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Read About Women In The Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Who’s Winning And Who’s Not
With changing times, everything about women empowerment is moving to financial independence. All the organizations and missions aim at working on women but what about changing the attitude of the men? Why are they always put on a pedestal?
When it comes to the financial aspect, both men and women have to work equally hard to achieve success in sectors like Corporate, Public and Academia. But, if you really think about it, how much support is given by the men to their partners? How many female leaders have you seen on top of the hierarchy? Very few!
Have we ever thought about the ‘why’ of this? Often, reliability is one of the major factors. When you give power to a woman, somehow it becomes difficult for men to be under her because everything gets scrutinized and is under the microscope.
A woman in the work field is many a time bullied by the so-called society as well because as a woman you are always expected to be answerable.
“Your husband is earning, what is the need for you to work?”
“Oh, she only seeks her career… takes no responsibility towards home.”
These are some general statements that come from every corner of society.
If a lady doesn’t want to have a child, her age gets questioned every time as if there is no role of a man in that. And what is truly obnoxious is that women only ask such questions to other women.
For these people… get a break, get a life! Can’t you look after your own life rather than having an interest in others’?
Even in the office, there is always a question mark on the woman’s capability. Will she be able to do it?
Doesn’t anyone see the courage of the woman and the adversities she faces?
Again when it comes to skills like driving, women are questioned. From traffic police to male members of our so-called patriarchal society, all of them says, “Oh God! It is a lady driver so beware of any mishap that may occur.”
I am asking why there is a question on female skills all the time? Don’t these people think if a woman is not strong enough then she won’t be able to keep a child for nine months in her womb?
If a woman is not strong enough, then she won’t be able to multitask between work and home. If as women, we are not true to our own selves, then there won’t be an ecological balance as well.
This is what women want the most. They don’t seek empowerment platforms for chasing and pleading for her identity. All they need is a change in perspective.
The image is a still from the movie Corporate
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With over 715 female candidates in the Lok Sabha Elections 2019, here’s an ongoing look at the fate of the women in the fray.
The outcome of the world’s largest election is upon us. Today on 23rd May 2019 the counting of the votes all over the country has begin.
The fate of 8,049 candidates contesting from 542 Lok Sabha seats, for the 17th Lok Sabha, will be revealed today. Among these are around 715 women candidates.
The two leading national parties, the Indian National Congress (INC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have fielded over 50 women candidates each in the Lok Sabha Elections 2019.
Although the number of women candidates is much lower than male candidates, it is higher than in the previous elections. We can only do justice to the diversity of women in Indian politics if we know who the women are, where are they from, which party they represent, and what they seek to represent in parliament.
So here we present to you some notable women candidates in the Lok Sabha elections 2019 with an update on their win or loss.
Since this news is being made as we write, this page will be updated regularly.
She has been widely praised for her contribution to reforming government schools in Delhi as an adviser to the government. But, as many women in politics sadly experience, she has also been subjected to some severe misogynistic and casteist abuse on the campaign trail.
Contesting from East New Delhi
Party – Aam Aadmi Party
Contesting against – Cricketer Gautam Gambhir (B.J.P)
Results – Trailing
Smriti Irani started her career with television and is also a former model.She made her foray into politics in 2003 when she joined the BJP. In 2014 she was appointed as the Minister of Human Resource Development in PM Narendra Modi’s Cabinet. However, due to much controversy and a cabinet reshuffle she was moved to the Textiles Ministry.
Contesting From – Amethi (UP)
Party – BJP
Contesting against – Congress President Rahul Gandhi
Results – Leading with 10,000 votes
She is UPA’s chairperson and has been on a winning spree in her constituency Raibareli since a very long time.
Contesting from – Raibareli (Uttar Pradesh )
Contesting against – Dinesh Pratap Singh (BJP)
Party – Indian National Congress
Results – Leading
Kirron Kher is a familiar face on television and has had a long movie and theatre career. She is married to actor Anupam Kher. Kirron joined BJP in 2009 and was elected to the Lok Sabha in 2014 from Chandigarh.
Contesting from – Chandigarh (Punjab)
Contesting against – Pawan Kumar Bansal (Congress)
Harsimrat Kaur Badal
She is the Union Cabinet Minister of Food Processing in the Government of India and member of parliament from Bathinda. She is a member of Shiromani Akali Dal.
Contesting from – Bhatinda (Punjab)
Party – Akali Dal
Contesting Against – Amarinder Singh Raja (Congress)
Results – Leading with 9848 votes.
She was the longest serving Chief Minister of Delhi, serving for a period of 15 years from 1998 to 2013. She is a veteran leader who has returned to contesting elections.
Contesting from – North East Delhi
Party – Congress
Contesting Against – Manoj Tiwari (B.J.P), and Dilip Pandey from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Results – Trailing with a huge margin
The actress has been the target of trolling for her inconsistent statements about her political work. In 2014 she contested on a BJP seat and won the 2014 elections from Mathura. She was recently trolled a lot for her “show off” visit to her constituency.
Contesting from – Mathura (Uttar Pradesh)
Contesting Against – RLD’s Kunwar Narendra Singh and Mahesh Pathak (Congress)
Results – Leading with 22,893 votes.
She got Elected to 16th Lok Sabha from New Delhi constituency. She defeated AAP’s Ashish Khetan.
Contesting from – New Delhi
Party – BJP
Contesting Against – Ajay Maken (Congress)
Maneka Sanjay Gandhi
She is the Indian Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development in the Government of PM Narendra Modi. She is also an animal rights activist, environmentalist, and widow of the Indian politician Sanjay Gandhi. She was recently in controversy due to her insensitive comments for Muslim Voters.
Contesting from – Sultanpur (UP)
Contesting Against – Chandra Bhadra Singh (B.S.P.)
Results – Trailing with 5,782 votes.
Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur
She was an active member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the BJP, and the women’s wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. She was also one of the accused in the Malagaon Bomb Blast. Recently she was in a lot of controversy for speaking ill about Hemant Karkare (officer who died fighting terrorists in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.) and by calling Mahatama Gandhi’s Killer Naturam Godse a ‘deshbhakt’.
Contesting From – Bhopal (MP)
Contesting Against – Digvijaya Singh of the Congress
Results – Leading by almost 40,000 votes.
