As part of FII’s new Meet the Team series, we are featuring former and current employees who have worked with or are working with us currently since the inception of FII. Feminism in India as a digital intersectional feminist media platform would not exist if not for these incredible individuals who have helped build this organisation to make what it is today.
Today, we’re chatting with Swati Singh, who is from Varanasi. She completed her BA and MA in Mass Communication from Banaras Hindu University and completed a PG Diploma from the Indian Institute of Human Rights. With a passion for writing, she started her own blog on feminist issues in 2016 and published a book in 2017. She also founded Muheem in 2017, a grassroots NGO working on menstrual health and comprehensive sexuality education in Varanasi. Her journey at FII began as an intern in 2016 to becoming the Hindi Editor.
FII: What do you like most about being a part of the FII family?
Swati: What I like most about working at FII is how the organisation is truly feminist and not just in it’s name. There are so many organisations that claim to be feminist or work solely on women’s rights, but they are not feminist in their organisational structure and functioning. There is a sense of solidarity within the team at FII.
For instance, I remember this one incident where we had published an article that was controversial as it was against the ruling party. We faced trolling and a legal notice was also sent to me. There was never a moment where I was blamed for my stand or my writing by the organisation and Japleen always put her trust in me. We had two options – either we take the legal route or we remove the article. I felt that the article shouldn’t be removed and that we would go to court, if necessary. I remember receiving full support from Japleen and this work culture and feminist solidarity is what I admire most about this organisation.
FII: How has your FII journey been?
Swati: In 2016, I came across the FII internship programme announcement. The call was for English applicants and not for Hindi writers. I applied anyway and got a call back from Japleen regarding the possibility of a Hindi internship. From then, my journey with FII began. I joined FII as a permanent writer in 2017 and the rest, as they say, is history. Until very recently, I was the only member of the Hindi editorial team and handled the content for FII Hindi and so I feel personally connected to this organisation and my work here.
FII: What makes FII a ‘feminist’ organisation?
Swati: As I had mentioned in my previous answer, the fact that the team is made up of like-minded feminist women and that FII, as an organisation, believes and follows feminist principles in its functioning.
FII: What’s the most fun thing about your job?
Swati: I love writing for FII Hindi; the fact that the Hindi website was started from my internship to seeing it grow over the last few years. I feel deeply connected and responsible for the content on this website.
Writing for FII has become such a big part of my life that I had even worked around the dates of my wedding to fit into my schedule of publishing content! I have never even taken a day off because I never felt the need to.
FII: If you had a talk show, which feminist icon would you call and what would you ask them?
Swati: Kamla Bhasin, definitely. I admire her so much for her ideology and work. The way that her feminist ideology is not idealistic but rooted in grassroots movements and struggles. She talks about local issues through her field work and works extensively and promotes grassroots level organisations.
FII thanks Swati Singh for her timely and valuable contribution to the organisation. We are incredibly grateful to have her as a part of our team and appreciate her for her deeply insightful work. She can be followed on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.