Saturday, March 10, 2007

My thoughts on Women's Day

March 8th was International Women’s Day and women from all over the world would be reviewing their status as home makers, income generators and child bearers. Meetings will be held and the rights of women will be emphasized. I am sure Women Organizations all over the world are doing their best to educate women to fight oppression and to stand up for themselves. I do not have to add to what has already been stressed so many times. I wish to direct your attention to something entirely different - the mental block a woman suffers from, that in turn makes her willingly accept a sub-ordinate role in society.

We have women who have been earning member’s of their families but take pride in saying that they never go to the bank to draw money. Their pass books are updated by their husbands and they wouldn’t know their increment date. They cannot/will not fill out a railway reservation slip, let alone income tax return forms. It suits them to remain so. We have college teachers who pay Rs.100/- to clerks who are much less educated to fill out these forms and submit them at the appropriate counter. I wonder if all this talk of WOMEN EMPOWERMENT has any meaning in their lives. “All this is so complicated. I’d rather pay money to get it done” is what they say. These decked up dolls claim that they are being exploited.

I attended a program that marked the International women’s day and came back disillusioned and dejected. The central theme was female feticide. Survey in East Singhbhum district where I live, showed that the decline in female population was sharper in urban rather than rural areas. Earlier only the upper class could afford these tests but now even middle class families availed the services of clinics that offered sex determination test facilities registered or otherwise. Education/literacy and empowerment of women were not correlative. Having a job did not automatically ensure empowerment. They still yielded to pressure from their families. Or did they also perhaps believe that a girl child was a liability?

I shall discuss the issue of female feticide later. Let me put down a few points that come to my mind regarding women empowerment.

1) Women must learn to respect and love themselves. Self esteem alone can empower them.
2) Women must learn to take responsibility. Rights and duty go hand in hand.
3) Mothers have to teach their sons to respect women.
4) Disparity among men and women is man made and not god given. It needs to be overcome.
5) The girl child needs to be told by her that she is not ‘paraya dhan’ but an important permanent member of her maternal home, entitled to their love and affection as much as her brother. This will go a long way in making her aware of her duties to her parents. A woman who has the affection and support of her parents will be respected better by her husband and his family.

8 comments:

Usha said...

I get dejected when I look around and see many women trapped in their own mindsets and the stupid ideas they have inherited from their elders or learnt watching films. And I dont see any real progress for this country until they have learnt to see things in the right perspective and stand up for their rights.

Hip Grandma said...

usha:I feel that these TV soaps are the culprits.They project women as doormats,viragos,schemers and what not.We need more talk shows emphasizing on the role of women in society.The concept that a woman is on a temporary stay at her parent's home and her real home is the one she will go into after marriage should go.Only then will parents think of educating and empowering her.In our culture a married woman does not seem to have any real duty towards her parents.

Monika said...

Fantastic post grandma... I agree with the u on the points that u have metioned, we need to awaken and broaden our outlook...

Hip Grandma said...

monika:I feel bad when women degrade themselves.this is worse than what society does to them.when will they understand?

Mahadevan said...

Agree with your four points, starting with self esteem. But, I believe, now many women, particularly, the younger generation, are conscious of their role.

Hip Grandma said...

mahadevan:You refer to urban women but there are thosands in semi urban and rural areas who still have a long way to go.

Jay said...

"We have women who have been earning member’s of their families but take pride in saying that they never go to the bank to draw money. Their pass books are updated by their husbands and they wouldn’t know their increment date. They cannot/will not fill out a railway reservation slip, let alone income tax return forms."

Gmom, I am glad that I am not the only one who feels that way when encountering such women!!

Coming to soaps (Indian ones especially), I rejoice (now more than ever before) whenever I see a strong but bad female character, no matter how bad she is portrayed in the dramas. You know why? At least 'she' is empowered enough to 'think', 'say' and 'do' those bad things confidently rather than being the 'oh-safe-me-please-darling-knight' heroine!

Hip Grandma said...

jay:maybe you have a point there.after being subjugated for centuries indian women may find a sadistic satisfaction in seeing them dominate the scene if not in real life at least in these soap operas-so what if she is a virago or a villainess.I never loked at it that way.