Are Women Considered An ‘Unwanted Necessity’ By Indian Society?

Unless every woman has the same respect and value as men, and the choice of living her life the way she wants to, women’s empowerment is a myth, says the author. 

Yesterday’s newspaper had a small news report: ‘3 days old girl was thrown into community dustbin ‘.

And this was not on the front page as it cannot be ‘breaking news’ for the nation! Why? Because even media knows that we have become accustomed to these kind of atrocities, and it does not curdle our blood anymore!

As Indians, we are known for worshipping Goddesses. Ours is a land of many female warriors, scholars, scientists. Our nation is feminine too, we call her Bharat MATA! But in spite of this, woman are the ‘inferior’ gender — be it at the family level, in society, at the workplace, or anywhere else.

We create much argument about women’s empowerment and freedom, but the question is what kind of men are ready to accept empowered women? Women’s rights are the subject of debate everywhere. Hence, we have special women’s rights commissions, but how useful are they? As the famous quotes goes, “women’s rights are human rights.” That is to say, women are entitled to all of these rights. Yet almost everywhere, women and girls are still treated as second class citizens because of their gender.

Change from second class gender to equal human being

If at all we want to change the current situation of Indian women, we first have to change our attitude towards anything feminine. Not only that, we also have to view ourselves as complete and beautiful. We have to know that we do not need a man to complete us.

Many a times, it is seen, that women in a family treat other women badly. We assume that with education this toxic behaviour would change. Women would start supporting each other, build each other up instead of pulling one another down. But, given the rise in cases of domestic violence and female foeticide even among the educated families, this theory is shrouded in doubt.

Unless we speak up in our own families, to accept another woman as an equal human being and not as someone ‘inferior’, it is not going to help. But in our society we just think of protecting our women from outside forces, and never consider the atmosphere of our home.

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Upbringing at home plays a crucial role in shaping human behaviour — whether outside or inside our homes. When a boy grows up seeing the women in his family being treated as equals, he knows this is how things are and should be — no other way! And inculcating this is the duty of every parent.

Changing mindsets

Often, women are expected to look a certain way — so as to appeal to the male gaze or look attractive in the eyes of their male partner/husband/boy friend, and most of the times they do. This attitude proves that often women do not accept themselves as they are. This needs to change. We need to treat ourselves with dignity.

When it comes to career, they are the one who are supposed to sacrifice for the sake of the family/marriage, and often think that it is the best thing to do. Women must understand that the old concept of “if a woman is not compromising then the marriage will break” should no longer hold good.

And when it comes to healthcare, women are kept at the end of the pecking order for good nutrition, sanitation, and healthcare. In an astonishing study, the research team of a healthcare company revealed that when an organ is transplanted, mostly donors are women and receivers are men. When talking to those organ donor women it was exposed that the family of the woman had forced her to donate those organs either for money or to save their close one. Among these women donors, most were wives or daughters in law of the receivers. There have been similar other crimes against women where their own family members are involved.

Women’s freedom is about her having the choice to live her life her way. It is about not looking for men’s approval for every aspect of their life. Unless every woman is getting equal nourishment, care, affection, education, and the opportunity to grow, women’s empowerment is only a myth!

Image source: a still from the movie Sui Dhaaga

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