A.G Krishna Menon
Architect / Urban Planner
Karma Lendhup Bhutia
Design Innovation Strategist
Photographer / Communication Designer
Author / Fashion Journalist
Researcher, Women’s Safety/Gender Inclusion in cities
The Design X Design Annual Roundtable – 4, titled ‘DESIGN NARA YA MADA’ – Gender Sensitivity in Design Practices in India, took up for discussion gender and design in India. The question of gender equity in society is as complex as it is vast. Design as a canvas to discuss gender is in many ways problematic and yet, it is uniquely located to provide more clarity and incisiveness to the discussion. Lying as it does at the confluence of utility, consumption and cultural practices, design has the unique ability to change society, be changed by it and also critique it, all at the same time.
India is a society with deeply entrenched patriarchy into which the profession and formal practice of design was introduced, ostensibly through a patriarchal state. Like the nation, design-based creative practices here do have a commitment to gender parity. And to this end, both can invoke legacies that predate their hegemonisation or can envision futures beyond it. But has Indian design rescinded from this commitment? Has there been enough vigour and introspection evinced by Indian designers in addressing, what is obviously, an ongoing challenge in society?