Gender Equality is the theme of international women’s day this year. But what does gender equality actually means? Does it mean offering reservation to women in public office? Does it mean reserving separate bogies and seats for women in transport facilities? Does it mean equal rights that stems from the statute book of Parliament? Gender equality is actually a highly misinterpreted term which is often confused with gender emancipation. Female emancipation is the road to achieve gender equality. To achieve gender equality, one needs to understand the inherent bias that exists in our society that creates a skewed distortion against women.
The basic and most fundamental problem exists at the family level itself, where in most of the cases, especially in rural areas there is a discrimination with the girl child vis-a-vis the male one right from the birth. The birth of a baby girl in most areas is equated as a loan from a bank at inordinate interest rate while the a boy’s birth is seen as as a fixed deposit in the bank with maximum return. This utterly imbecile and shallow presumption translates into poor care of the girl child, in her upbringing time, which ultimately impacts her entire life. Her nutrition, education, health and intellect is not allowed to develop only because she did not got the Y chromosome from her father. Men who are reading must revise their biology that the sex of the baby entirely depends on their own chromosome. Her education is more often seen as a liability. Even if some moderately liberal parents, especially in the sub-urban towns allow their daughters to do higher studies, their education is largely confined to getting a degree and getting married to a well-settled guy selected by “them” for “her”.
While in arrange marriages, even the boy’s spouse are selected by the parents but their exists a fundamental difference. Difference being that, the boy gets to easily refuse the girl selected by parents, the chance of a girl rejecting the boy selected by her parents are very less. This is because of the fear and lack of independence given by the parents to the girl while making a decision and this decision making ability stems from two factors-one being the formal education and the other being the equal treatment by parents at home.
Education, that allows herself to assert, think independently, riposte someone talking nonsense, taking a firm and fierce stand, even if it is against her husband or in-laws. This education can’t be only taught in books but it is taught by parents, family and society. If the parents start giving equal space to their daughter’s as they give to their sons, the scene could drastically change. This requires a relentless awareness drive disseminated via different routes.
As we gear to celebrate international women’s day, we shall pledge to work for gender equality. The youth has the power to change the course of this country. Let us allow our women counterpart to assert herself, at school, college, workplace and obviously at home. Let us pledge today to protest any discrimination against the women, whether it is in the form of Triple Talaq, Hazi Ali, Sabrimala or Shani-Shignapur. Let us pledge that if god blesses us with a beautiful daughter, we love her as much as we can. Let us pledge that we make women as revered as we revere her in the name of Durga, Kali, Saraswati and Lakshmi!