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As women, there are times when we are pulled down by other women. But at the same time, we are also pulled up and that is exactly what the author is telling us!
We talk a lot about feminism and gender equality and while it is true that we have progressed a lot in that area, I believe we still have a long way to go! And there are times when I feel like we have received the raw deal.
Women throughout the ages have had to fight to be able to work and have a career. Today, not only do women work, but they also get help from the men at home. However, that is it – they “help.” And sometimes even make you feel like they are doing you a huge favour by setting the table or cooking or doing the dishes in their own house.
At the same time, some times, we feel guilty for going to work and often overcompensate at home and try to make everything perfect there. Even today, with all the progress that we have made, if a woman does not cook, you see raised eyebrows. Or people expect you to do certain things and jobs because you’re the woman of the house.
So, you can see where I am going, when I say that ‘‘gender equality’ is still a long way away!
The other thing that piques me a great deal, is this whole concept of making a huge fuss of the son-in-law of the house, or the ‘jamai’ as he is called in Bengal. Everything should be best quality for the jamai – the food, the gifts, the hospitality shown.
The daughter-in-law, on the other hand, is a glorified maid, and also very much expected to wait on the “jamai” when he visits.
Why can’t it be the other way around? Or better yet, no special treatment for the “jamai” or the “bahu”. Both are part of the family – so no differentiation should be there. The worst part is, often it is the women in the family who overdo things like this.
When a child is sick, or there is a problem at school, in most of the cases, it is the woman who has to take leave from work and rush back. The man’s work is too important to be disrupted and if you do not comply, you are immediately labeled a “bad mother”.
You have to be a woman to understand how difficult it is to leave a sick child at home and go perform at work. And the way people look at you, if you keep leaving early or taking leave for family issues.
Speaking from personal experience, my father passed away when I was in college. And I became the sole bread earner of my family. It was a small family of two. But we still struggled and scrimped for several years, before I reached a stable point in my career.
For me, there was no other choice but to work and ensure that we survived. These years of struggle taught me a lot of lessons about human nature and I value those years, difficult as they have been. They made me who I am today.
And while I have the highest respect for homemakers (it is the toughest job in the world), there is this brigade I call “the saree-jewellery” brigade. Those who have nothing better to do than shop and criticise their own sex.
They are the type who make negative comments if another lady wears a plunging neckline or a pair of shorts. In their heart of hearts, they would love to do the same. But because they lack the courage to do it, they want to make cutting comments about someone who does.
Of course, there are the other kind as well who encourage and mentor and are always there for you in your time of need. Things are changing all over the world, and we will soon see more changes.
As women, we must feel more compassion and kindness for our own sex and curb the tendency to bring each other down. Only then can we get the respect of the opposite sex and the world at large.
Our time is much better spent, in developing ourselves, our career, our families, and our homes. And if we manage to support each other in these endeavours, then I truly believe nothing can stop us!
Women can become a force that changes this world for the better. We shouldn’t let anything come in the way of that – not even our own negativeness!
Picture credits: Screenshot from the series Four More Shots Please
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About Indrani Ghosh nee Chaudhuri
In the fourth decade of my life, I decided that
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