Poonam Sinha, actor and the wife of veteran actor and politician Shatrughan Sinha and mother of actor Sonakshi Sinha recently joined the Samajwadi Party.
Contesting from – Luckhnow (UP)
Contesting against – Rajnath Singh (BJP)
PARTY – Samajwadi Party
Result – Trailing
She is Samajwadi Party Supremo Akhilesh Yadav’s wife. Also she is a second time Member of the Indian Parliament from Kannauj.
Contesting from – Kannauj (Uttar Pradesh )
Party – SP
Contesting against – Subrat Pathak (BJP)
Result – Leading
She is the daughter of Lalu Prasad Yadav who is in jail currently in charges of corruption. In 2014, she had unsuccessfully contested for the Lok Sabha seat of Patliputra and had lost to RJD rebel Ram Kripal Yadav who had joined BJP.
Contesting from – Patliputra (Bihar)
Party – RJD
Contesting against – Ram Kripal Yadav (BJP)
She is a five-time Member of Parliament and was the United Progressive Alliance nominee for President of India in the 2017 election. She was elected unopposed as the first woman Speaker of Lok Sabha and served from 2009 to 2014.
Contesting from – Sasaram(Bihar )
Contesting Against – Cheddi Paswan (BJP)
Result – Trailing by 71736 votes
She is an actress who joined SP contested from Rampur parliamentary Constituency in UP during the 2004 General election and got elected with a margin of more than 85000 votes. She joined BJP in 2019. She was recently in news because of sexist comments made on her by her contender Aazam Khan
Contesting from – Rampur
Contesting against – Azam Khan
Results – Trailing by 50,000 votes
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) declared Bhawani Maa of Kinnar Akhada as its candidate from the Allahabad Parliamentary seat. She is the first Transgender candidate to contest elections in India.
Party – AAP
Contesting from – Paryagraj (UP)
Contesting against – Rita Bahuguna Joshi (BJP)
Daughter of Uttar Pradesh Minister Swami Prasad Maurya, she had hit headlines last month by saying that she would become a goon if anyone tried to bully the people of Badaun. She was also in controversy was promoting ‘Fake voting’ in one of her speeches.
Contesting from – Badayu (UP)
Contesting against – Dharmendra Yadav (SP)
Mimi Chakraborty is a well-known model and actor from West Bengal. She joined politics this year.
Contesting from – Jadavpur, West Bengal
Party – TMC
Contesting against – Bikash Bhattacharya (CPM)
Results – Leading
Moon Moon Sen
Moonmoon Sen, is an Indian film actress, known for her works in Bengali, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi and Kannada films. She joined Trinamool Congress in March 2014 and won in 2014 Lok Sabha Polls from Bankura constituency. She was recently in controversy becuase of her statement that “she was given late bed tea that’s why she is not aware about the clashes that erupted between the BJP and Trinamool workers on April 29.
Contesting against – Babul Supriyo (BJP)
Results – Trailing by a huge margin
Queen Oja is an Indian politician. She was the Mayor of Guwahati.
Contestng From Guwahati (assam)
Contesting against – Boobeta Sharma (INC)
Results – Leading with a huge margin
She is a member of the 16th Lok Sabha for the constituency of Silchar in Assam. She is currently the president of All India Mahila Congress.
Contesting From – Silachar (assam)
Party – INC
Contesting against – Rajdeep Roy (BJP)
Results – Trailing with a huge margin
She is the first time contender form the Kolkata South seat. This seat was previously occupied by TMC chief Mamta Banerjee who isn’t contesting elections this time.
Contesting from – Kolkata South
Contesting against – Chandra Bose (BJP)
Results – Won by 2.60 lakh votes.
Sunita Biswal is the daughter of former Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Hemananda Biswal.
Contesting from – Sundergarh (Orissa)
Party – BJD
Contesting against – Jual Oram (BJP)
Results – Lost with a huge margin
Nusrat Jahan is a model and a prominent actor in the Bengali film industry. She joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) this year and contested from Basirhat.
Contesting From – Basirhat, West Bengal
Result – Leading
Daughter of Shri Karunanidhi. She was caught up with several controversies in 2010. Radia Tapes controversy and 2G scam are the most noteworthy.
Contesting from – Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu)
Party – DMK
Contesting Against – Tamilisai Soundararajan (B.J.P.)
Results – leads with over 1 lakh votes
She is an Indian politician from Tamil Nadu, India. She entered politics at a very young age. She was the General Secretary of Indian Youth Congress for few years. She lost the Lok Sabha elections in 2014.
Contesting from – Karur Tamil Nadu
Contesting against – M Thambidurai (AIDMK)
Results – Leading with a huge margin
She is the daughter of All India Mahila Congress leader Radha.
Contesting from – Alathur Kerala
Contesting against – PK Biju CPI(M)
Results – Leading with a huge margin
She is elected to the Lok Sabha from Kancheepuram constituency as an Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam candidate in 2014 election.
Contesting from – Kancheepuram (TN)
Party – AIADMK
Contesting against – Selvam G. (dmk)
She is a politician of BJP from Karnataka, India and a member of the 16th Lok Sabha of India representing the Udupi-Chickmagalur constituency. She was a cabinet minister in the Government of Karnataka.
Contesting from – Udupi–Chikkamagaluru – Karnataka
Contesting against – Pramod Madhwavraj JD(S)
Sumalatha is the wife of three-time Congress MP and film star Ambareesh who died last year. She contested elections independent this year after she was denied ticket from Congres.
Contesting from – Mandya (Karnataka)
Party – Independent
Contesting against – Nikhil Kumaraswamy, the son of Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy JD(S)
She is the President of the Tamilnadu Bharatiya Janata Party. She was a National Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party prior to this appointment.
Contesting from – Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu )
Party – B.J.P
Contesting against – MK Kanimozhi INC
Results – Trailing
She is a writer, poet and academician and is fighting her first Lok Sabha election from Chennai South.
Contesting from – Chennai South – Tamil Nadu
Contesting against – J Jayavardhan AIDMK
Result – Leading with 162086 votes.
She is the daughter of former BJP president Bangaru Laxman’s and has entered the electoral fray for the first time in the Lok Sabha polls.
