Numb. Sad. Angry. Disappointed. Ashamed. Just a few words which can be used to describe how I feel at the moment. Incredible India, where women are treated as second class citizens and are subjected to endless bias and humiliation. From female feoticide, unequal educational opportunities, dowry, domestic violence, to rape - there seems to be no end. This is not the India anyone could be proud of.
While our government has completely failed us in providing a safe and secure nation for women, our society has failed us equally. I am not a leader, or a philanthropist or a revolutionary but I do wish to make a difference, in whatever little way that I can. I could be the change I wish to see and urge the people around me to do the same!"Just because India achieved freedom at midnight does not mean that women can venture out after dark," Andhra Pradesh Congress chief said.
In 2010, the World Economic Forum released its Global Gender Gap report, in which India ranked at 112 out of a total of 134 countries (Murti). The report measured the difference in how men and women in each country had access to resources and opportunities. It took into consideration economics, education, political participation, health and survival. When countries are ranked according to economic participation and job opportunities for women, India ranks at 128, above just six other countries. (via)
Gender Equality - Our society breeds on male-child-preference. I personally know of at least 5 families where they have 3-4 daughters and then a son. Simply to carry on the family name. Which name is that? I fail to understand. No one practically remembers you once you are gone. It is your false sense of self-importance that wants you to believe that you will be remembered one-generation-after-another. More likely than not, you won't even be missed. Unless you are Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King.
However, this need to have a male heir feeds the Indian mentality to treat women/girls badly, which personally I would say is often borderline-derogatory even. Do not ask your daughters to help in household work while the son sits in front of television. Do not tell your daughter she cannot go out past sun-set while the boy is not back home even at dawn. Do not stop your daughter's education to make your son a bread winner. All this automatically gives the boy a false sense of superiority.
"In many parts of India, women are distinctly seen as inferior sub-humans, who should stay confined at home, behind a veil, cook, produce children, take care of the in-laws and entertain their husbands. It becomes intolerable for men with such mindsets when young women begin to challenge such stereotypes by stepping out and surpassing them in education and employment and by asserting their independence and financial freedom. Such women then, deserve to be punished— and humiliated violently with rape, is the thinking. When more and more men think similarly and decide to punish women, there’s the opportunity for gangrape and the planning and plotting begins." (via)
Media & Movies - Media and movies do not help in the matter either. Lyrics of a recent song "main to tanduri murgi hoon yaar ... gatkale saiyan alcohol se" (via) are a good example of what I mean. Today I echo Reena's views on our ever-so-popular items numbers ("Sexualizing actresses and calling "item numbers" harmless fun, is NOT harmless. It's harmful." ) and am ashamed that I ever compliemnted or enjoyed them.
Upbringing - Lastly, could we please treat our sons and daughters alike? Teach our sons to respect women and treat everyone equally regardless of their caste or gender. And PLEASE teach your daughter to be go-getters, never underestimate themselves and probably enroll them in a self-protection class. At least till the men in our country learn to behave themselves.