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It’s no secret that women are constantly struggling in this patriarchal world. Will our struggle ever end?
Every woman has a story to tell. Each one of us is fighting a different battle – at every age, status and part of the world. There is no woman in the world who hasn’t struggled.
These struggles start right before birth. She struggles to be born to parents who don’t want her. Then fights for the right to be treated as an equal to her brother. She struggles to complete her education while fighting her parents against marrying her off.
Once she is married, she struggles to be accepted as a part of the new family. She’s already lost her home, in most cases and doesn’t usually stand a chance to gain another one. This makes her feel like she doesn’t belong anywhere. She has to unlearn all that she was brought up with and revamp and rebuild her own thought process (that is, is she is lucky enough to be ‘allowed’ to think). Or worse, she is asked to shut herself off completely.
Meanwhile, she is also struggling to work with the same ease and comfort that the man of the house does. She constantly has to prove her educational qualification, competence and desire to be a useful and contributing member of the society.
The woman struggles to feel the independence to make her own choices and decisions. Often, she barely has the power to make even the smallest of decisions like the clothes she wants to wear, what she wants to eat. There are times when she doesn’t even get to decide whether she feels ready to have sex or even what she wants to name her child or where she wants to go on a vacation.
She is struggling to maintain her sanctity and integrity at her work and home. And she struggles to compete with her male counterparts at work where she is looked down upon or treated poorly. She is often treated as a mere showpiece and her IQ and skills are rarely taken into consideration. Or if she is good at what she does, she has to hear all kinds of taunts and jibes about that. And there are also times when she is sexually harassed by her boss or male colleagues or taken undue advantage of.
Their bodies change drastically with childbirth and then they have to bear the brunt of their husbands accusing them of not ‘looking good/thin enough.’ They are blamed for not giving their husbands enough time, for napping, for not being able to take care of the child ‘well enough.’
Then one day, the husband dies and she is left alone to fend on her own, to manage her life on her own. Something she wasn’t allowed to do when he was alive. After all this, she has to learn to gain back the independence that she should’ve had since she was born. She has to learn to make decisions and to start living from the beginning.
Some women are strong and resilient and face all this and are able to build a new life. Meanwhile, there are some others who have been made so dependent that they fall prey to their kids’ indifferent attitudes toward them. They are unable to gain the financial and emotional freedom they are entitled to. When these women die, they an innocuous death which I feel is a reflection of their inconspicuous life.
So will this struggle continue forever? Or will there be any changes over time? Why don’t we take a pledge this year to make a change and be responsible for our own happiness? Let’s decide to be independent and dependable! And lastly, let’s bring a change in our mindsets, work culture and biases that are deeply entrenched in the society.
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie The Lunchbox
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