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ISRO’s “Vyom Mitra” Is A Female Humanoid In An All-Male Team That Will Be Sent To Space. How About Including Real Women?

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Women have endured so much since what seems like the beginning of time and we’ve been fighting for our rights and a respectable place in the society ever since. The gender-based discrimination is different in varying sections of our society but its existence is pretty much everywhere, maybe in varying magnitude. In rural areas, women fight for their right to education, struggle with practices of dowry and honour killings. In urban areas, our problems are slightly different – we struggle with gender-based discrimination at work, be it about salaries, positions or perceptions. The higher positions are mostly occupied by men and women who go on maternity leaves, are often deemed a liability to the organisation. Of course, safety issues and body-shaming is common throughout the world, irrespective of your class and country.

I am not saying that we are not progressing. What I am saying is that the process is so slow that it feels like we are taking baby steps. I think we are going at a snail’s pace and it’s not even remotely exciting for me to see token contributions to the progress. For instance, the Indian Space Research Organisation is working on its new space programme called Gaganyaan, which aims to send humans to venture into space in 2022. That is a huge achievement, right?

Now before that, they are sending out a humanoid by the end of this year and we got to see the first glimpse of it today. Called “Vyom Mitra” the humanoid is female and that’s somehow supposed to be “feminist”. But here’s the thing – the team of real humans who will actually venture into space consists of three men and no women.

Someone, please tell me that if they are sending an all-male team to space, why create a female humanoid in the first place? Maybe our society is too used to having women take low-rung jobs. Maybe men are so used to controlling women that when they had to create a robot to control and send to space as a trial, it had to be a female!

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The humanoid can perform several tasks and speaks two languages. In a recent interview, ISRO chief K Sivan said, “Our robot will be like a human, and be able to do whatever a man can do, although not as extensively as humans.” I guess that ironically sums up our sexist society’s perception of women!

I don’t know what their intention here is, but if this is their attempt at being “inclusive” they have miserably failed.

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