When the country is torn apart amidst debates on beef, caste, privacy, we often tend to talk less about a very pertinent issue. Maybe because the problem has existed for centuries and various people have been fighting for it too but somehow for some reason or the other, change is still far away. And now, it seems that we are giving up on it. I understand it is very very difficult to continue the fight, enveloped in circumstances such as those that exist in India. The underbelly of Indian culture has always been laced with deep misogyny and patriarchy.
Our politicians have made sexist and misogynistic comments every now and then, putting up a ‘great’ example for the countrymen. With statements like ‘boys will be boys, they make mistakes’, the list of sexist and bizarre comments by politicians goes on and on. It is a matter of utter shame and disgust for me to even condemn such things.
But still, there are numerous people questioning the concept of feminism as a movement. It is inconvenient for me that, as a woman, every time I step out of my house, I need to account for who is going to stare at me, who is going to touch me, who is going to heckle me, who is going to molest me. As a woman, it is inconvenient for me that every time I step out of my house, I need to worry about changing my wardrobe, return home, take the route back home in fear. Yet, you still ask us why we protest and make a fuss about feminism. Because we want equality and shall not settle for anything less than that. Because patriarchy is choking me to death.
Millions of Indian women don’t have access to sanitary napkins. Many girls drop out of schools on reaching puberty due to lack of toilets and sanitary facilities. In a country where sexual assault or rape by a husband does not constitute for a crime under the Indian Penal Code. According to NCRB data, 3,27,394 cases of crimes against women were reported in 2015. The countrymen are also busy killing each other for the sake of religion, caste and creed. Where has our humanity come down to? In which way are we proceeding? It is high time we question ourselves and demand change. Because when our leaders are so reluctant about gender equality, we must realise the power of youth resilience and solidarity. Let us together fight patriarchy.