Contesting from – Nagarkurnool in Telangana.
Contesting against – Pothuganti Ramulu TRS
Result – Lost and secured 3rd position
She is the daughter of the President of the Nationalist Congress Party, Sharad Pawar. In 2009, she contested the elections for the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency and won. This constituency was previously represented by her father.
Contesting from – Baramati, Maharashtra
Party – NCP
Contesting Against – Kanchan Kul of BJP
She is the daughter of actor – politician late Sunil Dutt. She was elected for the first time to the 14th Lok Sabha from Mumbai North West constituency in Maharashtra on 22 November 2005, representing the Indian National Congress party. She represented the Mumbai North Central constituency in the 15th Lok Sabha from 2009. In the 2014 Indian general election, she was defeated by Poonam Mahajan of the BJP
Contesting form – Mumbai North
Contesting against – Poonam Mahajan
Results – Trailing by more than 70,000 votes
She is the daughter of Late Pramod Mahajan. She rose to national prominence by winning against incumbent two-time MP Priya Dutt in the Mumbai North Central Constituency by a margin of 1.86 lakh votes.
Contesting from – Mumbai North Central
Contesting against – Priya Dutt INC
Results – Leading by more than 70,000 votes
She is an Indian Film actress who was contesting her first election this year.
Contesting from – Mumbai North
Contesting against – Gopal Shetty (BJP)
Results – Trailing behind by around 2.75 lakh votes
She is a member of the 16th Lok Sabha from the Nandurbar constituency.
Contesting from – Nandurbar – Maharshta
Contesting against – Kagda Chandya Padvi (INC)
(Will be updated shortly)
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I am a woman, says the author, who is going through a breakup with her best friend. I am the force of life. And no matter what ups and downs we all go through, we rise.
That evening in April 2017, I sat on the Promenade at Rock Beach, Pondicherry. My then best friend sat by my side as we both were quietly looking at the majestic ocean, thinking perhaps of all the battles we were going through.
As women, don’t we all go through the routines of everyday life, hardly ever flinching for even a moment while a multitude of challenges come our way in various shapes? Getting support or breathers in between all the alleged roles, responsibilities, duties we act in- it is a luxury.
However, at the end of the day, what we hold within us, what drives each one of us is the fact that within us, we hold many worlds and we surf all the waves with bravery even if it be subtle, unseen one.
That evening, I was on the verge of losing my best friend to many of such intermittent battles and friction between us – we were breaking up.
But what stayed with me, despite that realisation of having given in to the pushes and pulls of our lives was this – I, my friend, a hundred thousand other women whom we don’t even know personally, are all warriors. We live through so many break-ups, shake-ups, make-ups without actually being too rattled. To each of us, to my long-gone friend, to myself, I dedicate these lines.
I am the ocean, inverted.
I rush, I go mad, I am fierce.
Restless in anticipation,
Adamant to not stay.
I would keep coming back,
In many minds before I recede,
Leaving a part of me behind,
Each time I try to kiss you….you,
The shore holding the softness in your heart,
The shore hidden behind the rocks,
The shore that laughs at me day and night-
The one that can never be mine……..
Reject me, keep doing that,
I would though keep trying.
It is not for you to know,
Why I keep chasing you….
You are proud of the beauty I give you.
Stay that way.
Your ignorance keeps me going…..
And my fury makes you more beautiful.
Even though you don’t know, yet
I fall for you, more passionately.
Each day. With each wave.
And I give you life.
For, I, am the woman. I, am the force. I, am the life.
Image source: freepik
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A 2003 multistarrer that is a mad feminist indulgence in some crazy nostalgia, go watch Pran Jaaye Par Chawl… err… Shaan Na Jaaye!
I belong to a generation that likes to indulge in nostalgia, often lamenting on how ‘kids’ these days would never be able to experience the kind of ‘innocence’ we grew up with. By “we” I mean the ‘You knew you grew up in 90s when,…’ Facebook-page-identifiers.
We have had our shares of Vengaboys, and Indipops and Hera Pheris, and Ajay Jadejas, all of whom we especially like to think of with a faraway (and idiotic) smile, and possibly a choked up throat. Even a Gunda finds itself a secure position in our nostalgia den. We lose any sense of criticism, and bring out reserves of good-natured tolerance to everything tacky, that we did not even know we possessed.
Some movies make you happy, some make you sad. Hell, there are some very smart ones that even make you think! But then, a movie like ‘Pran Jaaye Par Shaan Na Jaaye’, oh yes, that forgotten gem from 2003, with a ‘multi-starrer’ cast, and a feminism-meets-socialism-to-produce-a-musical-all-in-a-single-ecosystem-like-chawl, does all this and so much more.
This film begins with a Big Bachchan-sounding person reading out the message saying the film is dedicated to all the middle class people in our country, who face all adversities with a smile on their lips and a song in their hearts, and then moves to flash a bulb, and then a Zee Horror show-ish skull before blasting it right into our faces. Yeah baby, you trust them when they tell you they are ‘Mindblowing Movies’, and what they will present will simply speaking, blow your mind.
Pran Jaaye… is set in a chawl in Bombay/Bambai/Mumbai, as the first and later replaced by Sushmita Sen (playing herself), the narrator tells us. We are shown disturbing images, like a cat gnawing at the intestines of a dead dog, and we wonder if this image is symbolic of the movie that is to follow, the producer and the directors gnawing at the brains and hearts of their dead audience.
But just then, we cut to what has to be the human beings populating the chawl as they mourn the dry taps in their vicinity. Suddenly, there is a trickle and we cut into a modern day adaptation of Lagaan’s Ghanan Ghanan. Bas bhar jaaye ghagariya, bas bhar jaaye ghagariya, we sing along too, as all the ladies and gentlemen in the crowd groove to one verse each of the modern ‘tap’ dance song. And here, we stop and notice these men and women, most of whom we have grown seeing over the years.
Ex Miss India Namrata Shirodkar – who we later on are told in hushed gossipy voices, works as a t’ch t’ch, dhanda karnewaali aka prostitute, whose heart beats for a BA fail flute player – prances around in a freshly starched white kurta with freshly blow dried hair, and we are amazed at her resourcefulness. Of course, if you are to be the face of the chawl, you better make that face look good.
