Whenever we talk about gender equality the first word that comes to our mind, is empowerment of women, and their attitudinal change. But we must realize how wrong we are in this respect;
yes! we should empower our girls and women at the very outset, but also equally our men and boys.
I myself am a woman, and a woman with disability, same description of myself, in itself makes it sound like I am a person with a lot of baggage. But do you know what? I am proud of who I am. My visual impairment which occurred due to a doctor’s negligence, has proved to be a boon for me. I choose between two choices, to be a broken glass all my life, or to mend my broken pieces .
Here are some of my takes on gender sensitization.
- In a developing country like India, women are still marginalized and their empowerment still remains a myth in many respects. Can we take a glance in to our own families?
- How many of us serve food in large quantities to our fathers and brothers? Why many mothers save the last piece of chicken for them?
- How many of us wait at night for their arrival, and when they arrive don’t utter a single word of anger?
- Why many highly educated married women are forced to quit their job to take care of their husband’s family? Why do wives have to hear their in-laws and neighbors falsely blaming them for not being able to manage a good home due to the fact that they are working? Is it only okay for a man to be career minded? Why can’t a woman do so too?
The specialty of a woman, is that she can work and also manage a home.
She can bare more pain in her life. May be that is why she is chosen by the creator himself to be a child barrier.
Yes, this is our situation. Our women still need to go a long way.
Gender pay gap still exists in many prominent companies in India. For instance, a well accomplished school teacher in a private school, having many years of experience gets lesser pay then her male subordinate, who has less experience.
Girls learn self-defense to protect themselves from male attackers. But how many men are sensitized not to attack a girl at night?
How many men are told, that if a girl goes out at night, it would be for a reason and it is for the same valid reason that he would go out.
- Why is it that the girl has to give dowry at the time of marriage?
- Why can’t she in her own perfectness be a dowry for a man? Shouldn’t he be happy to have a good wife? Why should we women be selling commodities?
A lot of this comes from our elder generation of women itself.
It is their attitude that should change. If a girl is molested in a bus, the elder women say “She asked for it because she traveled at night”.
Gender sensitization is the key to a better world where equality would rule over patriarchy.
We should also think of man empowerment.
From early childhood men should be sensitized to respect all girls and women, and to be empathetic. Women should also learn to accept men, and understand them.
- Isn’t it shocking to hear that men are also molested by fellow men, as well as by women?
Such incidents aren’t reported due to fear that men will lose their image and chivalries, but yes, this also happens.
So both men and women need to learn to respect and except each other, and empower each other.
- Let me now bring our attention to the next genders the transgender, and eunuchs.
They are part of this world, and were made by the creator, or choose to change of their own accord.
They are not a section to be culturally superseded, and sidelined, but they are to be accepted.
On Meeting Zara Shek, one of the first Transgender employees in an eminent company, my entire perspective about such people changed. We shy away from such people, and look down upon them as a curse. We see a eunuch in a train trying to earn a penny or two by clapping and singing an old desolate song. What do we do? On seeing them, we turn our heads and ignore.
We must stand up for them, include them, and understand them, only then there will be a change in society. Change happens from within, and collectively, it is not an overnight process, nor a one man process, for as the age-old proverb quotes
“United we stand, Divided we fall”, change happens collectively.
I hope that during my life time, I see a change in the plight of men, women, transgender, and persons with disabilities. Imagine our mother India, where all are empowered, have equal rights and live proudly.