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#MobilePhones and #Gender #Revolutions : Online #Photo Exhibition

December 13, 2012

View most interesting '50mmphone' photos on Flickriver

CLICK ON THE PHOTO MONTAGE TO SEE THE EXHIBITION

Have you ever had one of those moments when you were feeling low, and you just had to pick up the phone and dial your mother or father or best friend, and felt instantly better soon as you heard their voice?

We are not talking about relationships here! What we are talking about is that instrument: the phone whether it connects through a cable, or satellite or Skype!

The phone today is one of the most important devices that allows connection between people,  not just to foster relationships and communications, to make your world feel a little warmer and more personal, but that also allows you to reach out for help and assistance — from all quarters.

In India the phone has till recently been a luxury that a very small percentage of the population owned.  That was because the only connections were through land cables, and much of this was government owned, and thus to ‘own’ a phone in India one had to battle a lot of bureaucracy.  However, over the last 10 years, with the markets opening up, and mobile and cell phones being cheaply and easily available, the number of phone ‘owners’ has increased exponentially!  There are villages in India that still don’t have running water, or proper roads and clinics, but the people there have phones!  If nothing else, at least they can communicate with their friends and relatives in other villages, and don’t have to take a 2 day trip by road to get their news, or wait weeks for a letter to find out about an ailing relative.

Over the last few years however, there has been a backlash from village communities against the use of cell phones by women and young girls!  Many villages have passed rules prohibiting women and girls from using phones.  Some have gone to great lengths to stop women from using phones.  They’ve imposed heavy monetary fines or threatened to throw acid at them!! 

This is not surprising at all.  The village councils say, that phones encourage women to have affairs with men outside their community and break the traditions of caste and community when it comes to marriage.  They say it makes women too forward, and independent, and strong willed.  Surely, all that’s true for men too?  So why is it not an issue for them? Perhaps because the tools and the ability to reach out for choices, for more freedom,  is something that traditionally only men are privileged to do.   And it is this small revolution that the cell phone has brought into the lives of women in villages in India, that is upsetting the men!!

So it is to celebrate the freedom and revolution that this small device — the mobile phone — has brought into the lives of women in India that we have this online photo exhibition.

CLICK ON THE PHOTO MONTAGE ON TOP TO SEE THE SLIDE SHOW.

THE ONLINE PHOTO EXHIBITION IN THIS POST IS CREATED FROM THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE 2400 PHOTOGRAPHERS WHO SUPPORT THE 50 MILLION MISSING CAMPAIGN ON FLICKR.  

To view our other online photo exhibitions click here.

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