Then there is Raveena Tandon – the woman with her yellow saree drenched sexiness can still make many a men, errr, tip tip barsaofy a different kind of pani – play a coy and yet spirited housewife who longs to have a child of her own, but is saddled with a loser husband who cannot afford the operation that would facilitate the child’s conception.
There is Divya Dutta too, who complains about her mother in law feasting over the milk she buys for her young school going and future feminist daughters, and trying to get on with a drunkard horny husband. There is another horny husband too. Sayaji Shinde whose wife is the tall and sultry and supermodel-ish Shwetha Menon playing another average chawl housewife.
Then there is a geeky Diya Mirza who has the hots for a boy named Michael who doesn’t like her. Shweta Menon’s father is played by ACP Pradyuman in what was possibly his past life. In this life, he sings songs like Chaali humko jaan se pyaari hai (to be sang in Roza song Bharat humko jaanse pyaara hai), and then challenging the local villain Popatlal Chu…nnilal Garodiya’s grandson played by the generally genial Sachin Khedekar, who wants to, who wants to, what? Oh child, what else. Demolish the chawl and build something big and fancy.
The spirited chawl folk drive him away and also his other rented villains. Socialism is powerful, and socialism is unity. We learn this lesson, as we hoot for this coterie.
Somewhere through this mess there is Mr Aman Yatin Verma, the chikna TV regular a lot of us 90s kids would be able to identify. He enters the chawl to write a thesis on the chawl people, and you wonder, that when and if you do decide to enrol for that Phd, if this is the precise subject for you.
Just when you see him going all Munnabhai on the chawl residents, a Namak Haraam-ish shockkking twist is pulled off. But by now, our chawl folk have only grown stronger. They have also managed to give our Vibhishan Verma a change of heart. More power to socialism and more power to feminism too, as all our exploited women turn the tables on the exploiting men, questioning and challenging them. A prostitute is given the due respect she deserves. A drunk and good-for-nothing husband is brought back to his senses, and made aware of his false bravado. Go chawl-beating-feminists, like really go yeah.
And then there is a song for every occasion. And a dialogue for every philosophical quest your heart never went on.
How many of us really knew that mori mein nal naa hona (The absence of a tap inside a bathroom) is a reality and symbolic too. See, see what I mean?
A dialogue-driven musical with strong socialist and feminist and sexist (yes feminism and sexism can co-exist) and many more -ist leanings, this is a movie that even jokes with a grave sense of social wisdom, “Agar Rupa ki banian pehnoge to Rupa kya pehnegi. Rupa banian kyo pehnegi, wo to bra pehnegi.” (If you wear Rupa’s banian, what will she wear? And why will Rupa wear a banian? She’ll wear a bra!)
And not to mention the poetry. Look past the chawl, look past the obvious, look past everything. This is not just a chawl. This is ‘The chawl of music’ , the ‘More Miserables’ and the ‘Chawlgirls’.
Writer and technologist currently based out of Bangalore
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Working women are a most misunderstood lot. Yes, we earn and have a career, but so much of it is just perception. Let me bust some myths about working women!.
Even after millions of people working and contributing towards women empowerment and equality, I am shocked, hurt and saddened by the way the working women are perceived. It was an eye opener for me when recently one well-educated and so called ’empowered’ stay at home mom told me on my face that “we – the working women” are so fortunate to be enjoying our lives to the fullest. We have the money, we get all the respect from the men, we are also desirable to them, we get to dress up every day, we can escape the monotony of the household because of the office, we get the perks (shopping, vacations, movie dates with family) of a well-paying job, and most important – we don’t have to face the in-laws 24 hours a day.
I was so tempted to fight it out then and there. But better sense prevailed. The fact of the matter is, this is the most ridiculous and shallow assessment of the situation of working women.
For most working women, it’s an every day, every minute tussle with time, energy and resources. Our every moment is spent multi-tasking and multi thinking about numerous issues – it’s so exhausting.
While in the office, we think about the maid, the kids’ meal times, the in-laws’ health, what to cook in the evening, the laundry and the countless mundane tasks. And while at home, we are made to attend office calls and meetings, send emails, visit the sites, finish the coding, in short, extend the office time which eats up our already limited family time.
Where others see our ratings, promotions, and positions, we often know that we are merely surviving at the job. One mistake and there are countless other people (especially men) who are ready to take up our position. One mistake and the men get their long due opportunity to reinforce the already existing prejudice that women are not at par with men at work. It’s constant pressure, constant headache and constant stress.
And how much of the money we get is truly spent on ourselves? Almost none. There are EMIs, household expenses, children’s education, medical emergencies. We are working not just because we love the work, but because we want to be the second wheel with our spouses to support the household.
Most of our conversations with in-laws are on the phone. Much of it is transactional. And very few can imagine how guilty we feel about it. Rather, how guilty we are made to feel about it. We are called long distance mothers and controlling daughters-in-law. We are accused of ignoring our homes and children. And we are given all sorts of labels by the mothers-in-law who were working mothers themselves.
And we allow ourselves to go through it. Why? Because we believe it ourselves.
We believe that the time we give to our families and children is not enough. And we try to make it up with occasional holidays, shopping, and movie dates. We try and convince ourselves that the vacation will give us some peace. But the expenditure and the emotional labor of planning it gives us a new guilt. We are accused of depriving our children of our time. But in fact it is we who are hugely deprived of our children’s company.
We keep obsessing about our children in the office – Did he eat his tiffin, did he do his homework, did he go to the class?
Worst is when our kid is sick, or the daughter is having the typical teenage emotions – we are the cruel monsters who have to be at work leaving them to their own fate.
We feel guilty that we are unavailable for the children’s emotional needs. And nothing can compensate the lost time, the lost opportunities to bond with the children. When our child cries and can be consoled only by her grandmother – we feel jealous, heartbroken, angry. But we have to pretend to be fine. Its only in the night when we can’t sleep that the intensity of the storm hits us. “Am I a good mother, am I a selfish, insensitive mother, am I doing alright, will my child love me or leave me?” The questions are endless and they don’t leave us for months.
This is one of the biggest misconceptions. We get respect only in public. Most of the men pretend to respect us. They show respect because they have no choice; they have to be the new-age liberal men who admire ambitious women. But if we scratch the surface a little, we realize it’s all a façade.
