FII has a confusing history. On 23rd March 2013, it started out as a random Facebook page. Yes random, because I had no plan not even on the name. I happened to be reading a book titled Feminism in India (Issues in Contemporary Indian Feminism) edited by Maitrayee Chaudhuri and just as randomly I started a Facebook page by the same name which seemed like a good idea at that time. Then profile picture of the page used to be the cover image of this book and I still haven’t removed it as a reminder of what it was then and what it has become now.
One year down the line, FII was still only a Facebook page but had upgraded from its random status to ‘this is something’ status. In this time of in-between randomness, I woke up sweaty one night at 2 AM and decided that I will do a ‘I need feminism’ campaign; immediately I texted my friend and within a week we had sorted out contacts at Ambedkar University, Delhi and Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology, where we held our first campaign and also laid the foundation stone of FII.
In August 2014, I launched www.feminisminindia.com and yes, this time I had a plan. I have never looked back since that day. For sometime, I was confused about what should be our official birth date and now after an internal discussion with my team, we have decided to celebrate 19th August – the date when we published our first article – as our birth anniversary.
I want to make a special note about my team. In early 2015, our first team member Swetha joined me. After that Shreyasi and Adishi trickled in. Now we are a six-member strong team and 30,000+ community. What is extraordinary about my team is that none of us knew each other before and we all met as writers on FII. We are a virtual team, who live in different cities and countries and actually some of the team members haven’t met each other till date, but have been working together since more than an year. What is even more extraordinary is that all of them came to FII as volunteers, taking out time from their already busy schedule all for the love, passion and belief in FII. Another person who is a constant advocate, supporter and friend of FII is Karthika. None of us including me ever thought FII would become a feminist media organisation one day.
2016 is a special year for us. I quit my job early this year to work full-time on FII. Yes, I have an even better plan. 2016 is also the year where FII finally got registered, expanded the team and started a lot of new initiatives. We won two awards, conducted a research on online violence against women in India, started digital and social media trainings for NGOs and apart from our own campaigns, we will now be campaigning with NGOs. I also presented FII at various global conferences and most importantly we took a stand on intersectional feminist movements, social justice and affirmative action. We received a lot of backlash for our affirmative action-oriented editorial policy, but we put our foot down.
I want to take this opportunity and thank each and every person who has written, read and believed in FII, we wouldn’t be here without you. We have come long and far in this short time. We have had many ups and downs but mostly achieved much within a short span of two years that we ourselves get surprised and overwhelmed. Before, I get too emotional, I’d like to end this short note here and share an infographic on FII’s achievements and impact in these two years. Cheers!