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10 Ridiculously Sexist Things Working Women Are Told, Which Men Never Are

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By Pallavi Ghosh

Like many others, it was right after my post-graduation that the hunt for a suitable job began for me. One thing led to another and I got my first work opportunity as a research assistant at a think tank, working on public policy, in New Delhi. It was a regular eight-hour, 9 to 5 job, the opportunity which suited me perfectly, as well as my concerned family. But there came a time, when we stayed back late because the nature of the work was such that it began only in the evening and thus, continued past midnight at times.

While the safety of their child is what made my parents anxious about the late working hours each day, an understanding boss who took it upon himself to drop us all back home if it got late, gave them some peace of mind. But not always is the conflict so easily resolved.

A secure job is one of the most integral ways of achieving independence. But the road to independence is by no means a cake walk. And when it comes to a woman stepping out for work, unlike men, stigma and stereotypes dog her every step of the way. Good intentions notwithstanding, what it reflects are the biases that exist in society in treating working men and women differently. The problem exists in the fact that these ‘advisories’ issued mostly to working women are seldom repeated to working men:

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Considerations of time and location are of course not missing in the case of men, but they take a different colour. Location and time might be a matter of convenience for men, but for women the concern is about being safe. And the question of ‘safety’ boils down to women being asked to give up some choices and freedoms their male counterparts unequivocally enjoy, instead of making the environment safer for women.

Equality among sexes is not just a matter of rising sex ratios but also parity in the choices that society affords each. Although records might suggest that there has been a concomitant increase in the employment of women in some sectors, the question that needs to be raised simultaneously is how much in comparison to the increase in qualification of women. For as long as we view one-half of the population in a different light when it comes to work, true equality will never be achieved holistically.

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  1. The Game

    10 things married men are expected to do and women aren’t:

    1. Spend their entire life earning for women.

    2. Put up with reserved seats for women on the bus.

    3. Suffer from biased, draconian Indian laws.

    4. Give dowry in the form of jewellery, clothes and gifts to the bride.

    5. Buy flowers, chocolates, gifts on Valentine’s Day.

    6. Leave their seats for women.

    7. Propose.

    8. Remember her birthday, make her feel special.

    9. Face social stigma regarding domestic abuse from wives.

    10. Face false cases of dowry.

    1. TANVI

      MAN NOT ONLY EARN FOR HIS WIFE BUT FOR HIS FAMILY…SHE GIVES HER OWN FULL LIFE TO U N UR FAMILY AS A SERVANT DO YOUR CARE BORN BABIES FOR U GIVES UR NAME …CHANGES HER NAME FOR U …FEEL UNBEARABLE PAIN FOR GIVE U CHILD ..LEAVES HER FAMILY DO YOU LEAVE UR FAMILY AFTER MARRIAGE??? U GIVING HER SEAT IS BIG SACRIFICE FROM UR SIDE BUT U R MARD U R STRONG ???

  2. Vishal Saurav

    Ridiculous things said to men but not to women:
    Be economically settled in life before getting married.
    Men are morally and legally bound to maintain her wife through out her life.
    If you are given something in marriage from in-laws, it’s dowry which is illegal and need to be returned after divorce,while what women get anything in marriage is her ‘streedhan’ which is perfectly legal and will remain with her even after divorce.
    You should not ask for dowry but revers dowry in the form of alimony and maintenance is legal right of women.
    If wife is cruel husband can get only divorce that too after paying hefty amount in form of maintenance while if husband is cruel wife can go to police for criminal case or can take divorce along with alimony or both.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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