Suparna Sharma and Kirthi Jayakumar on Gender Equality at Home and Work – ‘The Brown Box’ Ep.3

In ep.3 of ‘The Brown Box’ podcast by Rani Jeyaraj for eShe, journalist Suparna Sharma and activist Kirthi Jayakumar talk about gender equality and the looming threat of sexual harassment at the workplace.

In the Global Gender Gap Report 2021 by World Economic Forum, India has slipped 28 places to rank 140 among 156 countries. And for women in India, we don’t need statistics for us to realise that gender equality — which put really simply means equal access and opportunities for all genders — doesn’t exist. This is something we know and feel every day.

Whether it’s at the home or the workplace, whether it’s denial of opportunities or sexual harassment, all women — even those raised in the most gender-equal homes — feel the bite of discrimination due to gender once they step out into the real world. For most women and girls, the discrimination begins within the family, from the day they are born.

In the third episode of The Brown Box hosted by Rani Jeyaraj, created in collaboration with eShe, we discuss this subject of gender equality.

Rani speaks with two inspirational women who have very different but equally impactful stories to share: Suparna Sharma and Kirthi Jayakumar.

Firstly, Suparna Sharma, resident editor of The Asian Age, Delhi. She is responsible for the Delhi edition of the paper, as well as the Kolkata and London editions. In her career, which began in 1991, Suparna has worked with the Indian Express, India Today and the Times of India.

She is also a film critic at The Asian Age and Deccan Chronicle. Her film reviews often have strong opinions about the depiction of women in movies.

In the podcast, she talks about being a young reporter at a time when expressing feminine needs was a sign of weakness. She also talks about her time working with MJ Akbar, a senior journalist and politician who was accused by over a dozen women of sexual harassment at the workplace.

The second guest on the podcast is Kirthi Jayakumar, an activist on women’s rights issues and peace and conflict. She runs The Gender Security Project, a think tank that works at the intersection of gender, peace, security, feminist foreign policy, and transitional justice.

Kirthi’s career marks her out as a woman who is constantly looking for ways to empower other women, pivoting, changing and realigning her approaches to meet the next problem. Kirthi joined the workforce around 2010.

Listen to their powerful conversation here:

About The Brown Box

The Brown Box is a podcast in which we discuss the good, the bad and the crazy that make up the country we love, India. Through conversations with inspirational women from different walks of life, we discuss the complexities of life as an Indian woman. Through topics ranging from food and books to colourism and gender violence, we discover similarities, we learn to accept differences and we unpack the Brown Box.

About Rani Jeyaraj

Rani Jeyaraj is a content creator who has spent over 20 years telling the stories of different individuals from the APAC region through videos and podcasts. Beginning her working career as a model, it didn’t take long for Rani to realise that her true calling was behind the camera and not in front of it.

She worked her way up from a runner to an assistant director, finally branching out on her own as an ad film director. A shift to Singapore allowed her to broaden her passion for storytelling. She now creates ads, travel shows, online content and podcasts – the format doesn’t really matter, she just loves to tell people’s stories.

Do share your thoughts about the podcast in the comments below. You can reach Rani Jeyaraj on thebrownbox2021@gmail.com.

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