Men in the office are selfish, jealous and looking out one chance to demean, disgrace us. They share vulgar jokes about their female colleagues. Some are sexual predators checking out our every outfit, every move.
Neighbouring women in our society, apartment think we are arrogant, aloof and antisocial. We don’t go to kitty parties, birthday parties, society meetings or Ganesh festivals. We are considered ‘proud’ and that we “don’t want to mix with normal women”.
But with all due respect – where is the time? After spending almost 10-11 grinding hours at work, we get hardly 5-6 hours at home in which we have to squeeze in cooking, cleaning, children’s’ studies and what not. We would, in fact, give everything it takes to be in that housewife’s position who gets hours to gossip about topics like the new sale, the new parlour, the neighbour’s daughter, the sister’s husband.
We feel like a culprit when we buy that expensive dress.
We feel embarrassed when we take a nap on our desk due to sheer exhaustion.
We constantly judge ourselves when we go out with our husbands on a Saturday leaving the kids at home.
We cry buckets in our heart, but we have to pretend the strong exterior. We can’t be vulnerable in office and we can’t be weak in front of the children.
We also have to be the beautiful, desirable wife the husband expects. Many of us are lucky to have understanding, patient and supportive husbands, but we also have the bad days and moments in the relationship when we feel all lonely, lost and scared.
But we can’t linger with all that drama. The next morning, we have to rise and start the never-ending battle all over again. Be it a severe backache, a sore throat, a bloated stomach, sleep deprivation – we take it all in our stride and stand. Stand Tall.
I know all of this probably sounds as if I’m just ranting, venting out pent up frustration, anger. It is for sure. But it’s also fact. It is both. It is us!
I just wish at least my own gender, my sisterhood be a little considerate before passing judgment on their own friends and sisters. One day your own daughter might go through all this, and you might be made to eat your words.
Image source: YouTube
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“You were ruining our family reputation. Living in with a man, without getting married. Oh, and the clothes you were wearing when we met that day in the city, so tight, so short.”
In 2019 our beloved writing contest, Muse of the Month gets bigger and better (find out how here) and also takes the cue from the words of women who inspire with their poetry.
The writing cue for May 2019 is these lines from Victorian poet Christina Rossetti from her most famous poem Goblin Market.
“For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands.”
The fourth winner of our May 2019 Muse of the Month contest is Preethi Warrier.
He crouched in one corner of the dimly lit room; it was eerie in there. The only sound he heard was of his own breathing, and there was no one outside.
“Hey!” he heard a female voice call out and he almost jumped in shock.
“How did you get in here?” he shuddered.
“Oh, I have my ways.” She smiled. “So, tell me, how do I look? Do these clothes suit me? I know you don’t like western attire, but nobody forbids me now.”
He looked away; he hated seeing her this way.
“Come here.” She commanded, “You look so filthy. Let me clean you up and comb your hair. Like I always did when we were young. I remember so well, you would push mother aside, it was only me you wanted. I would abandon all my chores and wash the mud off you.”
Of course, he remembered. Their village, their little mud shanty, and of course her, bent over the kerosene stove, cooking food and helping their mother.
“You would play all the time…” her voice brought him back from his memories. “If only you had studied a little and passed matriculation. I gave up my education, just so that you could go to school. And you dropped out in the eighth grade. All my sacrifice wasted! I could have continued my education. I was good at it, you know.”
He knew. He was the only son after two daughters and the pampered brat. She was the eldest, so she had to give up education and a lot more. He had not been an ideal son or a good brother, just a disruptive offspring of a chauvinist father. After their mother passed away following a prolonged illness, she had taken over the reins of the household. Which included being beaten up regularly by their father, and at times by him.
As if she read his thoughts, she continued, “At first I was happy when father suffered that stroke and got paralyzed. At least he stopped drinking and hitting. But then, working as domestic help in those apartments in the town wasn’t an easy task either. Did I have a choice? I had to feed you all, keep the kitchen fire burning. See how rough my hands got.” She displayed her palms to him, all coarse and peeled.
“But then, I won’t complain now, no regrets.” She went on. “I loved you all and did my best to help. When our sister threw a tantrum, threatened suicide and insisted on marrying her lover, I felt I couldn’t deny her that little happiness. Someone loved her and wished to marry her, how could I refuse that small dowry. Glad that she is happy with her husband and kids now, I feel blessed.”
He vividly remembered that day, when that sister of theirs had been married off in style. The girl wore decent amount of jewelry and all the expenditure was borne by his eldest sister, he didn’t earn anything and there were hardly any savings.
He looked at her, her face was calm. She seemed lost in thought, she spoke after a while. “I wished to get married too, but nobody ever fell in love with me. I was a servant after all, I looked ugly they said. You called me that often, whenever you returned home after a drunken brawl. Never told you then, but it hurt a lot. Being called ugly by your own brother…”
A little tear pricked his eye, once drunk, he would totally lose control on himself. She would reprimand him and he would get even by cursing her, calling her an ugly witch. Good their fatherpassed away, the old man didn’t have to watch his daughter enduring the pain inflicted on her by his son, for too long.
“Honestly, I never really liked your wife. I would not have accepted her in my household, she was notorious for her acid tongue and bad behavior. But you eloped with her, barged in with her one night. If I turned her away, every other man in the village would have shunned her. I took pity and do you know how she repaid me? You would always listen to her, let me clear my side today. I was being treated like an outsider in my own house, she accused me of stealing your privacy. Tell me dear brother, did I deserve to be humiliated like that? For your information, it really hurt when you insulted me while she watched. I will never forgive you.” She wept.
He couldn’t bring himself to look at her, he had constantly wronged her and she had tolerated silently. Perhaps because he was her blood, her kin, she had hoped for some respite from him. But then, everybody gives up at some time and she had too. He recalled, he had celebrated with his wife, when his sister had left home forever. They now had the house and their lives, all to themselves.
