Gender Equality – Myth or Reality?
India has been an independent nation for more than 65 years. Each citizen of this country is entitled to their fundamental rights. That’s what the Indian Constitution says. Be that as it may, can we honestly say that India’s women are enjoying equal rights, equal opportunities and equal freedom? When we examine this question objectively, we come up with only one answer, no matter how many times we ask the question to ourselves: NO.
In spite of all the political rhetoric and bellicose shouting about women’s rights and equal opportunities for women, gender discrimination is still very much a pipe dream for most Indian women. In many parts of the country, girls are facing a herculean struggle to even be born into this world. What happened to the Right to Life, you may ask. Well apparently, the rules are different for a girl child. The evils of female foeticide and female infanticide have resulted in a very disproportionate gender ratio in many parts of the country.
Many of the girls who are lucky enough to be born have to go through the ignominy of watching their brothers getting preferential treatment in everything from basic needs like food and clothing to important things like education and marriage. Why do even their own families give their daughters a raw deal and their sons a good one? And oh the mothers! What do they do? They are either silent spectators or active participants in this injustice. Why does this prejudice still exist even in educated, so-called modern families?
It’s because even though women have come a long way in the last sixty-five years in all fields, the perceptions and long-held views of society towards women have not really changed that much in the same time period. Society still views women in the traditional roles of a docile homemaker whose highest aspirations in life should be to land a good husband and be a perfect wife. This stereotype is the crux of the issue. This is the reason why women are being blamed for crimes committed against them.
Merely harping about gender equality is not enough. Changing the laws alone will not help. It’s up to the women to break out of this stereotype. Breaking barriers is nothing new to us Athenas. We have to not only stand up for our beliefs, we have to stand firm. Change begins at home.
Come on Athenas. Let’s lead by example. Let’s treat our sons and daughters equally in all aspects of life. Let’s not show any preferential treatment. We have to teach our daughters to be tough. The only way to do that is to toughen ourselves.