Breaking the glass ceiling of gender barriers


Pratima Sahoo, Receiving The Winner Award

(Odisha Beauty Context)

Breaking the glass ceiling of gender barriers by choosing to stand for the unprivileged ones with sheer courage and conviction round the clock although by profession she hails from teacher fraternity. During COVID she did some Stellar role in reaching out to the backwards in serving food in her own hands barring she had not let down the street animals in the virulent pandemic. In an exclusive Interview with Interview Times in a freewheeling chat about her appetite for social service and its abundance.

What inspired you to become a Social Activist?

Answer: The sensitivity in me for sufferings made me active enough to be a social activist today. Right from my childhood, ever since I could relate to my senses, I always fell for anyone’s sufferings, and pain be it a human being or an animal. Gradually, when I grew up to be able enough, I couldn’t stop serving. I still remember I saved money by not eating outside in my college days to feed the stray cats and dogs to buy fish, bread, and medicine for them. 

Did COVID reignite the term called civil social activities?

Answer: Yes, as the term civil social activity plays an important role in our society’s development. It gives us opportunities to bring communities together for collective activities, articulate demands, and concerned voice at local, regional, national, and international levels. It also gives a chance to enhance communities’ participation for a common cause, service, and decision-making to keep people moving forward in their struggle in difficult times like this COVID. 

Mrs Pratima at her Kitchen Garden

As a teacher, has the teaching methodologies wholly taken aback as online teachings emerged as an alternative teaching method?

Answer: Virtual learning offers an excellent substitute for classroom learning at the time of emergency, but classroom learning remains the primary option as a discipline can be taught through it. It is a better mode of imparting education and knowledge. Classroom teaches life skills; it will always be preferred over virtual classes as it is a more efficient way of learning. Daily interactions with teachers and peers improve the skills of students. In this global health crisis, the virtual learning system has proved its merits, but this doesn’t mean we reject traditional classroom pedagogy as it’s more experimental. Education is not limited to the syllabus only; it also includes disciplines, manners, morals, and interaction with other students and teachers. These traits are difficult to access through online teaching. 

How do you manage a professional job along with social activist?

Answer: Firstly, an activist doesn’t feel torn between the work that makes them money and makes the world a better place. I believe these two professions are my duty, and rendering service is an integral part of me. Even if I am in my profession, if the situation demands, I come out of my way to serve or help someone needy. 

Being a woman, do you feel women have a bigger role to play in building the Nation?

Answer: Yes, long back, the man was considered as the provider and woman as the nurturer. Now the times have redefined the gender roles. I agree with the quote, “If you educate a man you educate an individual but if you educate a woman you educate a nation.” India’s half population comprises of women only. We can’t think of prospering without education or empowering its half population means women, so I feel a woman has a more prominent role in building the Nation as charity begins at home, a woman or a mother is the first teacher of any child. If the first teacher is educated, then she upbrings and nurtures her child in a developed and advanced way, which means a lot. 

Feeding street dogs

How do you manage professional job along with being a social activist ?

Answer: Firstly, an activist doesn’t feel torn between the work that makes them money and the work that helps to make the world a better place. For me, the profession is performing your duty as you show your skills of what you have learned through your education but rendering social service or thinking about the society comes from within which is just innate. Even if I m on duty, if the situation demands, I come out of my way to serve or help someone who is needy. It’s an integral part of me.

What do you say of Women Empowerment in the digital world?

Answer: The digital world has opened opportunities for women globally, which were unique of its kind. It has strengthened the network of women who has a zeal for proving their mettle in fields that were once upon a time not accessible for women. It has also catered women the platform to showcase their skills in different fields and has given wings to transform their hobby into a passion and transforming them from an amateur to a professional. It has given them the arena to speak up blatantly about patriarchy fearlessly and has attracted everyone’s attention. Thus, I would conclude that the digital world has compressed women, and it is truly a blessing in disguise.

Feeding old-aged ones

Images From: InterviewTimes

Written By: Dibyajit Sahu