He heard her voice again, “I didn’t get a chance to tell you, my life took a turn for the better when I left you. One of the ladies for whom I worked was running a beauty salon. She sympathized with me, offered me a small job at her parlor, I learnt something new every day. The city was good to me, I shared a room with three other girls. We laughed, we squabbled, we were together all the time. One was an acid victim, one, a rape survivor, we all had our own stories of betrayal but then we were happy. Until he walked into my life. Oh, I couldn’t talk to you about him, let me tell you. He was the owner’s son, almost my age, handsome, educated. I don’t know how he took a liking for me, but we did enjoy each other’s company. He said I was very strong and resilient, he admired me for that. I started learning English, dressing up well, I started living, for the very first time. I was skeptical about moving in with him, but then, these are modern times. And the city people never cared. We moved in together, I loved him, my past wasn’t haunting me anymore. I was a happy, modern, independent woman of the new generation. Till YOU returned. ”
“Of course, I had to.” he blasted at her. “You were ruining our family reputation. Living in with a man, without getting married. Oh, and the clothes you were wearing when we met that day in the city, so tight, so short. I was so embarrassed. In spite of all that, I forgave you, I requested you to return home, but you refused. You were hell bent on bringing shame to our family, so…”
“So you conveniently bumped me off, snuffed out my life. Wasn’t I entitled for a pinch of happiness? You were bringing laurels to the family anyway, drinking, losing your menial job, abusing your wife. Do I not know that she deserted you long back? How dare you dictate my life, how dare you…”she broke off. “I am glad, women around the globe fought for me, got me justice, got you here, to pay for your heinous crime. A life sentence, good.”
“So what are you here for, killing me? Do it then. But there will be no remorse from my side. Remember.” He screamed.
She moved closer to him, “I won’t kill you, nor do I believe in capital punishment. You are my brother, I sacrificed a lifetime for you. I will visit you every day, and make sure you realize your mistake. I will make a new man out of you, you will respect us women by the time I am finished. I won’t rest in peace until I eliminate the bigot in you. Till then, Bye.”
Preethi Warrier wins a Rs 500 Amazon voucher from Women’s Web. Congratulations!
Image source: a still from the movie Stree
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The Seductress And The Princess
Postpartum depression is defined as the presence of depressive symptoms in the postpartum period. It is a complex mix of physical, emotional and behavioural changes that happen in a woman after giving birth. There are many reasons that cause PPD like chemical changes involved after delivery, hormonal changes in the body, age at the time of pregnancy, lack of support from family members and so on.
You would be surprised to know that one out of every ten women will develop depressive symptoms after delivery.
In our country, mothers face a lot of emotional problems during early caregiving days. However, this problem is not addressed by the family at all. In most of the cases, they even don’t have an idea that these are signs of depression that require medical attention. During this time they experience severe mood swings, excessive crying, difficulty in handling the infant, insomnia or excessive sleeping, overeating or lack of appetite, and such depressive symptoms. Under extreme cases, they have the tendency to harm the young baby or themselves.
Birth of a child, a new member of the family is usually a time of happiness and joy for the entire family, but this becomes the opposite when the mother feels depressed after the delivery. Pregnancy and the delivery of a baby is not only a physiological or biological process but a psychological and emotional process as well.
In our conservative culture most of the times, we are unaware of the mother’s pain and mood swings. We start passing our own judgments, ascribe our own definitions and most of the times also prescribe own treatments.
There are many social and cultural factors for this postpartum depression. These could be poverty, lack of education, family problems, unsupportive partners, in-laws and parents, previous psychological disorders, etc. In India, the desire for a boy child in spite of having more than one girl child and the excessive pressure from society for the same is also a cause of depression among young mothers.
At this time, if they give birth to another girl child, this adversely affects the newborn child’s development too. At this point, I have a question. Who is responsible for all these emotional difficulties that a woman goes through?
You may have seen often among your friends, someone who was ambitious and a go-getter in school but gets married at the age of 18. All her dreams shatter and she is forced to bear children at an early age. She has to forego her studies for this and is forced into doing something that she is not at all prepared for, both mentally and physically. Who is responsible for her psychological distress?
There could be another case where a mother delivers a baby and reaches home to find her alcoholic husband, unsupportive in-laws and an atmosphere of hostility at home? Who will then look after her and her postpartum emotional needs?
Society, please be aware of the postpartum depression. Do extend all the medical, emotional and psychological care to the mother.
Hey people, it is all normal, but we have to make this normal. That’s our duty.
Image via Pixabay
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Being a supermom is not everyone’s cup of tea! As this mom says, I am a supermom—oh yeah, and I just saw pigs flying!
I had a dream last night that I was on an imaginary mommy track field. All the moms had taken a position at the starting line and were poised to leap forward once the bell rang (only here it was not an actual bell but the crying sound of their babies). 3, 2, 1… WAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!…GO!
They all started racing along, panting and breathless, to reach the finish line where the winner was to be awarded the ‘Being a Supermom’ prize.
However, while running they started pushing, shoving and wandering into each other’s tracks and tumbled and toppled over one another. A few got exhausted and slumped down in the middle of the tracks. The distant finish line remained distant and out of reach for all.
My dream made me wonder about this much-coveted supermom prize. Who is a supermom and what do you have to do to be a part of this supermom club?
Is it some kind of secret club? Do they have any secret code messages they use to communicate? Like, do they have a secret mission or some kind of a dress code? I absolutely wanted to be a part of this group and so I just said out loud for anyone to hear, ‘I want to be a supermom.’
And you won’t believe it, there was a flash of lightning and a supermom cape fell right to my feet. Only it was not a cape like superheroes wear. It was more like a giant bib with something like a breast pump attached to it and tentacles like that of an octopus coming out of it. Oh sweet lord, what had I gotten myself into!
The first thing I found out about this elusive breed is that they are extremely well organized. Yes, I sneaked up from behind to take a look at one of the mom’s monthly planners that she was writing furiously in.
She had written ‘March 29, five-year anniversary, time to stay out of my personal hell—7 p.m. to 9 p.m.’ Can you imagine anyone being more meticulous than this? She even had a personal hell free time slot, wow!
I immediately entered the same in my planner. Though when my time came to be hell free I just couldn’t complete the mission as my dog decided to go at that particular time and then my kid just refused to sleep that night and a report that I had sent to my boss earlier came back to me labeled ‘just write the bloody thing again.’ I got busy firefighting and personal hell free time just passed!
