Ever heard of ‘empowering’ men on the International Women’s Day?
That is precisely what Padma Shri-awardee Janak Palta McGilligan, Director, Jimmy McGilligan Centre for Sustainable Development, Indore, will do on Thursday when the world celebrates International Women’s Day.
Seventy-year-old McGilligan, who was decorated with the Padma Shri (in 2015) for social service, will conduct a training workshop on solar cooking at the centre’s campus. “We have been doing for the last three years. Initially, nearly 20 men turned up, but the numbers increased subsequently,” she toldBusinessLine. There will be no age bar for men seeking to learn.
Replying to a question, she said her Baha’i faith believed in the equality of men and women. “I am no feminist in the classical sense and we don’t believe in the gender divide. I want to help those men who did not know cooking but want to help their wives in the kitchen.”
“Who says only women need to be empowered? Even men should be equally empowered in certain aspects. Cooking is one such area. It is also a truth that some of the best cooks in India are men. But most families still believe in women shouldering the responsibility of the kitchen, a myth we want to break,” McGilligan, who has received many awards and is an international advisor on solar cooking, said.
Her husband, late James (Jimmy) R. McGilligan, an Irish by birth, was a pioneer in solar cooking training in Madhya Pradesh, something which changed the lives of many families, particularly women, in the State.