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Feminism- the fight for equal rights, for both men and women and yet, we only often see women on the forefront. Aren’t women’s rights human rights, too?
Often, we attribute fighting for women’s rights as the sole effort for women. Men are often cast as the tormentors, patriarchal or dissenters of women’s rights and of equality.
Unfortunately, women too, have been equal partners in denying other women of their rights and happiness. Even though the social structure is changing and improving, many women still are victims of torture and harassment. A number of them remain silent when the torture comes from their own family.
In 1995 at the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference in Beijing, Hillary Clinton had said, “Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.” This view was echoed by the actor Frieda Pinto as well, who feels that women’s problems are not just feminist but humanist.
If we flip through history, there are a number of examples of men who fought for women’s rights. Raja Ram Mohan Roy was against the abhorrent practice of Sati. He supported the property rights for women and was against child marriage.
Swami Vivekananda strove for the upliftment of women. He opined, “The best thermometer to the progress of a nation is its treatment of its women.” And he fought for their Right to Education and Right to Inheritance.
Most enlightening is his role in the introduction of the Hindu Code Act that permitted women to file a divorce petition. In this way, he propagated the liberty of individuals- both men and women.
These two men are the most prominent fighters for women’s rights. There are several others who have battled for equality of education and social status too.
Of late, there has been a paradigm shift. More and more men are supporting women. They feel women’s problems are not ‘feminist’ but ‘humanist.’ Sexual harassment, genital mutilation, domestic violations, dowry cases, human trafficking and maltreatment of women are all pressing problems of human violations.
The Grammy-winner John Legend made a remarkable estimation,”It doesn’t cost us anything as men, for women to do well. We don’t lose out because more women are empowered, more women are leaders. It just makes the world better.”
Men are either accepting willingly or acquiescing. The development maybe slow but it is moving forward. In our society men, especially the younger generation, are accepting and encouraging their women in their work outside home. They share the household chores and also child care.
My young nephews are quite enterprising too. One of them has taken to working from home and renders full support to his wife, who holds a government job. The other nephews also do enough around the house. Whoever is free does the cooking and washing. There is peace and joy in the family.
Women have entered all kinds of jobs. Yesterday I travelled in an auto driven by a woman. Boy, I was happy. When I enquired about her comfort, she was beaming, “Madam, I am very secure. No problems.” There are very few jobs outside the zone of women.
A friend of mine, Madan Keshari, posted this illuminating statement on Facebook:
“Fighting for women’s equality is not a feminist movement. It is as much a human cause as economic disparity or apartheid. But we take it for granted that this is a feminine issue and will be fought only by women.
“In fact, there are many things that we take for granted. That bringing up a child is the responsibility of a woman. That kitchen belongs to her. That she is expected to be soft. That she should act like a sex toy.
“What is worse is that, more often than not, it is the woman who endorses these notions and fights for them. She has been mentally conditioned that way in this man-made world.
“So, she cooks for her husband and waits for his words of praise, thinking she does it because she loves him. She gets pulled in the bed and does what the husband asks, believing it is her conjugal bliss. Love is one of the greatest traps that man has laid for women.
“Ironically, the movement for women’s freedom is still limited to getting freedom from the bra,” he said in his Facebook post.
Let us give some credit to the men who are supportive and consider Women’s Rights as Human Rights! Gradually, the orthodox men may shed their patriarchal and male ego.
Picture credits: Pixabay
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I am fascinated by the English Language and the wide range of synonyms! Nature is
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