‏@rupasubramanya Jul 18

If they manage to get a woman on a panel discussing foreign policy,ikely she’ll be a dynast or there cos of some connection @ARangarajan1972

Sadanand Dhume ‏@dhume Jul 18

@rupasubramanya In fact many of India’s smartest FoPo thinkers are women: @NMenonRao @suhasinih @horror06 @ManjeetKrip among others.

Hence, we are keeping a track of such #Manels and events which have zero representation of women with the hashtag #MappingTrends. So, whenever you come across any summit, event or television debate without a diverse set of voices, please tweet @VishalManve12 and @ElsaMarie with the hashtag #MappingTrends.

Lets get the panel back from an all exclusive manel!

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