written by Pratha Shetty, Perri Ho
photography Pratha Shetty, Doyel Joshi
Welcome to our new series #THENEWNEW x Our People. This is where we highlight the incredible stories of people from our community and they share what they want to see in #THENEWNEW world. From activists, founders and artists to members of our team, we can’t wait for you to meet the new faces of Vinokilo.
Pratha is an author for children’s books.
Here is our interview with her:
What do you want to share with the world?
Of the top 50 best selling children’s book in the world, only 18% have female protagonists. Also, there are five times as many books about trucks than there are ANY about children of colour. In a world that has always been diverse, why are our children’s books not reflecting the same? When children grow up not seeing themselves in books, they grow up feeling like they don’t matter. We, as a generation, need to change that. Our kids need to grow up seeing stories of relatable role models, who have had struggles and journeys similar to theirs.
There have been positive effects of representation in media and books. One of the best examples would be that of the tennis champion Li Na from China. After her grand slam win in 2011 was covered extensively by the Chinese media, there was a significant increase in the enrollment of girls in tennis at the grass-root levels, and today China has ten women in the top 200 in tennis!
A newly published study co-authored by economist Esther Duflo shows that the increased presence of local female political leaders in India has had a significant impact on adolescents and their families, raising the career aspirations and educational performance of young women.
When we have data, and studies to prove the economic and social advantages of having equal representation, why is there still a gap that persists? Artists, creators, enterprises, and individuals need to come together and make a conscious effort to create space and opportunity for the underrepresented.
What do you want to see in #THENEWNEW world?
A world of inclusivity and respect for people different from ourselves.
What book would you share with the world?
When I Grow Up by Pratha Shetty 🙂
What film would you share with the world?
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.
What podcast would you share with the world?
Brown History Podcast.
What song would you share with the world?
Where You From by Riz Ahmed.
Who is someone you think we should know?
Suraj Yengde. Suraj is a Dalit academic activist. Through his research and written works, he tirelessly tries to shed light on the unfair caste system in India that unfortunately still exists.
What’s your favourite item of clothing?
A pink winter coat that I found in a vintage store in Paris that had a note in the pocket written in French. It said, “I hope you and the baby are fine. I miss you”. It wasn’t signed, but for some reason, it felt very personal. Since then, I love that piece of clothing, because it had a story! A story whose beginning and end I will never know.
You want to find our more about Pratha? Check her out on her private Instagram @prathas951 or her work account @whenigrowup_thebook
Stay tuned for the next story and don’t forget to explore #THENEWNEW website.