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The Feminifesto Podcast

The Feminifesto Podcast

Author: The Red Elephant Foundation

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The Feminifesto Podcast: A podcast that chronicles women's voices and narratives in the domains of International Relations, Peacebuilding and Politics.
43 Episodes
Episode 39 - Tena Pick

Episode 39 - Tena Pick


In this episode, Vaishnavi an Kirthi speak to Tena Pick, a gender equality activist, educator, and social impact assessment specialist, as well as the founder of Project Kal.
In this episode, Vaishnavi and Kirthi speak to Norette Turimuci, the Executive Director of Resonate.
On the occasion of International Women's Day, Bhavana Akella, Rohitha Naraharisetty, Sri Indrasenan, Malavika Mani, Vaishnavi Pallapothu, and Kirthi Jayakumar share their rendition of The Rapist in You.
On the occasion of International Women's Day, Harini Ravi, Raakhee Suryaprakash, Suraksha Chandrasekar, Vasanthi Shweta, and Yashasvini Rajeshwar perform Maya Angelou's poem, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."
In this episode, Vaishnavi and Kirthi spoke to Neesha Amrish, a designer who makes sustainable, non-violent, and environment-friendly clothing through her line of work with Ahimsa Silk.
Episode 35 - Mary Kate

Episode 35 - Mary Kate


In this episode, Kirthi and Vaishnavi interview Mary Kate Costello, Senior Policy Analyst and UN Representative, The Hunger Project. Mary Kate joined The Hunger Project family as a Policy Analyst in August 2014. She had previously been a Fellow for the Alliance for International Youth Development – in partnership with InterAction – and the Executive Program Director for Youth Futures International (YFI) in Ghana. As Senior Policy Analyst, Mary Kate is responsible for The Hunger Project’s global advocacy, namely multilateral diplomacy with the UN and World Bank and participation in various civil society coalitions. This includes scaling up the Movement for Community-led Development, prioritizing women-centric programming, proving sustainable impact from partnerships with local government, and influencing policy environments that enable youth engagement and integrated development approaches. Mary Kate was co-chair of the Alliance to End Hunger’s International Working Group from 2017 – 2019. She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Round Table in DC and co-leads the design and investment strategies for The Hunger Project’s Youth Engagement Strategy. Mary Kate holds a BA in Political Science and minors in Eastern European Studies and “Faith, Peace and Justice” from Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. She also studied Third World politics and ethics in government at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and is currently a candidate for her Master of Arts in International Relations in the School of International Studies at American University.
Episode 34 - Nayani

