2019: Still Trying To Survive As A Woman
Is Trying Enough?
“Women are not born but are made”, echoed Simone de Beauvoir in “Second Sex”. The same line of thought is evident even now in every aspect of society, whether it concerns choosing career options or being chosen by a groom. The age old beliefs where a woman is seen inferior to man have just been mitigated on paper like in Iceland where equal pay for both men and women has been granted. India does not remain far from echoing the changes which are happening around the globe. Extending 12 to 26 weeks of maternity leave has occupied this version of change. Striking down Article 377 has proved that we are really on the track of becoming a more accommodating society. But it is still not enough to remain calm and appeased by little favours here and there. Today when women comprise 4% of CEOs in Fortune 500, female sarpanches are preferred in rural places of India because they can easily be manipulated by the male fraternity. Even parents of middle class families like mine suggest to their daughters to pursue MBAs- not in marketing which she possesses a knack for, but in HR. All this in the name of her “security”, which would be compromised because she is deemed too unfit to handle the travel plans while being a marketeer. It clearly seems that we are just interested in the implementation part rather than seeking out what we are actually making the implements for. We remain misguided by the fact that we are moving on the lines of liberation, but we are actually moving to the derailed path where one’s ambitions are compromised. We are trying and are contented by just trying. We have already celebrated 72 years of independence and are still bearing ideas which bless us with the insidious relief of “trying”.
Despite the small steps we have taken to fill the crevices of societal holes, politicians are still viewing the issues regarding granting justice to women from the purview of caste as a political weapon to garner more and more favorable outcomes in the upcoming elections. The recent judgment regarding the Triple Talaq Bill, which aims to provide respite to Muslim women, questions the whole understanding of issues pertaining to women. We are still myopic on views which concern the whole spectrum of women and not just a specific community in particular. We now need concave lenses of maturity and scrutiny with the purpose of rectifying these mistakes which actually envelop a wider section of our society.
The Visibility Of Laws
History has dawned upon us that prohibiting social evils like Sati has fared well for the betterment of our society, but has it really been that purposeful in the remote co-existencies of our societies as it seems to have done in the urban-hubs? In many not so known places, the women, because of the paucity of the resources, volunteer to take their lives in order to get away from brusque remarks condemning them like “kalmuhi, kulachani, pati ko kha gayi” (bad omen whose onset killed her husband). Also, sometimes due to the fear of economic burden, they are forced to take these extreme measures. We have also taken steps to eradicate the social menace “Dowry”; the law prohibits any kind of dowry while performing marriages, but has it really worked in our society? The answer is obviously NO. Time and time again, we have witnessed gruesome cases where the girl has to suffer inexorably from the repeated demands of her in-laws and husband to bring more and more cash possessions from her father. The headings of the cases where a newlywed bride has been sprinkled with kerosene and burned to death may have become clickbait, but the horrific act has never ceased to exist in society irrespective of the glorious fact that the Dowry Prohibition Act has been active since 1961.
The fact is mirrored by the contexts of repeated instances where the laws pertaining to the society have failed to bring radical changes. They are mere gimmicks to perceive the pseudo-effect that we are “at least” trying rather than not trying at all. We have failed to observe the fact that it is not about penalizing men but more about empowering women. This should be realized in order to make them more competent so that they could not be manhandled and have sufficient prowess to self-sustain and regulate their lives.
Fractured Views Regarding The Laws
Laws are always created in the name of bettering the society and making it run according to a universal code of conduct which promises to take into account everyone’s interest, but it seldom happens that laws help in the uplifting of the marginalized or weaker section of the society. As Saint Augustine puts it, “Punishment is justice for the unjust”. We can obviously punish the defaulter, pronounce him guilty and thereby put him under bars or end his life for being a miserable creature. But the havoc created in the life of victim has not been given justice; the perpetrator has been penalized, but law fails to ail the sufferings of the victim.
A law to help out a woman in distress fails to suit its reason. One such case was that of a woman who was given “Talaq” by her husband over WhatsApp because she attended a conference of political affiliations according to her desires and not her husband’s. If these injustices are given a chance to meet the benefits of the law, then the woman will gain a momentary relief. However, the law acutely fails to deliver long term provisions of justice because it does not provide any food or resources for herself and her 4 children. She may be totally dependent on her husband for hand-to-mouth existence. There are several similar bereaved cases where a woman lacks basic skills to make her life function properly without any functional pillar to support her. These cases need special assistance regarding the easing of the economical as well as social tensions. The strengthening of solutions to such issues will make them accountable to their lives when compared to a single law which will make their survival from therein more intense.
Old Ideas Are Branched, If Not Rooted Out
We have evolved to a society where women are constantly looking for paths which would lead to the accomplishment of their dreams and aspirations. The trajectory of these paths makes them uneven with the set rules and boundaries of the society which finds “ambitious” women fearful for a running household. The fixed prerequisites for a “nice” girl has until now been petite, lean, and fair-skinned. There has not been enough recognition, apart from recognizing her responsibility as a principal holder of the household, of a girl who is ready to behave well with her career also. Such girls are always deemed too “fast” for a household to run properly. These social stigmas attached to marriages cannot be foregone or abolished by mere laws but rather revolutionary education which will make people aware of the new challenges that could cripple us if not addressed at the right time.
Problems And Solutions
The problems aforementioned under various subheadings will be hopeless if not met with adequate conditioning of the solutions at the requisite time period. The solutions are numerous, but carrying them out will be a humongous task. It will surely take more than a desire or law to make things fall into place. Educating women still holds the upper hand as a solution, but providing them with vocational skills will hasten the solution process. Meanwhile, society’s mindset has to be changed through a continuous process, and it will take time to free itself from the shackles of the age bonded beliefs and traditions.
The end of all the argument rests good only when we start acknowledging the loopholes and apply what we preach within our own lives first. It does not always need to be didactic in order to bring any reformation but has to start within our personal spheres to make things become emphasized and perfect.
Image Attribute: Pixabay