Women Day: Celebrate Equality Not Tokenism

Posted by vishal bheeroo
March 7, 2017

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Every March 8, we celebrate International Women Day where we pitch for change in the way we view women and tweet with hashtags for equality or respect and share massively on Facebook. Isn’t it time for us, men and women to move beyond mere tokenism and implement the changes that we want to see? Certainly, it demands a change in our mindset and courage to be able to stand for our women, against our elders, or for that matter, let her bloom as a human being.

I want to narrate what some of my female friends shared with me. After she got married, one of my friends told me how her in-laws tried to impose their cultural practice on her taking into account that both she and her husband belong to different castes. She gathered her strength and put her foot down. Really! It’s one thing that we fail to understand that a girl has left her home and parents to adjust to a new life and how we stifle her individuality by enforcing such ridiculous and stone aged practice.

It’s all about respecting her and her beliefs. It’s not a privilege but a right that a modern woman has to honor her beliefs and not just what the in-laws impose. It’s all about choices and if we want to respect a woman, it is important to let her indulge in her cultural beliefs or practices. Marriage is between equals and if we speak about equality, it is a given to respect one partner but also stand with her when the groom’s parents are trying to enforce ridiculous beliefs.

In another instance, there is a middle age couple who hail from two different religions and the husband was forcing the woman to follow his religious practices and attend gathering much against her wishes. The husband, whom I know very well, pretend to be all for equality and respect. How can you respect your woman when you try to force your way. It’s sheer hypocrisy at its best. There is no point celebrating women for a day when you don’t believe in equality but herd mentality whom you want to enforce. It’s so counter-productive to a healthy relationship.

The stupid argument given, this is patriarchy and you must respect it. The worse argument given by some husbands are good wives don’t criticize their husbands even if they are wrong and this is written in religious scriptures. This argument blew my mind. As a man, I fail to see the justification behind such wrongs and shamelessly hiding behind religion like a coward.

Today, we are celebrating women in all its forms, not just as a mother, sister, daughter or wife. Why can’t we let someone be herself and sparkle in all its forms, be it her individuality, human emotions or needs? It’s time to be the change and be an equal partner, accompanying a woman. First, respect her. That’s how you respect yourself as a human being.

It’s not about knocking sense but imparting the right education in boys and girls from an early age. The defense mechanism through verbal violence and scaring someone that some men resort to, make me shiver down the spine. Till we don’t try to see things with an open mind and be modern or respectful in our outlook, there is no point celebrating women day.

Happy women Day

Vishal Bheeroo

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