Episode 34 - Nayani


V.T. Nayani is a director, producer, and writer dedicated to stories for the screen. Her first feature documentary SHADEISM: DIGGING DEEPER (2015) had its World Premiere at the 2015 Zanzibar International Film Festival, where it received a Special Jury Recognition. Nayani is an alumni of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Workshop for Diverse Creators, the HotDocs’ Doc Accelerator Program, and the 2017 ReelWorld Film Festival's Emerging 20 Program. She is also a recipient of the 2017 UN Women Yvonne M. Hebert Award for filmmakers and media makers. In the spring of 2018, Nayani's first feature drama as a director and co-writer, THIS PLACE (2020), was selected as a recipient of Telefilm Canada's inaugural Talent to Watch Program. In late 2018, Nayani had the honour of shadowing and interning with her mentor, acclaimed cinematographer Bradford Young, on the set of Netflix's limited series WHEN THEY SEE US. She was most recently a recipient of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television's 2019 MVP Project grant, presented by The Prism Prize and RBCxMusic. Her work and artistic development has also been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, ArtReach Toronto, AWID, and TIFF. Nayani feels blessed to work at the intersection of cinema and social justice, working collectively to create and share screen work that seeks to say something, and engage audiences both aesthetically and consciously.
In this episode, Kirthi and Vaishnavi speak to Amy Oestriecher. Amy is an artist, writer, and influential speaker whose work is rooted in inspiration and built to be eclectic. From the visual arts to music to writing to education, click on any of the pictures above to explore her work and services offered. These include offerings such as a variety of hailed workshops and outreach programs, the sale of her visual art and fashion line, her original multimedia solo-musical PASSAGEWAYS, and her newly released book
In this episode, Kirthi and Vaishnavi talk to Sharada Balasubramanian, an independent environmental and development journalist. She has been reporting on water, climate change, conservation, agriculture, energy, for over fifteen years. Her stories hinge heavily on in-depth ground reporting. In the last many years, as a development and environmental journalist.
Vaishnavi and Kirthi speak to Sonal Kapoor, the Founder Director at Protsahan India Foundation. She has done her graduation in Microbiology from Delhi University and post graduation from SIIB and Indian School of Business. Sonal is a member, expert committee on anti-child trafficking (Delhi Commission of Women) and member of CSO Coalition to End Child Marriage in India. She is a Vital Voices fellow, World Bank Fellow & Blogger, Australia India Youth Dialog Fellow, Goldman Sachs ISB Woman Social Entrepreneur, FICCI and CII Awardee. She is a speaker of repute at Harvard School of Graduate Education, Boston and Chicago University and several IIMs and IITs. She often engages with students from colleges across the world on the issue of social entrepreneurship. She has received several national and international acclaims for her work with vulnerable children across the country.
In this episode, Vaishnavi and Kirthi speak to Soraya Chemaly, an award-winning writer and media critic whose writing appears regularly in national and international media including The Atlantic, The Nation, Verge, Quartz, TIME, Salon, The Guardian and The New Statesman. She speaks frequently on topics related to inclusivity, free speech, sexualized violence, data and technology. She is the director of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project an initiative dedicated to expanding women’s civic and political participation. She currently serves on the national boards of the Women's Media Center and Women, Action and the Media, as well as on the advisory councils of the Center for Democracy and Technology, VIDA, and Common Sense Media. As an activist, Ms. Chemaly has spear-headed multiple successful campaigns challenging corporations to address online harassment and abuse, restrictive content moderation and censorship, and institutional biases that affect free speech. Prior to 2010, Ms. Chemaly spent more than fifteen years as a market development executive and consultant in the media and data technology industries. In the early 1990s, after several years at the Gannett Corporation, where she was involved in establishing the newspaper industry’s first subscriber and advertisers databases, she moved into the datatech sector with Claritas Inc. These work experiences give her unique insights into internet data development, leading her to fight vigorously again their abuses.
A group of women from a small village Paalaguttapalle in Chittoor District in Andhra Pradesh came together to create Paalaguttapalle bags. These women - Annapurna, Anita, Rani, Lakshmikantha, Annapurna(Buji), Roopa, Kala, Ramila, and Nirmala - continue to run their initiative today. After drought struck and agriculture slowed down, they began stitching bags to sustain their families. Today, they’ve supplied high quality products all over the world, and also make delicious pickles, free of preservatives, using traditional recipes. In this episode, Vaishnavi speaks to the women in Telugu. Do follow this transcript if you don't understand Telugu. Can you tell us how Paalaguttapalle bags began? We began four years ago. Some of us had some experience stitching blouses earlier and some of us were manual labourers. Most of us helped with our husbands on the farm or did odd manual labor work on and off. We began stitching bags as three women. We are all neighbours, and this made it easy to coordinate. We used to help stitch bags together on a needs-basis, whenever we were asked. We had a massive drought and agriculture failed, so our means of livelihood took a beating.We met Aparna at around that time, and she asked us to consider making a business out of it. She recommended that we could make money and export the bags, as a lot of people would be able to buy them at reasonable prices. When the orders increased, we had three, and then four, more women join us. How has your personal life changed/improved because of your involvement with this initiative? We run this business entirely on our own. It gives us economic independence and helps us earn our own money. We have been able to educate our children, too. We do not need to rely on agricultural work and any other source of income.How did you learn to make these bags and can you take us through the process?We use cotton, and follow the template of plastic bags to create our bags. We did not formally learn from anyone. We began stitching with the cotton that we had at home, and found that it was marketable. Once we realized that we could use it as a venture to make money, we began. Aparna invested in the first lot of materials for us, and bought our first lot of cotton. We customize the design, shape, and size to suit the needs of our customers. We come up with creative patterns and ideas, and some of our customers also give us ideas that we use. Can you tell us about any memorable anecdotes with your customers that you remember?We have a frequent customer from the US, Aravinda, who placed our first order and continues to place multiple orders. She also sends us sarees and gifts, and takes care of us very well. She has also guided us on designs. We also have another customer from the UK who orders a lot from us. Each customer is important for us and we are very happy to deliver the products to them. What are some of your challenges? How can our listeners help and support your work? The main problem we face are with postage. We have to commute to the nearest post office, which is quite a walk. Sometimes, they refuse to send the goods in bulk, so we split up the delivery among several post offices. We sometimes have to rely on courier services, which is quite expensive. The best way anyone can support is us by placing orders. Help us grow our business and make it as big as possible.
Episode 28 - Ather Zia

Episode 28 - Ather Zia


In this episode, Kirthi and Vaishnavi speak to Ather Zia, a political anthropologist, poet, and short fiction writer. She teaches at the University of Northern Colorado Greeley. She is the author of Resisting Disappearances: Military Occupation and Women’s Activism in Kashmir (University of Washington Press, 2019) and co-editor of Resisting Occupation in Kashmir (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018) and A Desolation called Peace: Voices from Kashmir (HarperCollins, 2019). She has published a poetry collection “The Frame” (J&K Cultural Academy of Arts and Languages, 1999) and another collection is forthcoming. Her ethnographic poetry on Kashmir has won an award from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology. She is the founder-editor of Kashmir Lit and is the co-founder of Critical Kashmir Studies Collective, an interdisciplinary network of scholars working on the Kashmir region. An ex-journalist she continues to write for mainstream journals.
Episode 27 - Mary King

