Gender equality has always been a much discussed, much obsessed over topic. The urban work-field is a battle of sexes. Although, we can see a lot of improvement in the lifestyle and living-conditions–changes in the past 25 years, these changes have not impacted areas of concerns that matter the most.
India ranks 108 in the gender equality survey conducted by World Economic Forum. The gender gap was measured by economic opportunity, political empowerment, educational attainment, and health and survival. Seems fair right?
We can all agree that women have a different spectrum of standards when it comes to economic opportunity, political empowerment, and educational attainment. Indian women have a lot on their plate and are expected to conform to a set of rules predominantly set by the male gender.
Any woman who gets an opportunity to get paid for her professional services and her talents has to go through a lot of hurdles; starting from her father. (I am not saying all father are controlling and chauvinistic, but some definitely are; and these ‘some’ are more than enough to ruin a flourishing development).
I have met many women who have had a father tell them to dress like a nun, behave like a wall flower, cook like a master chef, and clean like a vacuum cleaner. “A woman should first tend to her home, career comes next” a man once told me. He was my subordinate and I was mentoring him.
Now, girlfriends, don’t fume now. Read on! We have some things to ponder. Now! how did the guy I was mentoring have the audacity to talk to his mentor that way? What gave him the power? Or the sheer stupidity? He will never say that to his male superior. Because every ‘Tom, dick and harry’, every ‘Mohammed, Rahim and Karim’, and every ‘Ramesh, Rajesh and Vikram’ has a say on what a woman should do. Everyone seems to think they have a right to say. The economic opportunities will increase once women start to take decisions on their own, are not influenced by what the men folk think, and are not pulled back because they were trying to impress the “traditional rule followers”.
Women are inherently non-forgiving and courageous. They will make good law makers, law keepers, doctors, parliamentarians, and scientists. Stop being a bitch to your fellow sisters and encourage them. If you see a friend who has talent is being held back by useless “traditional” values, fight for her.
Education and opportunities are the key for any woman to attain the basic minimum economic growth. These are like oxygen and water for a woman to be financially independent. How can a country flourish without giving its evolved gender these necessities?
India ranks very low in health and survival. It is not a surprise. Considering the conditions in Govt. hospitals, I am surprised how the government does not take initiatives to give better care for the patients. Indian population amounts to 17.7% of world’s population. I know that it is tough to provide, manage and protect this many people. But medical amenities are a necessity, it is not a luxury.
Take sanitary napkins, for example. The controversial GST tax of 12% was reduced to nil by the GST council in 2018. This was done after many educated women protested and voiced their opinions. Nevertheless, good move! Because lack of knowledge in dealing with the monthly natural process is a crucial reason many girls in rural areas are suffering.
Periods are among the leading factors for girls to drop out of school in a country where four out of five women and girls are estimated by campaigners to have no access to sanitary pads (Source: Reuters). Sanitary napkins should be distributed freely. They should be available in schools and the access should be seamless. All work places, irrespective of how small, should provide their female employees with clean washrooms. Women and girls should be empowered to ask for a washroom, a napkin and any other hygiene products. It is their birth right. It is our duty to provide these to them.
Awareness should be created among men and the elder generation on the non-taboo of this natural process. Some innovative thinkers like Arunachalam Muruganandham take steps to address this problem. These people should be recognized and enabled to help the county as a whole.
Feminism is required. It is required in the rural areas. Areas where women are considered as second-class citizens. They are looked upon as baby-making machines. It is high time the common Indian man in rural areas change his perspective. Because let us face it, India is still a patriarchal society. Empowerment should start with every daughter. If we somehow achieve that, gender equality and population crisis can be addressed in one go.
Related Article: Education is like a Country’s Engine Oil