One more 8th March, International Women’s Day has arrived. Many programs have been arranged to celebrate it. Many social media messages are being shared to wish our near ones and off course dear ones. In many places special discounts are being offered for ‘Special Guests’. Even kids in schools are being told to make greetings and gifts to wish the women in their families. Many ‘generous’ male counterparts wants to celebrate it by taking out their girls and women. And in this way the day will be over, like every year but what’s next? What’s the lesson people are going to learn from it? What impact society should expect from all this? Or it is going to be another Fad, just a reason to celebrate?
The reason behind this article is the hypocrisy I find in all this. On one hand we celebrate Women’s Day with full fervor and on the other hand society still considers women as a mere commodity. As soon as the celebration day is over, contribution of women is forgotten. Despite progressing in a number of spheres, the situation of women is still a big reason to worry. Women comprise half of the world’s population. Among 1.3 billion poverty stricken people, 70 percent are women. Off all the illiterate people, nearly 2/3 are women. Apart from these shocking statistics, women have to go through various physical and mental harassment every day. Women are still subject to honor killing. They are still denied their fundamental rights to education and freedom. They are still struggling with violence and abuse and are not safe at their homes even.
The status of women has not remained the same during the course of history. It has seen many ups and downs throughout the history. Pre Vedic Era of Indian history can be termed as a Golden Period for the women because they did not face ant restrictions and were free from most of the later and present customs. There was not discrimination on the basis of gender. But as the time passed, new elements and customs started emerging which were against women. Gradually the status of women in society started deteriorating. Even if laws favor gender equality, social customs prove hindrance in the proper enforcement of laws. Here in India, I have heard some elderly women saying that a woman has to go through examinations throughout her life.
“I am measuring the development of the society on the basis of achievements acquired by the women community.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
Many of my own friends who are very well educated and earning huge sums. At the time of their marriages I have seen their parents offering big fat dowries for their NRI sons-in-law. Upon asking, one of my friend replied that if she doesn’t bring huge dowry with her, her in laws, who are considered as very well enough rich, will taunt her throughout the life. One friend was insisting her parents to Gift her in laws whole-heartedly because she want to show them that she also belongs to a well off family. In fact it is the unwritten rule that the richer or the more qualified the groom, the higher the ‘Rate’. And in all this bride’s education, her job are not taken into consideration. What an irony!
Back in 2012, there was a case of rape in India. That girl was fighting for life due to severe injuries. During some conversation one of my colleague said that the girl shouldn’t survive. I was shocked and asked him about his opinion. He said, the society isn’t enough broad minded to let her and her family live peacefully. And now it is 2020, after 8 years also the accused are still not punished. In fact they are taking disadvantage of Indian laws and filing for mercy petitions one after another.
When families of women stand by their side and let them enjoy all the benefits as a human without caring for their gender, society acts as barrier. At workplaces women have to face discrimination in case of salary and promotions. At many places women are denied their maternity leaves as well and they are asked to resign. Many organisations are not ready to hire women at first place. When I was appearing for campus recruitment in my final year of graduation, one of the top most organisations denied all the girl candidates from appearing for the process, reason being told that girls will get married as soon as their final year is over and having a job in hand. So they are likely to resign to relocate for their spouses. What kind of mentality our society is nurturing?
These are very few examples which I have encountered in my life and mentioned here. There is a lot happening around and it’s unsettling. There are almost 50 percent women in the world. All of them come from different backgrounds and have to face different situations on day to day basis. Many of them might be struggling out there without any support system. What kind of experiences those women might be facing?
“To awaken the society, it is the women who must be awakened. Once she is on the move, the family moves, the village moves, the nation moves.” – Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru
On national as well as international level, the empowerment of women has become one of the most important concerns of 21st century. Efforts by the government are taken to ensure gender equality but government initiatives alone would not be sufficient to achieve this goal. All constituents of society are required to come hand in hand to achieve this. It will take many years, may be decades to change this society which has taken on reinforcing the social belief of keeping women less powered. Society must take initiative to create an environment in which there is no place of evil like gender discrimination and women will have equal opportunities like self-decision making and participating in the social, political and economic life of the country at their own will, with a sense of equality, with a sense of pride and freedom. What do you think?
Think about it!
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