Episode 27 - Mary King


In this episode, Vaishnavi and Kirthi speak with Dr Mary Elizabeth King, a professor of peace and conflict studies at the University for Peace, affiliated with the United Nations, political scientist and author of five major books on non-violent struggle. She is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and has a doctorate in international politics from Aberystwyth University, Britain. [Image Copyright Martine Sprangers Fotografie ©]
Vaishnavi and Kirthi reflect on the past year at Feminifesto and share their favourite moments from their journey so far.
Kirthi and Vaishnavi speak to Deborah Dauda, mother, an educator, dancer, and activist from Nigeria with keen interest and passion for the progress of African and African-Diaspora communities on matters relating to education, social inclusion, maternal/child health, peace-building, youth development, and the creative arts. She has a knack for finding common grounds in unfamiliar places/situations and uses this unique skill to bring people together and to create safe spaces for networking, collaboration, and ideation. Deborah has worked and volunteered with organizations in West/East Africa, South America, South Asia, and the United States, as a consultant, coordinator, writer, and choreographer. Her educational background includes graduate degrees in Public Health (MPH) and African Studies (MA) and an undergraduate degree in International Development Studies (BA) from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She begins her Ph.D. program in the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development (SGISD) at the University of Massachusetts, Boston in Fall 2019 with a thematic focus on Gender, Security Sector Reform (SSR) and policies of exclusion. Deborah loves Fela Kuti and Angelique Kidjo’s music and volunteers for the Red Elephant Foundation on civilian peace-building activities. When she is not working, she is keeping up with her awesome son, designing costumes, and brainstorming/ mapping out ideas on how to make Africa’s social, political, and economic sovereignty a reality.
In this episode, Kirthi and Vaishnavi speak to Urmila Chanam, a menstrual hygiene and women’s rights activist and Founder & CEO of Breaking the Silence Worldwide Foundation, an NGO working on ending myths and taboos around menstruation that act as barriers for adolescent girls and women preventing them to achieve good health, education, aspirations and dignity with special emphasis on villages. Functional in across India including north- eastern states affected by armed conflict, Manipur and Assam and expanding to Africa and Asia, the biggest impact of her work is the transition of girls and women from ‘shame to pride’, training 12,000 individuals since 2014 on menstrual hygiene management in geographies hard to reach or isolated, developing menstruation champions among women and men , working with men to change social norms around menstruation through an annual bullet bike rally called Men Take Lead Ride on 28 th May, the International Menstrual Hygiene Day, shifting the paradigm for a variety of stakeholders within the community, Government of India , civil society and media, and positioning menstrual hygiene management as a cause needing attention in policy and practice globally.
In this episode, Vaishnavi and Kirthi talk to Dorine Llanta, who is currently the Coordinator of the Call it what it is campaign at Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice. She is also finalizing her PhD on the prevention and accountability for sexual violence in international and national systems. Before joining Women’s Initiatives team, Dorine worked as a legal researcher at Amnesty International’s Center for International Justice and conducted research for the Office of the Prosecutor of the Extraordinary African Chambers. She also worked as a legal adviser for Asylum Access Ecuador and interned at the Office of the Prosecution of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
In this episode, Vaishnavi and Kirthi speak to Celine Osukwu, a leader for disability rights and women’s rights in Nigeria. Developing Kyphosis as a child, and a survivor of civil war, Celine has surmounted enormous lifelong challenges to establish the Divine Foundation for Disabled persons. Through her foundation she works tirelessly to eradicate the stigma of disabilities community mobilization, advocacy campaigns, radio programs, and political organizing that has reached millions. Her foundation also provides direct support to thousands of vulnerable persons in Nigeria with disabilities, with a particular focus on women to strengthen their self-worth and self-sufficiency. Her vision is a world that stops treating persons with disabilities as objects of charity – a world where persons with disabilities are no longer begging in the streets, and women with disabilities know their self-worth and organize others for social change.
In this episode, Kirthi and Vaishnavi talk to Apoorva Mahendru, Malavika Mani, and Sandra Jose. Focusing on the three young women and their work in the development sector, this episode presents interesting perspectives from the field.
Comments (3)

Papajetski 007

this is the retardifesto podcast

Feb 16th

Basker Balraj

What nonsense she is talking about?

Nov 8th

Jessica Xalxo

I'm so excited to learn more through the conversations at Feminifesto, especially through an Indian lens - with all its intersections. Looking forward to the first episode, Kirthi and Vaishnavi!🙌

Sep 23rd
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