A good old friend recently asked me, “Why do you always talk of feminism? Don’t you think these days women are already at par with men, where rights and opportunities are concerned?” I told him that I would definitely answer his question and put it up on my blog too. So, here’s the blog.
Feminism is about equality of all gender, equal rights for every one and an activism directed to the building of an egalitarian world – a world that has risen above gender bias and discrimination. I consider myself a feminist, and believe in equal rights and opportunities. Here’re a few instances of the glaring inequalities that convince me to be a feminist (and should convince you too).
1. Women’s safety is still a cause of concern. They are not safe when they walk on the street, eve-teasing is rampant, and then there are men who also physically assault women. Women are not safe even in their own homes, for often the men who stay with them also are a threat to their safety.
2. Education for women is yet a luxury. There is a huge number of girls who are forced to drop out of schools every year. Higher education is rarely encouraged for women. Marriage is seen as the primary goal for a woman even if she is educated and qualified.
3. Marriages spell out the inequalities loudly. Particularly in India, very often, the groom and his family are self-assumed gods who demand to be worshipped at all times. The girl is forced to live up to their expectations, trying hard to please (by her culinary skills and reproductivity) and give up on all her dreams.
4. The workplace is a challenging place for a woman. Most organizations have a huge gap in the ratio of men and women employees. She works as much as a man, but often gets paid lesser than him. She has combat sexual harrassment at workplace, yet her image is most often tarnished. A very successful woman at work is sadly often hailed as ‘she slept her way up there!’ Her competence, her achievements are pushed back, and hardly ever appreciated.
5. Sexist jokes still exist in all forms. In whatsapp groups and as social media posts, there are frequent instances of people sharing sexist jokes and what is even more shocking is that if someone has the goodness to call this out as offensive, those people get offended and react with adverse comments.
6. Women are often regarded as secondary to their own lives. By ‘secondary’, I intend to point out that for most decisions in her life at every stage, a woman is compelled to be advised by the men in her lives who are either her father, brother husband or son. She is supposed to act according to their wishes in most cases. However, for a man, the women’s ‘suggestions’ may be ignored and he can solely decide for himself.
7. Boys and girls in most families are raised differently. This contrast is particularly visible in India, where even the birth of a girl is not even anticipated. There are homes that only teach girls how to behave, how to stay safe, how to please everyone and how to be good girls who make their parents proud, but these lessons are not taught to the boys.
8. We still say that women need to maintain the balance between work and personal life. The man in the same house has work and personal life too, but again there sadly, balancing the two is hardly ever talked about. Household chores and the responsibility of children mostly rest on the woman, with the man hardly caring about them.
9. Being a feminist is seen as something derogatory, when actually what feminism advocates is equal rights for all, without any kind of discrimination based on gender. Feminism is wrongly understood as hating men or asking for female supremacy, when it is actually about equality.
I am a feminist and proud to be one. I am also trying to raise a feminist daughter. We hope for a better world and we are working on it through ourselves, by standing up for truth, justice and equality, and above all happiness!
Do you consider yourself a feminist? How far different is a woman’s life from a man’s life? Please let me know your views in the comments’ section.