Has the world become a graveyard of dreams, hopes, ideas, innovation, and ambition? There are several issues affecting girls and women worldwide. From the power of the women’s vote to reproductive rights. Some of the issues they face in their day to day life are inequality in society, dowry, access to education, employment opportunities, maternal health, child marriage, female genital mutilation, trafficking, and less political representation. There are many instances that make me feel that the world is trying to snatch away the identity of girls and women from actually becoming autonomous individuals.
Gender equality is a human right, but there is a wide gap in the society as there is inequality in the distribution of power between men and women. Empowered girls and women contribute to a more prosper society in various aspects, including by being productive for their families, communities, and country. Giving them an opportunity to reach their full potential is critical not only for attaining gender equality, but also for the wide range of international development goals. Our society has established different roles and responsibilities that are often deemed appropriate for men but not for women. Women empowerment is one of the important features for achieving gender equality. It can be operated through processing decision making power, understanding self-worth, accessing resources.
The rotten ideas have their epitaph gilded with issues related to physical security like domestic abuse, rape, mental abuse etc. Illiteracy is a major issue for women in rural areas and lead to lack of family planning, unawareness of rights, unplanned pregnancies, and abortions. Many women die every year due to pregnancy-related complications. Many of them also suffer from sexual violence like sex trafficking, gender-based violence, and torture. Girls who get trapped through ‘marriage’ risks lot of complications like premature childbearing and are vulnerable to intimate partner violence. There is even unequal payment at a workplace.
Is feminist actually just a war on man? Equality for women does not mean less equality for men. We need to undo the negativity and amplify the voices of women, particularly those in marginalized communities. The concept of women empowerment needs an immediate rescue from the clutches of the would-be survivors in the development industry. At the heart of women lies the demand for the strongest global sisterhood. One in which no women are downgraded for being inactive and silent. One must be able to express their dignity and conquer their control.
Even the lack of female judges in the supreme court brings into focus the need for more female voices to reform a primarily patriarchal society. The Supreme Court has been left with only one judge for last two years. This never had more than two judges sitting at the same time. Feminism is a process that starts sub-consciously when in everyday life we hear, see or experience discrimination around us. I do not think one becomes a feminist at a particular moment in time. They fight against sexual violence, gender-based sex selection, and the right of women to wear whatever they want and walk the streets without fear. They also work for Dalit women, sex workers, women with HIV, and women in marginalized groups.
How far can we go segregating women from the society? The community we are part of is responsible for three different generations. The legacy that we were bestowed upon has become a breeding ground for new ideas and innovations. The current generation we are part of the stand as gatekeepers ensuring that the ideas that germinate pass through the store are worth enough for the next generation to carry upon their shoulders in a quest of going fast the vision has blurred. The time has come to slow down a bit and reflect upon our duties as gatekeepers.
By Nidhi Choudhary