Globalization is rapidly changing the world,” states Ed Barreveld. “That and the emergence of India as a world power player are changing Indian society. Young women realize that they can and should play a role in how the country develops. It is now legislated that Parliament and state legislative bodies have 33% female representation. And of course there have been strong women such as Indira Ghandi who was the world’s longest serving prime minister. But generally women are still undervalued; an international survey puts India fourth in the world as the most dangerous place for women. Female feticide and infanticide are still very much a reality. I’m hopeful with a stable economy, if democracy persists and the Hindu fundamentalists don’t gain the same foothold as their Muslim counterparts in most of the Arab world, that eventually things will get better for women. Let’s not just point the finger at India and the Muslim world; we in the West still have a long way to go as well, as evidenced by the recent campaigning in the US.” Cornelia Principe agrees with her male colleague. “I’m still working on how women are evolving in my country! In fact, I’m in pre-production right now on a doc for CBC on working mothers called The Motherload.” As for Nisha Pahuja, she believes, “We can’t think that people don’t fight. People always fight. They fight for change. People are fighters whether you’re fighting against racism and poverty. They fight for their rights and always have. It’s the same in India. There is a strong feminist movement that across the board. It’s in the villages, cities and the country; it’s national and that sort of momentum will continue. There is a growing backlash. There is more violence against them. There is more rape and crime. There were a couple of things that happened recently. The villages are run by things called panchayats which are village councils. In one part of India in the Punjab, the panchayats are trying to pass a resolution where the legal age girls can be married goes from 18 to 16; they feel that will stop rapists and gang rapes. That is one ridiculous thing. The other thing is that they are trying to stop teenage girls from having cellphones. The more women who are fighting for change the more of these measures are trying to restrict them. It will change. It has to change.”
Many thanks to Nisha Pahuja, Ed Barreveld and Cornelia Principe for taking the time to be interviewed.
To learn more make sure to visit the official website for The World Before Her and read our movie review here.
Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada.