Giving Compass’ Take:
• Jasmeen Patheja is the founder-director of Blank Noise, an organization in India dedicated to ending gender-based violence. She discusses the Young Women’s Leadership Initiative and the significance of female mentorship in cultivating the next generation of women leaders.
• How are donors supporting mentorship opportunities for women now? What are the benefits of programs such as this one?
• Read about the roles women can play as leadership mentors.
Artist, performer, and mentor Jasmeen Patheja has a few things to say about the power of creativity and shared learning to create change. Jasmeen is the founder-director of Blank Noise, a community of individuals called ‘Action Heroes’ across India and beyond, united to eradicate gender-based violence. Through art installations and performances, Blank Noise explores the intersection of abuse, violence, and blame in public and private spaces through art.
As a mentor to 10 young women leaders in India as part of our Young Women’s Leadership Initiative, Jasmeen has played a vital role in helping to empower the next generation of leaders. We spoke with Jasmeen over Skype from her home in Bangalore about what the program has meant to her, why she values being a mentor, what she has learned, and how she infuses art into social change movements.
So what sort of change have you noticed in the 16 years since you started Blank Noise?
The issue of street harassment and gender-based violence in the public sphere is no longer being dismissed, it’s no longer being swept under the carpet. We are collectively disturbed. We are allowing ourselves to be uncomfortable and have these conversations, versus pretending like it doesn’t exist. That’s been the biggest shift.
Why are you interested in young women’s leadership and empowering young women mentors?
There are systems in place that disallow our leadership as women. Building leadership is a process of building personal capacity, of building tools to negotiate, of keeping our ears to the ground, and of speaking with and for women a nd communities we work with. To change the tide, we need young women leaders.
Read the full article about female mentorship at Global Fund for Women.
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