During my induction into the ‘Being a Supermom’ club, I was told I will would to work all the time which meant very little sleeping time. ‘So basically, I have to be like a zombie, right?’ I asked innocently. I got instant stares from several bloodshot eyes and was asked to shush.
‘It’s a simple formula,’ explained one of the supermoms. ‘Less sleep means more wakey time, more wakey time means more to do’s you can complete which means greater achievement. More achievement means more success. Now memorise it by heart and repeat.’ They even gave me a wristband with this message written on it so that I could remember it always. I was so impressed.
Supermoms had logically proved that sleeping less can lead to more success. One thing did bother me. I love to sleep, and it really recharges my batteries. I once tried keeping awake at night with all my bills and receipts to balance my cheque book, but I guess I must have dozed off. I got up in the morning to find the dog chewing on my light bill!
Like superheroes to the rescue, supermoms are constantly trying to fulfill everybody’s expectations to the fullest. Why not, after all, we are clones of I-Robots, always at your service. And, like robots, there are three fundamental laws that govern supermom behavior too.
One, thou shalt buy whatever art supplies your kids need in whatever quantity they say, no matter even if you feel like you just bought those things last month. Two, thou shalt, upon entering a clothing store, go straight to the kids’ section followed by the men’s section and just drag a T-shirt for yourself from nowhere in particular, on your way to the billing counter. Three, thou shalt cook or buy samosas and dosas for your husband, kids and your whole army of in-laws your entire life, irrespective of whether you like samosas and dosas or not.
Supermoms bustle around sprinkling magical pixie dust everywhere to accomplish all their tasks for everyone.
The supermom role is essentially superhuman in nature. So, to achieve all her goals, every mom has to multitask like there is no tomorrow. ‘Oh yeah, I do multi-tasking,’ I said proudly at the fourth annual supermom multitasker achievement awards. ‘Like, when I am cooking, I also help my kids finish their homework.’
I got so many pitying looks from the supermoms when I said it, my heart sank. ‘You really need to get your certification in the art of multitasking,’ I was told gently. They were talking about brushing your teeth while cleaning the sink type of multitasking. You know, dress up your kids while feeding them breakfast, or use breast pumps while clicking away furiously on the computer. With one hand stir the cooking pot, with the other use the vacuum, and with one leg rock the baby’s cradle. ‘Why don’t we use the other free leg as well?’ I asked genuinely. ‘We may fall down, you silly!’ they laughed. ‘Ha ha ha! the laugh is on them!’ I thought.
What is it about being a mom that converts us from simple, nurturing, friendly people into a highly competitive, all-knowing, superhuman version of a woman? Is it because we want to be role models for our kids and do what is best for them? Or, is it because we feel the entire onus of responsibility for our families lies upon our shoulders so we must always do everything for them? Or is it because we just want to do it that way?
To all the mommies of the world, I say, every mom is unique and a treasure trove of love in her own way. The multiple roles we play during our lifetime are nothing short of a miracle and proof of God’s unwavering faith in humanity. We make milk and produce babies. So, supermom or not, our strength and resilience is superhuman!
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The women entrepreneurs of North East India are very little known outside their own region – we bring you here some truly innovative success stories!
Northeast India, covering the eight states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura is famously known for its many enterprising women who take their fair share in economic activity and contributing to society.
Most women in these states engage in economic activity in some form or the other, at various levels, from home based income generating activities to opening high end fashion stores and larger businesses such as food processing units.
Here are some truly inspiring women entrepreneurs from North East India, amongst many others, just for you to catch a glimpse of women in the region’s economic engagement and how far they have come.
You can get a picture of the region through the lens of these admirable and highly resourceful women.
An agricultural engineer, Rita Tage turned Ziro’s locally abundant Kiwi fruit into one of the finest wines in India. Rita Tage is the Chairperson and Managing Director of Lambu-Subu Food, and her company produced the country’s first organic kiwi wine, and was launched in October 2017. The commercial wine was branded Naara Aaba.
Kiwi production in Arunachal Pradesh is around 9,428 metric tonnes annually. Rita’s winery has a plant capacity of 40,000 litres per batch.
According to Rita Tage, the winery provides the important solution of closing the gap between tradition and technology. This commercial venture has changed and touched the lives of many farmers, who were on the verge of giving up farming of Kiwi. The 2,300 sqft winery in Ziro currently employs over 25 people formally and many other local farmers are engaged directly and indirectly.
Source: UN India
The Kiwi fruit used is completely organic; the farming is done without any chemical fertilisers. The factory follows all norms of pollution control and manufacturing/production systems. The Naara Aaba wine has been given a clean certificate of composition, according to lab analyses.
Rita Tage says, “It was just the most logical thing to do — the fruit does extremely well in this climate. The abundant sunshine of Ziro contributes to optimum growth and taste of the fruit”. The barren and rolling hill slopes of the Ziro Valley are now filled with clusters of kiwi.
Business and Activism! yes that’s right, NEthing is a model conceptualised and initiated by Banamallika Choudhary.
Started in 2017, Banamallika says, “Living in Guwahati, I had always felt the need for a space that will hold all things creative, constructive and intellectual”. It’s her dream project – “a bookstore, a cafe, a store that holds locally made, environment friendly products and gatherings of people to share their poetry, music, writings, thoughts and ideas”.
In her early 40s and a mother of a 4-year-old girl, Banamallika Choudhury has been working in the development sector for quite a while, but soon quit to start her own dream project. “At NEthing I am trying to bring together art, culture, literature, design, activism and adda. This is where I find my ikigai,” she says, “I call it a feminist business model.” Banamallika used her gratuity as well as assistance from well-wishers to launch the project.
Currently, they have four paid women employees, while many others are engaged either directly or indirectly. Banamallika says that the model is that it is on a need based salary structure with equal profit sharing between employees. The emphasis is on an equal, environmentally friendly business that she feels will challenge the patriarchal capitalist business motive of paying less and accumulating unfair wealth.
Meira Foods is today a household name in Manipur. The packaged food company was started by Shubhra Devi in 2004.
Shubhra completed her Masters’ Degree in Food and Nutrition from Banasthali Bidyapith, Rajasthan. After working in the development sector for more 10 years, she took the plunge to venture into the packaged food industry.
