Civilizations have progressed, literacy rates have risen, living standards have improved, the world has shrunk but what has not changed is the attitude of society towards women. This is because the mental outlook of people is such; it has always been like this. Women have been considered an inferior race for as long as anyone can remember. They are not viewed as active, smart-thinking individuals but merely as vessels that carry future generations, objects of desire and the carriers of honor of the male members of their families. Rather in some societies a “woman’s worth” is measured in her abilities to bear children. They are considered incapable of making decisions and logical thinking.
The woman is confined to the chores of the house and belongs within the four walls of the kitchen. You must be thinking that this is the scenario in some rural small time village where people are not that educated and still have archaic thoughts about the society. Well this is the scene even in the metro cities which have been modernized and western culture has been painted all over them. But beneath this paint still lies the thick coating of backward thinking of people, the prejudiced mental outlook of our society towards women.
In this twenty first century where on one hand women are not just said to be matching pace with men rather they are said to be walking a step ahead in every field, on the other hand they are treated like “scum”. Women are still not given the respect, the rights and the freedom they deserve. Be it anywhere any field, their office, the government or their own houses for that matter. If you turn your head around you are sure to find some or the other form of discrimination against women taking place.
Women have to live through horrors we can’t even imagine in our worst dreams. They have to live in bounds and confines, they have to stay behind a lakshman rekha, which is decided by the male members of their family. They have to live by someone else’s rules. They are subjected to discrimination violence of all kinds, ill-treatment at the hands of the society.
Practices like dowry are still prevalent in the society, thought in some placed kept hush hush and under the covers but still going on. And because of this people consider the birth of a girl child bad faith. There have been many cases of female infanticide and foeticide where the girl child is killed because she is thought of to be of no use. Someone who can’t contribute to the family income. And if the daughter manages to survive, she is discriminated against in her own family. She isn’t given the same freedom as the boy child. She is not allowed to study and her only education is in the kitchen. She is taught to be just a good wife to her future husband.
Women in a marriage are again treated as nothing more than a liability. She is expected to obey her husband blindly. They don’t have the right to ask questions but just to obey. After marriage in many situations the behavior towards the newlywed bride is based on the amount of dowry given by her. And if the in laws are not satisfied by it they mistreat her and mentally and physically harass her. There have been many cases where the women in such situations have been subject to domestic violence. They are beaten up or in some cases burnt alive or have committed suicide. Also in the less literate sections of the society women are treated like cattle and their only use is considered to be bearing children and that too most probably a boy. If a woman gives birth to a girl child she is condemned, not knowing that there possibly was nothing that she could have done.
The situation in the urban areas or our so called metro cities is a little better. But unlike in the rural areas where people are very blatant about this ill treatment, in our cities things happen in a more conspicuous manner. Women here are given more opportunities and more freedom. One would feel as if this is a fair situation but one just needs to peek behind the curtain. Here the scene is a little different. It has more to do with inequality rather than with harassment and torture like in the previous scenario.
Let us talk about our government, our parliament which is legally obligated to be fair and just to one and all including women. But the “Women’s reservation bill” seeking reservation of 33% of the seats in the Lok Sabha and in all state legislative assemblies for women representation has been hanging in the parliament for more than a decade now and is not being passed by the parliament. It is probably thought that if women get a say in the way our country is run they might become more empowered and will not stay within the shadow of their men.
This is just one of the countless examples showing the true condition in the ‘world’s fastest growing democracy’. I think we need to take a better look at the situation and raise our voice against this injustice. We women need to prove to the world that these hands are not just meant for bangles and cooking but can be used to beat them at their own game. We have been bearing all of this quietly for a long time, but not anymore. We need to do our bit and make an effort to change the situation for good.