By Rachna Jani:
Women have been subject to inequality, gender bias, sexual abuse and much more oppression since many centuries. Women have also been ostracized in the name of ‘Family Honour’ when we wanted to do things our way. Recently there was a flare on the honour killings that took place in the states of Punjab and Harayana, where the girl of the family was killed if she married against her parents’ wishes. The Khap Panchayats justify the killings too! What can justify such a heinous crime? Women have always learnt to keep quiet and be puppets in the hands of men.
But this is just one side of the story. The other side has experienced ‘Women Power’ in almost all fields. The biggest example that we have in front of us is that of Sudha Narayan Murthy, the Head of Infosys. Then we have Sonia Gandhi, President of the Indian National Congress. We have a very famous activist Medha Patkar who started the ‘Narmada Bachao Aandolan’ which was also supported by Aamir Khan. It’s not only these big stars that have shined. Just to bring to light again the Jessica Lal murder case which was closed and denied justice; her sister Sabrina Lal had the courage to approach a newspaper like Tehelka and get her sister justice with the help of a journalist.
All this shows how women are strong and capable enough to get out of any tough situation themselves. But in our country we still have women and girls bound to the age-old customs and traditions like child marriage and female infanticide. Most of all this happens in the rural interiors of our country where education for girls is forbidden once they reach puberty or sometimes even before that. I think the first step that we should take, collectively, is to start educating ourselves and people around us.
Education is the key factor to the solution to all the problems of women. It gives us the strength to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong and also to stand for ourselves. It’s the duty of the mother to teach her sons to respect women, only then will they respect the opposite sex in the future. A strong civic sense comes from what children view around them. If they see their father beating their mother they will definitely feel that women are the weaker sex and so it’s okay to oppress them but if they sees that their father is treating the mother equally at all times they will know that women are not weak in any field. So basically portrayal of women in a right way is absolutely essential not only for boys to respect them but also for girls so that they can build a sufficiently good self confidence.
To conclude I would like to say that, we have all the power and rights in our hands, all we need to do is to learn to exercise our rights. The laws are becoming very stringent for various cases such as harassment of women, dowry, rape, molestation etc.; all we need to do is be strong enough and learn to stand for ourselves. We have to prove to the world that we are not a weaker sex but we have the capability and ability to win against all odds. It’s really time to take action and stand up for our rights. We have to realize that there is a point when ‘Enough is enough.’
Image courtesy: http://www.volunteeringwithindia.org/volunteer-program/women-empowerment
The writer is a mass media student and a journalist with Youth Ki Awaaz.