Women, the ‘other’ half of our population. The half whose limits, rights and identities have always been prescribed by the other ‘powerful’ half. In an age where it finally seems that we have reached a stage from where we can finally create a gender equal society, there are things which either go unnoticed or simply are ignored. Things which go unnoticed well go unnoticed but things which are ignored are ignored because we are too scared to talk about them. These things remain alive in our minds and they silently affect our understanding of equality.
The concept of gender equality also differs from place to place. Generally women in most Western nations are treated fairly equal while in the rest of the world the concept of equality has either not been accepted or simply it has been accepted in such a way that the whole purpose of it has been wasted.
But all this has its reasons. Globalisation happened too fast. While during the middle ages Renaissance was taking place in western societies, the east at the time was falling apart with rampant ignorance. This is not to say that the West was always like this. History teaches us that it was the east which was flourishing with new ideas, inventions, ideologies and philosophies when the West was still in the dark ages.
It took a long time for the west to reach the present levels of social setup. Their progress was gradual and hence it was less chaotic and more sort out. Everything progressed in harmony. But the rest of the world had it differently. With globalisation the progress in the rest of the world was abrupt and hence it was full of chaos. The new and old didn’t exactly meet in harmony. Materialistically the progress was fast and at times at par with the west but mentally the old ideas were too strong and fresh to be replaced so quickly. So when the ideas from west arrived they were not able to change the mental set up about women. That’s why even in many developed nations which progressed abruptly women are not treated fairly well. One of the prime examples of this is Japan.
It took centuries and centuries for western men to finally get used to women who possess an independent identity but the east got only a few decades to do so which they were not able to do. So externally it may seem that women are being seen as equal in Eastern societies but mentally we still get surprised when we see an independent woman. Our patriarchal pride still kicks in when we see women progressing or doing stuff with men used to do.
All this may not be expressed publicly by men but deep inside our minds we still see women as inferior. We are ok with the progress of women till they don’t progress more than us. For us women are still to be picked at. They are just there to satisfy our sexual needs.
There are men who will just sympathize if a woman does something ‘out of her bonds’. Their reaction is simply “she is a woman, still she did it”. The other type just cannot digest their success, “she is a woman, how she did it!”. Both attitudes have nothing positive about them. One sees women as weak while others are simply hateful. In fact we have become so jealous that if a man in our society today sees a woman driving a car more expensive than his, deep inside his mind he still gets surprised that how come she has it.
Beneath all this modernism and progress our minds are still at a point where we cannot digest the idea of equality. The progress has been to abrupt and chaotic for us. We should possibly find ideas that suit our level of progress rather than importing ones which are not simply compatible to our setup. The change has to come from within and it has to be natural.