Monday, Mar 08, 2021 08:15 [IST]
Last Update: Monday, Mar 08, 2021 02:34 [IST]
The day identified and recognized as a day especially for women as International Women’s Day and it’s celebrated the world over. Just wondering about the celebration of the day especially in the context of Sikkim and the Hill region of Darjeeling and Kalimpong district as we share similar cultural practices, I do accept that celebrating the day is very important that at least a day dedicated entirely for women. It’s a global day for celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women while discussing the different kinds of a problem faced by women. Today and other days, we women should be grateful to those women who fought and prepared our path to independence and opened up various opportunity like to receive an education.
As a child, I imagined a future where I will acquire a respectful job, a position in which where I will have none of the problem based on my gender. Invariably, I wanted to be purposeful as any man. I want this narration dotted with my own experiences, here I am sitting in the chair of a certain position and many a time people come looking for a male as for them head can’t be female. Very often I hear the remark on my looks and colour of my attires but not on my professional skills and ability. Once a male colleague remarked, “you look strict on the face, so no one likes you.” This signals that for a woman to be likeable should always be smiling at people even if the smile isn’t genuine so women learn to pretend later leading to many psychological problems. It’s a hard truth that such male preference exists right from the birth of the child. These days in our society also the birth of any gender of a child brings happiness in the household but having boys certainly brings confidence that now there is the heir of the property in the family. This feeling is shared both by male and female members of society. There is still a family where they wait for the birth of the son after so many births of daughters but it is rare to see the yearning for a daughter if the only sons are there in a family. Mothers of all daughters know the plight of the situation and live with a certain worry if the husband may go for another woman for having the son. These practices still prevail in our society. Furthermore, parenting practices right inside the home is not free from gender biases. It is interesting to watch that boy child is talked roughly and told to man up while girl child is talked softly with a low tone of voice, this passes a message that boys are forced to roughened up and girls are told to stay soft and subdued which is acceptable to society. Submissive females are easy to manipulate when they grow up. The benevolent biasness where the biasness is wrapped in kindness exist right from home to educational institutions. For instance, excluding girls and women from many activities and decision-making process saying that they can’t ‘bechara sakdaina’. This exclusion weakens the gender and they always think small and bechara of themselves. The research conducted by the UN has found that more girl child suffered from malnutrition as compared to the boy child. Growing in an all-girls home, I didn’t realize the differentiation in the feeding of a child, now I catch sight of such biased practices. I remember one of my friends saying, “mero bhai lai besi ghew ani malai alikiti” and this just one instance to share here. It’s no fault of parents because that’s how they grew up and it could be that the mother knows that a slimmer girl will grow into a slimmer young lady who is more acceptable in society. Even now in my conversation with school-going girls and college going girls mentioned that they shared that there are so many restrictions for them some of which are irrational but boys have negligible restrictions at home and in society. Society expects and wants girls to dress in a certain way if not they are grappled, groped by someone with ill intentions. However, it has been proved through researches that sexual harassment does not depend on the girl’s cloth but the mindset of the perpetrator. Mostly girls are expected to be nice and feminine and boys are expected to be tough, aggressive and these traits are lauded which has been normalized in society. The decision making is still with male members of the family such as father, brother and uncles. Many a time the choice of subject or courses for girls are made by male members and so the girls are lead into the course which are considered feminine even if they have other abilities. As a result, they enter the course without much information consequently either they manage to complete or they complete with great difficulty. Early decision decides the career. Later in the career too, confident, decisive and powerful are adjectives used for man and these characteristics are not liked in women. If women become assertive in the job, they suffer a backlash. It has been widely observed that ambitious women are called devilish and ambitious men are admired. In any official discourse, generally, women can’t complete talk without interruptions or if the group is large, women always find it difficult to get attention to her point because men’s ideas are appreciated easily. It has been widely observed that women leaders face more microaggressions from male and female counterparts. There is much more implicit biasness practised against a gender which is the major obstacle to gender equality in our society.
Society surely will be lopsided with only one gender in the front or only one gender represents society. I imagine a society in which discussion on gender issues becomes obsolete and the celebration of such days become redundant. If not complete, but to a large degree, gender equality in society will be achieved with the help of all the genders of the society. Moreover, there is a dire need for sensitive men in society who can sense and think for the cause of the other genders. This gender gap in our thought, in our action and our behaviour, may change with the help of proper education, and practice. Women are the equal partaker of society and the involvement of women accelerate the economy and growth of society. Including women is not just the right thing to do but it is an economic thing. Menfolk in the family, husband, father and brothers have a bigger role and support to help women to stay ahead and bring in the society all genders to live equally. Thereupon, the rise in women will be a growth of family, society and nation where men are an integral part of it. COVID19 pandemic has not been a good experience for women as there is a rise in domestic violence and violence against girls and women, however, the lockdown period provided a much-needed flexible working hour for women as they have the responsibility to look after the house and their career. I don’t mean the pandemic should continue but the policy like workplace policy should be inclusive and adaptive to the need of all genders. The burden on change in society is on women but this burden to bring gender equality should be on all genders. I would like to imagine a cultural shift in attitude towards people of a different gender. To finish today, it doesn’t matter who wears blue and pink, what matters in gender equality. It is a matter of concern that how many centuries and celebrations of women’s day is required to bring consciousness among people about gender equality.