Surbhi Bhatia discusses #SocialSurfing

Having had the chance to take part in a one-day workshop on ‘#SocialSurfing’ organized to create awareness about a safe and gender sensitive on-line experience by the Centre for Social Research, one of the leading think-tanks in the domain of issues related to empowerment of women, I am glad to have this opportunity to write and share about my experience, both as an active female user of the social media platforms and as a student pursuing Masters in Public Policy, with a new found interest in internet governance and reforming the actions that take away the safety of women on the world wide web.

Surbhi Bhatia

As part of the interactive caravan that the organization’s initiative was, touring colleges across the country, I was delighted that they stopped by our institution and gave us a chance to speak about our plight as urban, modern, college going women. The presentation provided us with the growing incidence coupled with facts, figures and cases that leave women helpless in the wake of cyber stalking, sexual harassment, unauthorized usage and manipulation of personal images and videos. Whatever motivates individuals to take up such actions is reflective of the growing misogyny and patriarchy embedded in our society which is exactly what the workshop left us questioning: Will a virtual world ever be safe for women, when the real world is failing to do so?

Progress in our country would be incomplete without bringing about virtual security for women especially when the country is transitioning from classifieds to LinkedIn profiles, matrimonial advertisements to Tinder bios and is reaching out to individuals and opportunities across by being on social networks such as Facebook, twitter and Instagram. Are the careers and choices of women to be restrained just as their personal freedom gets snatched away by escalating incidents of rapes and acid attacks in the country? Will humanity ever get to witness a time where the mind is without fear for the women of this country?

Freedom, thus, acts as a cornerstone that anchors this thought. Women over the centuries have witnessed a surge in attaining this freedom in certain waves, and with time, now a virtual struggle – for their privacy and security. The internet is the hive that our civilization can now be found in. We are in an advantageous position of reforming such granularity of relationships by engineering and allowing the great medium to evolve. The value of such freedom and equality rests on the quality of the medium that delivers it. Based on such an understanding, the campaign design competition saw our group at Xavier’s design our own campaign, “Equality of e-quality” the logo of which is included here with this testimonial.

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