This year on 15th of August, India will be celebrating 70 years of independence. However, as the women population of this country, living here for however long you may be, do you actually think that we are free?
Think about it, every time someone is discriminated against in this country it is a women. Every time someone is judged for the clothes they wear or how long they stay out at night, or their lifestyle choices, it is a woman.
No matter how advanced we attempt to get, with our industries and economy, our country can never truly be independent unless it starts to put its women on the same pedestal as it put its men on. Not unless its people start to realize that feminism doesn’t preach “all men must die” but rather it just asks for equal treatment and equal opportunities. Is that too great a thing to ask in the 21st century –or any century for that matter?
Let’s start by talking about discrimination. The Constitution of our country says that no person shall be discriminated on the grounds of religion, race, gender, caste, or place of birth. Yet we see employees deciding to pick the male candidate over the female because they think a woman’s inability to “control her emotions” is not something the organization wants. They would rather give the promotion to the man even if it is the woman who is capable of handling the position better.
The employer would feel entitled to ask the female candidate if she has any plans to have children in the near future, during her interview instead of focusing on her qualifications. And let’s not even venture on the existing pay gap, where a man and woman doing the same work in the same post, are paid two different salaries; take a guess who earns more. For every dollar that a man earns us woman only get 80 cents.
When the British ruled India discrimination was rampant and had become commonplace. An Indian could never even dream of getting the same amount of rights, or any rights for that matter, as an English person did. Therefore, when we got our independence, the people who drafted the Constitution, wanted to make sure that the law of the land ensured that such kind of an evil never remained in our country. And yet, here we are, still struggling.
Coming to the next hurdle, we have something which every lady has faced at least once in her life, if not more; and that is catcalling and harassment of any kind.
Even after having several laws implemented by our country that make acts like these punishable, we see people on the streets having no shame or fear when they harass women or catcall them
The moment you find yourself on an empty street, even if it is during broad daylight, there will be a passer-by who would say something offensive to you or pass a lewd comment. You ask yourself, will they have done the same if it were a guy or if you were with a guy? The answer to this will always be no.
When you take a taxi or an auto, if you are a woman travelling alone, the chances of the driver taking advantage of this situation is a lot higher. Now when I say “take advantage” I’m not referring to something as severe as sexual assault, but small things like charging more money from you, not take the road that you direct them to, threaten to make you de-board the vehicle mid-way, and so on.
Even if the good lord is seeing everything and karma awaits them, this mentality can never change unless people make an effort to change it and start inculcating good habits in their kids from the very beginning.
Following on the above issue, we also have to fight the patriarchy on an everyday basis. Not just on the road or at work, but even at our homes. Our mothers wouldn’t bat an eye when our brother tells her that he is going out with friends, but the moment we say the same, a torrent of questions come rushing our way. Who is this friend? Is it a boy? Will there be other girls present? Where will you be going? How long will you be out? They would expect us to learn all the household chores but wouldn’t expect the same from the son.
To this I ask, if we are truly equal, then why do we still need to deal with this?
It is things like these that make us wonder where exactly is this country going. Even after being in the 21st century, we hear people saying things like “I don’t mean to be sexist but…” and what follows after this is always something sexist.
I wouldn’t say that sexism is “innocent,” but I do understand where this commenter is coming from. Not all sexism is done with malicious intent; sometimes it’s a product of ignorance and privilege, but that doesn’t make it any less important to point out.
So, ladies and gents ask yourself this; even after 70 years of independent and all these efforts of development, are the women in this country truly free?