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International Women’s Day special: India needs fresh outlook to feminism
Everyone in India witnesses gender biasness on a daily basis. We’ve all seen Muslim girls from hyper-orthodox families forced into wearing burkahs, Hindu girls are not allowed into temples during their menstrual cycle, newly-wedded women forced to leave their jobs, bridal families made to pay dowry and there are several cases we have noticed of molestation – whether it is verbal or physical.
As statistics suggest, Indian women have a lower literacy rate comparison to their counterparts…are often unable to file criminal charges against spousal abuse and rape… have fewer bank accounts…much lower workforce participation…and are, by a huge margin, more likely to be the victims of honor-killings, rape and dowry-related domestic violence. We know that female infanticide is also a serious problem in our country.
Despite all this, there are some laws and provisions that safeguards Indian women. Also there are several organizations and NGOs which are working very hard for women’s rights and protection of women from any kind of violence and injustice.
For example, the mindset of men to occupy a bus seat which is reserved for women is commonly seen patriarchal nature of our society, where women are struggling for their deserved rights on daily basis.
It’s true that women almost universally have to deal with issues of personal safety and additional precautions that men simply don’t have to worry about.
Today, women are getting positive change in the situation of social, economic and political perspectives, but this change is more quantitative than qualitative. That is, according to statistics, women are literate…they have their participation in every field, but even today they are not completely self-reliant. The Indian constitution has been helpful in empowering women, but even today, women are not completely free from patriarchal wallets.
Every day, increasing crime against women, falling sex ratio and declining women’s health point to the number of female strengths to be praised on women’s day.
The decision of what to read, how much will be taught, from where to read and what to wear is the decision of the mature girls themselves. Even how to spend the money earned by them and how and whom to marry, such decisions will also be taken primarily by the men of the house.
I dream of an India where my female friends and family members can walk the streets at whatever time of the day, wearing whatever they are comfortable in, in complete safety…where a woman on her periods isn’t considered a ‘polluted object’. Where girls are expected to go to school and given the freedom to pursue their dreams in academia and workforce. Where, the sex ratio is not biased. I wish, Indian family celebrates birth of a girl child as the way they celebrate a boy…
No idea is born in vacuum, but it is born from the womb of those circumstances, whose roots have to be transformed by reducing the rooted walls of the rooted society. That’s how I feel about feminism in India.