“Where women are worshipped, loved, there are Gods” say Upanishadhs, ancient scripts of India. This line shows the respect bestowed towards women in the country. From Ramayana to present day, women play a major role in the society. Women are equivalent to men in all the aspects.
Today, women are not homebound. They are showing their ability in almost all the walks of life. But, are they being worshipped? Loved? Are they being treated on par with men?
Mahatma Gandhi had rightly said, “When women can walk freely in the streets even at midnight, I consider India has attained freedom”. Unfortunately, even during broad daylight women hinder to walk alone in the streets. In the recent past, rape, harassment on women have increased a lot.
When Nirbhaya was raped and murdered in Delhi, for the first time India rose against such a heinous crime and protested in a huge way. But the juvenile rapist is released from the remand home and the Delhi government provides him with money and sewing machines to start a new life! Is he punished for his brutality or rewarded for what he had done? Years passed, and the memory of the brave girl Nirbhaya has almost been erased from our memories, however the public memory is too short!
The society wants women as their mother, spouse, sister, maid, but not as a daughter! Even the so called elite people and the educated people wish to have a son, whom they consider as the symbol of pride for the family, and carry forward the legacy of the family. People do talk about achievers like Kalpana Chawla, Lakshmibai of Jhansi, NeerjaBhanot, Indira Gandhi, Sania Mirza, but how many people want their daughter to achieve like them?
Many parents think of getting their daughters married and to come out of their ‘responsibility’. When a girl child shows her courage and starts questioning what she feels to, she gets a ready made answer, ‘You are a girl, and do not question like boys do’. Who has set these social norms? Boys are to question, agitate and girls to adjust!
Indian media and advertisers have never failed to represent women as a commodity. When it comes to any advertisement of a jewellery, they represent a bride wearing all the jewels and getting married, as if marriage is the ultimate possession that a woman can have. While advertising for various products, even if it is not necessary, half – naked women are portrayed and the product gets higher sales!
Recently, the Tamil Nadu sports minister visited a sports college for women. He questioned the girls there, ‘If you are not getting medals, why would the government invest money on you?’. He goes further and asks them about their physical status, whether they are matured, their families know it, are they wearing golden ornaments or gold coated ones! When a state like Tamil Nadu, which has a female Chief Minister can witness such things, what would be the plight of women in other rural and backward areas? Even an educated minister’s mindset is like this, what kind of women empowerment we can expect?!
Women have become soldiers, athletes, scientists, pilots, politicians and so on. They are getting education. But how many are being provided with the opportunities equal to men? If their voice is not heard, if they are not encouraged at homes, how can they grow and show their capabilities to the society? When a woman achieves something, she has to listen to the bad comments made towards her. Athletes, film actresses have become the talk for the foul mouths in a large number in India.
Yes, talking about feminism is not spreading hatred towards men. Many feminists have done that, but the real feminism is to prove the ability of women, which is in fact more than that of men! It is women who work both in and out of the house and maintain a family. Abbakka Rani of Ullala, Lakshmibai of Jhansi, and other brave women led an army during the freedom struggle of India and sacrificed their lives for the motherland.
The laws should be modified. Higher punishment should be given to the crime against women. It is only the fear of punishment can bring down the women harassment. Rape and harassment not only physically assault a woman, but also mentally shakes her up, weakens her. Women education and employment opportunities should be given higher priority. ‘Betibachao – betipadhavo’, (save girl child and educate girl child) like campaigns should be supported and implemented effectively. India, which has women as half of its population, doesn’t have even 20% of women representatives in the parliament. Women should be given the 33% seats in the parliament, which is their right. Women need to be given more opportunities to go out and achieve than to be placed inside the four walls and being worshipped. Then only the Women’s day can be celebrated in its real sense, for which the UN had given rise to it. – Shrithi Joyappa K