Initially she started with only a few hundred rupees but today, Meira Foods’ products are available in local shops across Manipur. Meira’s products consist mainly of pickles, candies and salted dry fruit items. The uniqueness of Meira’s products is that all the products are prepared from indigenous fruits and vegetables of Manipur.
Source: Dynamic Manipur
Shubhra says, “Out of our earnings we invested and expanded. In the year 2004 – 2005 our turnover was just Rs. 30,000, during 2005 – 2006, it was Rs. 1 lakh. We continued to expand and in the year 2012 -2013, our turnover was 75 lakhs. Now our turnover has crossed 1 crore.”
Shubhra has a simple answer to how she started her venture and how it grows, “Whatever we earn we invest and our machinery, stocks and our trained dedicated staff are our assets.”
Entrepreneur Janessaline Mary Pyngrope began her journey in 2011. She and her business partner, designer David launched the first ethnic fashion house in Meghalaya – Daniel Syiem’s Ethnic Fashion House (DSEFH).
Armed with a degree in management education from BIMM, Pune, she decided to return to her roots to work towards change and development in the North East of India. The core reason for her return to her roots and starting her own venture was to help generate self- employment opportunities for the artisans, particularly the weavers, of the state of Meghalaya.
The Ethnic Fashion House aims to revive, sustain and promote the tradition and culture of Northeast India through ‘Fashion with a Cause’ while giving employment to traditional artisans. A high end fashion house, their work has now gone global and has been showcased at various international fairs in US and Europe.
The duo mostly work on silk fabric made by Eri silk worms, locally called Niang Ryndia. Jannessaline and Daniel have been instrumental in promoting traditional women weavers, by making their craft economically viable and taking it to world class fashion.
Zomawii Hrahsel runs the Diki Bakery in Aizawl, Mizoram, which sells proudcts under the Tepuia Chaang brand name.
Initiated in 1997, a widow and a mother of 3 children Zomawii took over the kakery on her own in 2010 after her partner and husband passed away. Initially running a small family grocery store, Hrahsel and her husband often used to make make cakes and other bakery items for sale in their shop. The bakery products began to sell more than their other grocery items. That was how the duo turn their attention to bakery production.
Soon their products gained momentum and are now in great demand in Aizawl and other parts of Mizoram. From engaging a few employees it has grown to a more than 10 member team.
The unique selling point for Tepuia Chaang is its quality, taste and innovative product and ingredients that suit the local taste buds. Their annual sales come up-to to over 50 lakhs per year. Their products range from biscuits to cakes for various events and occasion.
Meanwhile Hrahsel is also involved in local philanthropy and gives out bakery products on special events such as Christmas to the disadvantaged.
From working with only 3 women weavers in Nagaland, Jesmina Zeliang is today an Executive Member of the Handicrafts and Carpet Sector Skill Council from the North East Region. She is a Committee of Administration (COA) from the North East to Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts for the third consecutive term since 2012.
In her early 50s now, Jesmina Zeliang wears many hats. She is the Founder/Proprietor of Cane Concepts established in 1993 – manufacturing and exporting cane and bamboo products. She opened a high end store Konyak, a specialty outlet selling products from Nagaland, located in Guwahati and Dibrugarh (Assam).
Jesmina Zeliang, extreme right. Source: EPCH India
Her firm Heirloom Naga was started in the early 90s, which created innovation in the existing Naga textiles and beginning work with female loom weavers, today the firm has over 30 clusters of weavers spread across multiple villages in Nagaland state.
Jesmina is also the official marketing agent for Fabindia in Northeast India. Besides handloom and handicrafts, Jesmina is the Founding Partner of Razhü Pru, a heritage hotel located in Kohima.
Archita Ray’s hatchery cum poultry farm has brought employment to many women in Tripura. Her firm Kanup Hatchery in Amtali is one of the first private hatcheries in the state of Tripura.
For more than 15 years now, Archita a resident of Amtali, has been growing the business successfully. Over the years the hatchery has produced more than three lakhs chicken every year.
Archita began her journey in 1995 with a small loan of 5 lakhs to start her poultry business. Initially the scale of business was small and had a monthly hatching capacity of only 2500 chicks. In the second phase it was increased to 13,500. With the success of the hatchery she was able to repay her government loan and then again in 2007, she took another loan of Rs 19,47,000 from the State Bank of India to further increase hatching capacity of her unit by installing the latest hatching machineries.
A young arts graduate then, Archita preferred to venture on her own rather than go for a government job. She discovered that there was huge import of eggs and chickens from outside her state and that is how she decided to start the hatchery- poultry. Her work not only provides employment but reduce dependency on other states for eggs and chickens.
In an interview Archita says, “Now, the situation has changed and we supply chicken throughout the state. Poultry farms have come up in the entire state unlike earlier when there were a few poultry farms. So, our hatchery business is doing well as demand has increased.”
These women entrepreneurs from North East India have each broken multiple barriers – many of us in mainland India still know very little about our sisters in the North East – it’s time to celebrate the achievements of these stellar business women and many more unsung women like them!
A journalist writing on/ of north-east India and engaging with women groups in the
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A girl/woman is the backbone of our society and hence it is very necessary for her to lead a healthy life. Today, we are going to discuss about cervical cancer, a problem that all women should be aware of.
What is cervical cancer: “Cancer arising from the cervix of women ( lower part of the uterus), is called cervical cancer.”
Causing factor of this disease: This cancer is basically caused by a virus that is called human papillomavirus (HPV).
What is HPV: Human papillomavirus is commonly transmitted through sexual contact from one to another. This virus generally causes no symptoms and goes away itself but sometimes it causes serious illness.
Symptoms of cervical cancer:
If you feel any of the above symptoms, it is better to see a medical specialist.
Diagnosis of cervical cancer: If symptoms show, a pap test from the pelvic area is conducted. When an anomaly of cells is detected in the Pap test, doctors may recommend other diagnostic procedures for checking cancerous cells.
How to prevent cervical cancer: We always hear that prevention is the best medication, so it is necessary to keep taking preventive measures like:
So if you want to stay away from this disease, then keep these key points always healthy and healthy.
The above image has been provided by the author.
The cover images is via Pixabay
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