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 Soumya Mathew, who is FII’s Community Editor. She has a Master’s degree in Gender Studies from Jamia Millia Islamia, a PG Diploma in Digital Journalism from Asian College of Journalism, a Bachelor’s degree in political science from University of Delhi. She has worked at the Indian Express for two years and written independently for The Wire.in and Scroll.in. She is a Malayali, but has been in Delhi all her life with her family settled here. A book she read recently and loved was All The Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy. She is treading (ever so) slowly towards a more conscious and sustainable living, hoping to grow her own food, is an enthusiastic gardener and has killed (at least) two plants already. She is trying to be a friendlier host to the worms in her compost bin.
Her secret flex is that she can touch her feet without bending her knees. Sima aunty will be very happy with her flexibility.
FII: What do you like most about being a part of the FII family?
Soumya: The fact that FII has a bunch of people who are always ready to learn, always ready to acknowledge and reflect on where we come short and is a soundboard for all ideas that come under the wide spectrum of the feminist movement. Oh, also how everyone is everyone’s cheerleader and constructive critic.
FII: What advice would you give someone joining the organisation?
Soumya: To make honest mistakes, to not fear accountability, to be patient and listen to others’ feminist perspectives and to confide in each other! In sisterhood we have always thrived and at FII it should be no different.
FII: How would your colleagues describe you?
Soumya: I want to believe they find me pretty okay from all the Zoom meetings we have had so far hahaha. Hoping to meet everyone in person too sometime soon.
FII: Which fictional character do you identify with and why?
Soumya: Damn I think I relate to a bunch of them: Kate from This Is Us and Tony from AfterLife in how they struggle to deal with trauma; Judy from Dead To Me because imma softy too; Grace from Grace and Frankie because I’m no fun a lot of times but I get stuff done!
FII: What is something that you’re tired of hearing?
Soumya: Mole, kalyanam kazhiku! – (Beta, please get married!) Same old!
FII: Which feminist movement do you feel particularly passionate about and why?
Soumya: My solidarity is with all movements by the marginalised sections and I don’t really think I can pick one. But I was particularly moved by the student movement, sexual violence in war and conflicts is a discourse and space I am learning more about and hopefully can one day contribute constructively towards and oh, also period leave! All of us need it – whether we are reporting from war zones or not!
FII: What makes FII a ‘feminist’ organisation?
Soumya: Definitely the editorial policy that we got a lot of flak for. As an organisation it was quite brave to assert that it was high time we passed the mic. The willingness to accept and learn from our mistakes is another reason why I believe FII is an enabling space for feminist ideals.
FII: What’s the most fun thing about your job?
Soumya: Brainstorming story pitches with the writers. It’s amazing how we can approach the same theme from at least ten different perspectives!
FII: Do you remember when and why you decided to work at a feminist organisation?
Soumya: I don’t remember exactly when, but I think it was a natural progression. However, I knew I had to definitely study gender when I was working at my previous organization. This was in 2017-18.
FII: If you had a talk show, which feminist icon would you call and what would you ask them?
Soumya: Kamala Das and Frida Kahlo, had they been alive, and would have undoubtedly listened to them talk about the beautiful irreverence they both continue to be known for!
FII thanks Soumya Mathew 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 and LinkedIn.