Gender-based discrimination has been carried from the dawn of time till the 21st century today — at work, educational institutions, cinema, sports, and sadly, even at home. All around the world, daughters are married off when they are young and women are paid less for the same amount of work. They stand victim to abuse, less represented and in a constant fight for equality. Whist the unprivileged stand majorly impacted, nobody’s safety, dignity and violation of rights are spared.
The United Nations campaign HeForShe is a movement towards gender equality. In the year 2014, Emma Watson gave a speech at the UN, questioning gender-based assumptions she had to face ever since she was eight. If we think about it, most of us will be able to relate.
How often we see parents being more conservative towards their daughters. Women are constantly being judged on the bases of their expression, clothing, or social, economic and personal decisions. How often are men are asked not to cry? How often are they forced to hide their mental illnesses and not show vulnerability?
India is home to 1,391 million people, however, the commitment of Indians towards the campaign counts to merely 227,588 commitments. An extremely small fraction indeed.
Many people choose not to be feminists as feminism is often viewed as hateful and anti-men. Feminism, by definition, means the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of equality of the sexes — i.e. equality for both male and female because this is not a women’s fight alone.
The root of the problem is that for centuries, societies have made rules and norms of what constitutes men and women. Men are expected to be aggressive and dominating, while women are portrayed as fragile and a liability. The sad part is, a majority of the youth population subconsciously learnt and got adjusted to these norms.
It’s time we learn to perceive gender as a spectrum instead of two opposite ideals and teach our kids the same from a small age. Once men feel free to express their insecurities and be vulnerable and human, consequently, it will improve representation of women. When men don’t have to be aggressive and dominating, women won’t have to feel dominated.
History stands evidence, when Marie Curie was denied nomination for the Noble Prize and her husband advocated for her, she became the first woman ever to win a one and the only person till date to have won a Noble Prize in two different scientific fields. When men and women fight together right beside each other, we achieve equality way sooner, making a world where our kids wouldn’t be discriminated.
In conclusion, I urge you to be advocates to change. To commit to the change and spread the word. Kill the shame and hesitation and proudly proclaim yourself a feminist!
Sign the HeForShe petition here.