I am quite vocal about women empowerment and women safety issues over social media. Most of my male friends find it annoying sometimes and even argue that why am I advocating about women empowerment and safety when they are already empowered and safe. When I counter them with the recent happenings, they come up with arguments that women are not suppressed by the society or men but they are suppressed by themselves.
To some extent, I do believe them but then I would also like to point here that many women in India suppress themselves because of the age old patriarchal society that still exists in India where a women is seen nothing more than a tool to look after the family and produce kids to keep the bloodline running. Sounds harsh may be but it is the truth.
The problem in this country is that we seldom do accept or understand the problems we face. And to top it all, we often get to conclusions and give judgments faster. In case of the women too, the same is repeated. The one who are working for it are divided as most of them are considering it as a war against the men and the others who are fighting for equality don’t find enough support. Then, what’s the solution.
To find the solution we must address and accept the real problems that women face today even in the 21st century.
Problems Faced by Indian Women with Their Proposed Solutions
First of all, you must clear your mind when I say inequality or equality among all genders. By inequality, I don’t mean that women and men are the same. On the contrary, they are completely opposite to each other and both have different characteristics as well as behavioral patterns. Inequality here means that both men and women are not allowed to opt for same choices when it comes to education, marriage or career options.
There have been so many examples in the past as well as in the present where the parents have stopped the education of their daughter because of low funds only so their son could pursue higher education. The typical mindset is that their daughter must be educated just enough so she can be easily married off whereas the son must pursue higher education as he would become the breadwinner of the family in the future. Also, the daughters in India are often asked or forced to learn household skills such as cooking, washing, cleaning whereas the sons are never.
So, what is the solution?
The solution is not that simple as it has to be addressed from the grassroots. First of all, we must accept the fact that education is the birth right of everyone, no matter whether it’s a boy or girl. Secondly, in this age, both men and women must learn household skills from an early age as it would help them both look after themselves when they are on their own. To spread this understanding, a nationwide awareness program is required where families must be educated with the facts that it doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or girl, educating your children would always bring good fortune to your family. A girl today is as much capable as a boy to take care of the family.
- Considered as a Burden by own Family
The second and undoubtedly the most severe problem that a woman faces in India is that she is always considered a burden by her family until she is married off. For parents, the ultimate goal of their life is to see that their daughter is married off to a decent guy belonging to a good family. For these parents, they don’t care much about their daughter’s educational qualification whereas they want a groom who is well educated.
Such parents are restless from the day their daughter turns 18 years until she gets married. Though, they don’t admit it fully that they consider their daughter as a burden, most of the parents stress a lot and often worry about their daughter’s marriage as if that’s the only thing she was born to do in her life. Above all, these parents are also expected to arrange huge lump-sum of money while they are marrying off their daughter as dowry. As it is illegal now to ask for dowry in India, there are certain ways that the groom’s parents demand money from the bride’s side. Most often, bride’s parents offer money without even asking in order to secure their daughter’s future.
So, what’s the solution?
Again, the solution is not simple. The inequality must be eradicated completely if you wish to change the mindset. We need to move on and break this joint family system which does nothing but spreads chaos most of the times. Once married, both the bride and groom must start a new life together separately from both their parents. Parents from both sides can help their children settle down finely offering any sort of financial help. Also, the expenses for the wedding must be divided equally so that the bride’s parents are not burdened. It’s difficult to practice but with education and women becoming independent, I believe there’s nothing wrong to end this patriarchal system that prevails in the society.
Now with the patriarchal system comes dependency for women. Since from the childhood, they are dependent on someone. For the initial part of their life, they are dependent on their parents and when they get married, they are dependent on their husband while in the later part of their life, they are dependent on their children.
Although, some women today are bold enough to live life on their own terms, there are many women who still dependent on someone for their needs. Most of these women consider it as their duty to live for others and serve them as they believe that they are destined for that. In a way, that thinking is what is really suppressing the state of women in the country.
So, what’s the solution?
It’s simple. Educate women and help them be independent in life. By saying that, I don’t want to demean those women who adapt themselves in the household work and take care of their families. They do the best and the most difficult job in the world as a lot of people depend on them. Ironically, although a lot of people depend on these women, they are seldom credited for it. It’s time that we credit them for what they do. If it goes my way then I would suggest that housewives must be offered 50% of the salary that their husbands earn so they don’t have to ask or request for money to bear their own personal expenses. This way nobody is dependent on the other and everyone can lead a happy life.
- Stereotyping at everything
In India, people have opinions for everything. And when it comes to making judgments on women, we are No.1 in the world. The most surprising fact here is that the women themselves are found to be making judgments on other women whether it is about the attire or personal matters.
In India, we often stereotype women according to their attire, behavior and people they hang out with. If a girl is wearing jeans or skirt, we start stereotyping her as a bold modern girl whereas if the same girl is seen wearing salwar kameez or any other Indian attire, we term her as a “Behanji”. Such stereotyping is quite common nowadays and most of the women ignore it completely. Yet, there are people who never get tired of making opinions or remarks on everyone around them especially women.
So, what’s the solution?
Now, this problem doesn’t have any clear solution because such actions are based on behavior or nature of a person. And you can’t possibly change the nature or behavior of someone. The only way to solve this problem is to ignore such people as they are not worth your time. The more you think about their opinions, the more you would find yourself at the wrong end. Hence, start ignoring their comments and let them waste their time upon you. Also, women themselves must stop stereotyping others as they should understand that while they are giving opinions on others, someone is making judgments or remarks on them as well.
- Unsafe in the outer world
Now this is the most debated issue since the unforgivable Delhi Gang Rape incident on 16th December. Since then there were huge number of protests and cases registered for rapes all over India. It was even declared that women are nowhere safe in India and it’s a pity for this nation that values so much to its women when it comes to preserving our culture and traditions. Not just that, there are cases of acid throwing on women by those men who attack a woman only to revenge them for not accepting the so called love proposal.
There are numerous incidents where women who are attacked such brutally go through severe pain for months, whereas the trauma they face is indefinite and remain for the lifetime. I seriously don’t understand the mentality of such people who carry out such inhuman activities as at the end of the day they don’t gain anything out of it. And last but not the least, domestic violence is yet another evil that women in India face even today. Most of these cases go unregistered as the women opt not to speak about for the welfare of their family.
So, what’s the solution?
The only solution is to tighten the security in India to a level that nothing in the outer world goes unnoticed or un-witnessed. Women should feel safe at any hour of the day whether they are going alone or accompanied by their friend or family. Secondly, education is the key and the children from the very early age must be taught respecting everyone whether men or women. Women must quit shyness and come out in the open and report all the crimes against them. If you are the victim then there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Shame is on them who treat you any lesser after such incidents. The only way we can fight these evil minds is by coming out strong forcefully and fighting against them with everything we have. It may be a passion or hobby for men to learn defense skills whereas for women it’s the need of the hour. I would advise all parents to make their daughters strong and encourage them to learn some self-defense skills to protect themselves while in danger. Rather than depending on the system or the society, women must take charge and defend themselves.
Lastly, my thoughts on women empowerment and women safety are simple. Education is the key not just for women but for everyone. Education is not just a tool to get a job but it also helps us differentiate between right and wrong. Next, we should adapt to the latest trends and accept the new lifestyle of people rather than blaming it on the western influence. Everyone in this world deserves the right to live on their own terms and it includes women as well.
There’s a well-known saying in India that says, “Educate a boy, you educate an individual. Whereas, when you educate a girl, you educate a family”.