A Wall We Can Get Behind: India’s “Women Wall”

Allow me to divert your attention from the U.S.’s controversial border wall proposal for a wall of a different sort: India’s “women wall,” a continuous chain of over five million women stretching nearly 400 miles through the state of Kerala, India.

Unlike Trump’s plan, this wall aims to uplift rather than oppress. The women came together in an act of solidarity to call for respect, equality and, more specifically, entrance into one of the region’s most holy buildings.

Check out a brief video from the event:

Until recently, Sabarimla, a Hindu temple in Kerala, has forbidden women of reproductive age from entering the holy grounds. The concern amongst religious leaders is that the women might be menstruating, which they consider to be “offensive” to the celibate god Ayyappan for whom the temple honors.

That changed a few months ago when the Indian Supreme Court decided that banning women in this manner was discriminatory. “Where a man can enter, a woman can also go,” the court ruled. “What applies to a man applies to a woman.”

Alas, angry religious conservatives upset with the rule change have attacked most of the women who have tried to visit the temple since that time, effectively blocking them from entering. Two women were finally able to get in on Wednesday, but required a heavy police escort to get past the angry mobs.

The women’s wall formed in response to the societal rejection of the law. Their massive, peaceful demonstration – which drew women of all ages, classes and religions – stands in direct contrast to the violent riots enacted throughout the region by opponents of the court’s decision.

Though men are largely leading the charges to keep women out of the temple (not to mention other parts of society,) that’s not a universal stance amongst the male gender. Many men stood near the women’s wall and saluted their female counterparts in a sign of support for their plight and dignity.

Subhashini Ali, the vice president of the All India Democratic Women’s Association, joined the protest to keep the conversation on equality going. “There are many, many forms of discrimination which are done in the name of tradition,” she explained. “It is an issue important for women and democracy.”

Speaking to Buzzfeed, fellow participant Suvarna Haridas said, “The excitement was palpable. Everyone truly felt like they were part of a special moment in the history of our tiny, wonderful state.”

Resistance to gender equality may remain strong in India, but this 385-mile long human chain is evidence that women are communicating and uniting on behalf of progress. Following the women-led protests against the country’s pervasive sexual violence problem, overdue positive change seems inevitable.

Photo Credit:

67 comments

Paula A
Paula A2 days ago

Thank you

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Shae Lee
Shae L12 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Shanta B
Shanta B13 days ago

Glad that you liked the article, Wendy

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wendy kelly
wendy k14 days ago

Thanks for sharing Kevin, and a good explanation Shanta xxxxxxxxx

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Shanta B
Shanta B14 days ago

This human wall was formed to protest against the gender discrimination by our current government which is audacious enough to defy and turn down the Supreme Court verdict enabling the women under the age group of fifty ( menstruating age )into a temple. The fundamentalist rulers are citing " tradition " as it's excuse . They have unleashed a reign of terror in the name of religion and tradition. This wall is a barrier between the liberals and progressive minded people and the orthodox illogical groups

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Glennis W
Glennis W14 days ago

All so wonderful Thank you for caring and sharinmg

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Glennis W
Glennis W14 days ago

Fantastic Thank you for caring and sharinmg

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Glennis W
Glennis W14 days ago

Awesome Thank you for caring and sharinmg

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Glennis W
Glennis W14 days ago

Thank you for caring and sharinmg

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Janis K
Janis K14 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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