Ask a Feminist | Q. 2 What is 'savarna' feminism? / by Tara Kaushal

December 2017: I answer questions that are burning your bras and run this column as a makeshift guide to the feminist way of life.

 With regard to Raya Sarkar's List, I have heard the phrase 'savarna feminism' thrown around a lot. Could you explain what it means?

“Like all movements, feminism is both theoretical and practical. In theory, we say that feminism is about equality. But what is often forgotten is that, on the ground level, equality cannot be achieved simply by offering non-male genders the right to something and believing that the problem has been solved. If you haven't been allowed to run for centuries and the playing field hasn't been level, simply levelling the field will not create equality. Teaching you to run is what will actually facilitate change. Similarly, when a community is suppressed for generations, it is not equality but equity that can both level the field and teach its members to run. So it might seem as though women and other non-male genders are 'getting more' which is 'not equality'. Remember, equity involves taking affirmative actions to compensate for the systemic historic oppression these genders have faced.”

This column appeared on Pass the Mic, the blog of Why Indian Men Rape in December 2017.