It’s Women’s day today and you hear the following, often.‘You know, I’ve given my wife all the freedom in the world to do what she wants’. While this might seem heartening to many, I believe, this very mindset is at the heart of all things wrong. In the course of this article, I will make an attempt to express my views on gender-inequality, oppression, and how we can resist this malaise.
Ever since the dawn of civilization, women have been subjugated and forced into obeying men. Men, by creating social structures and hierarchies, continue to occupy the seat of power. Not just in the workplace, but at home too. Excepting an insignificant number of households, a majority of homes, in both developing and developed countries, function the patriarchal way. Women are ordered or gently coerced into performing duties that are designed for them.
If they refuse to accept these inherently unbalanced structures, they are meted with social and individual isolation. They suffer in solitude. While people don’t disagree with this, they choose to turn a blind eye. Why? ‘Because who wants to lose power,’ is the disturbing response. And, to defend this, we convince ourselves with the necessity of gender-defined roles. In this way, we propagate gender-stereotypes and continue to confine women to the four walls.
When we delve deeper and try to understand why such obnoxious ideas prevail in the so-called modern world, the answer reveals thus. ‘Men have always believed that it is their discretion to grant freedom or enslave women’. This thought, I believe, is among the fundamental reasons for the oppression that exists. Consequently, the change, too, should begin with a dismantling of this thought. The change begins with the acknowledgement of the gender-inequality problem.
Patriarchy is a problem that is holding back women from happiness, and the world from progress. If we don’t recognize the problem for what it is, we eliminate every chance of addressing the issue, even before we begin. Dismissing feminist movements as a fight for supremacy has been a roadblock, and continues to be. It is an alibi used by the guilty male-conscience to defy and thwart any threat to the throne.
Feminism is not a fight for supremacy; it is a view that believes ‘men and women are equal’. Every act of defiance is a reflection of how, over the years, women have been treated as second-rate human beings. From Sati to ill-treatment of windows in various forms, society has demanded of women a subservience, an abject surrender. A social order of this kind demands a rebellion, in the form of assertive action. And that’s what feminism hopes to do.
The theme for International Women’s Day 2019, to be celebrated on 8th March, is #balanceforbetter. In a world where women assume multiple responsibilities and excel in every field, the representation at the workplace falls way short of the equality mark. One can observe that, at various levels, including sports, corporate organisations and parliaments, women don’t get their due.
In order to ensure pay parity, equal representation and more importantly human rights, collective action is a must. From the first International Women’s Day, celebrated in 1911 to this day, 108 years later, there has been significant progress. Having said that, much needs to be done. The story of oppression, sadly, is ongoing. While it’s the utopia that we eliminate it once and for all, a continuous struggle is the only answer.
So, just like charity begins at home, respect for women too begins within the four walls. If you ever come across an action that is disrespectful towards women, do not let it pass. There can be no exception when it comes to consent, mutual respect and equal representation for women. For all the noble work women have done for us, men, they deserve this at least, and certainly more. More than being mothers, sisters, friends and partners, they are human, as much as men.
Here’s wishing all the women a very happy Women’s Day.
Also, Read The Many Hats Modern Day Woman Wears