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Feminism has become the new F-word that no one wants to associate with. Instead of constantly bashing Feminism, let’s take a look at why the fight for equality should not stop just yet.
Why are so many women uneasy with feminism?
Many of us prefer prefer to call ourselves ‘humanists’ rather than feminists..
Is the hard branding of feminism unnerving men in our society?
Way back in the 70s and 80s feminism was misunderstood as man hating, bra burning, ciggie twirling, red lipstick women who were depicted as family breakers while the good girls were like wholesome milk full of goodness.
Feminism simply means seeking equality of the genders, fighting for the rights of women and equal opportunities for men and women. Feminism seeks empowerment of women to end inequalities and gender discrimination through education better health and economic independence.
Feminism is uplifting the weaker and marginalised sections of women by spreading social awareness.
While we seek equal opportunities for growth and development, we are essentially working as “feminists” towards “humanist” and universal values of equality, freedom and empowerment.
And in no way we are stating the supremacy of feminine over the masculine or making it a gender war.
So then, why is feminism feared by men and traditional or patriarchal society?
Orthodox societies have systematically oppressed women, fear losing their control or dominance and breaking down of existing social patterns; they are afraid of challenges from educated women who will resist atrocities and oppression. Fear of feminism is expressed in terms of a focus on the liberty to smoke, drinking or sexuality portrayed in media.
Men fear that their jobs or opportunities will be taken away with more women entering their field and domain.
India ranks 108 among 144 countries on Gender Equality as per the World Economic Forum as stated in its Global Gender Gap Report 2017; as the largest democracy this is a national shame.
Women and Education
Pay parity and women at work show abysmal figures
Women in Politics
Women’s Healthcare, Nutrition, Sanitation and Safety
While examining the real indicators of empowerment, Indian women seem far behind than the developed countries.
Educated and urban societies are in a tearing hurry to get past the plodding millions in our society. Feminism sometimes becomes skewed when we speak only of the rights and choices of a privileged few, while ignoring the actual issues that beleaguer marginalised sections.
Feminism means becoming respectful of diversities of opinions and accommodating voices that are different from ours. Feminism does not mean shaming or bashing traditionalists or conservatives; rather, it means actively engaging with them trying to bridge gaps, reaching out while helping them to uplift themselves.
Every woman must have the right to make her choices conservative or liberal, regardless of our own idea of emancipation, without being ridiculed. Feminism more than the right to smoke or drink which are only individual choices, and nothing to do with feminism as a movement. Feminism is about coexisting with diversities of cultures, while working towards harmony in society.
Many argue how equality between men and women is possible when they are different and how can there be comparisons between them. Equality is about the spirit of fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution irrespective of gender. Men and women don’t have to be the same in order to enjoy equality or rights and freedoms guaranteed under the constitution. It is a fallacious argument.
In fact, it would be better appreciated, if more right thinking men empathise with the spirit of feminism and help women come out of the shadows of of fathers, husbands and sons in their homes and elsewhere.
First published here.
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