On International Women’s Day, we bring to you views of some eminent ladies of the town on the position of women in the present-day society. Our contributors are reputed dental surgeon, poet and singer Dr. Smita Singh, Dr. Gaytri Tiwari, Associate Prof., Senior Scientist, Head Human Development and Family Studies, College of Community & Applied Sciences, MPUAT, Udaipur, Dr. Sakshi Sojatia, Director, Niraja Modi School, Udaipur, Pramila Behel, reputed teacher, D.P.S. Udaipur and Kanishka Shrimali, active social worker associated with Being Manav.
Dr SMITA SINGH
“It is impossible to think about the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved. It is impossible for a bird to fly on only one wing.” — Swami Vivekananda
Women are not born, but made..truly said by someone . With the whole world celebrating International Women’s Day with great pomp and show, it would be only apt to analyse the position and space Indian women occupy today, and comparing it to the time 60 years ago when the country had just gained independence. With women participating in nationalist movements, to being pushed into the domestic household space, to their resurgence as super-women today, women in our country have seen it all.
There have been innumerable debates about gender in India over the years. Much of it includes women’s position in society, their education, health, economic position, gender equality etc. What one can conclude from such discussions is that women have always held a certain paradoxical position in our developing country.
While on one hand, India has seen an increased percentage of literacy among women, and women are now entering professional fields, the practices of female infanticide, poor health conditions and lack of education still continue. Even the patriarchal ideology of the home being a woman’s ‘real domain’ and marriage being her ultimate destiny hasn’t changed much. If one looks at the status of women then and now, one has to look at two sides of the coin; one side which is promising, and one side which is bleak.
As compared to the past, women in modern times have achieved a lot but in reality they have to still travel a long way. Women may have left the secured domains of their home, but a harsh, cruel, exploitative world awaits them, where women have to prove their talent against the world who see women as merely vassals of producing children. The Indian woman has to make her way through all the socialised prejudices against her, and the men yet have to allow and accept the women to be equal participants in the country’s way forward
and i am sure that this will happen in our lifetime.
Dr GAYTRI TIWARI
Woman, very easy to misunderstand, complex to understand. God created her with such intricacy that even she herself is unaware of her beginning and end. Throughout human history, we can see her diversified struggles in all the domains namely cognitive, affective and physical. Though women have gained access to careers beyond the traditional homemaker and the ability to pursue higher education and attained immense success in every field by tapping forward with men. The journey of liberation of women has crossed many milestones and the society has indeed come a long way. But still miles to go because of interpersonal and intra personal reasons, which ultimately leads to vertical and horizontal conflicts in every walk of life. Equipping the family for living with an empowered woman is a big challenge. Every time she has to prove herself. We are definitely redesigning the world! The way society looks at her success is not very satisfactory because of considering as flag bearer of our culture and norms. Time to think…Don’t walk in front of her, she may not follow. Don’t walk behind her, she may not lead. Be with her to complete her.
Dr Sakshi Sojatia
Earlier females in India were not considered at par with male. Her contribution was not well recognised in our society. It was a matter of deep regret that we considered our legacy can only be continued by male child. But gradually the perception towards females is changing(at a slow pace). Even today, the gender ratio is as low as 928 in Rajasthan. Though Udaipur is little better gender ratio that is 958.
Discrimination can be seen in education also. Female are not provided higher education.
30% girls dropout from the school education up to the 9th standard and 57% girls dropout up to 11th standard so the situation is very pathetic. Transformation in thought process is badly required. Policies can only be effective with co-operation of public at large. Being a responsible citizen we need to understand the dignity, equity and integrity of female. We should come out of traditional patriarchal thinking and accept female as able and potent performer who can discharge all her liabilities with determination, devotion and perfection.
Due to globalization there has been a big change in the role of women in recent years. The women of today is no more Abla but is prabla, powerful. She is really the foundation of the family and soul of the home. Undoubtedly, women have made their mark in every field. According to Swami Vivekanand the country that doesn’t respect women can never be great and Tagore said that they are the ornaments of the society.
If we look at Indira Gandhi, Kalpana Chawla, PT Usha, Lata Mangeshkar and others we feel that they have brought laurels to the country.
The way we treat girls and women cruelly in several ways such as destroying girl foetus, throwing away new-born girls and strangling them to death is not at all proper. So is torturing women physically, mentally and emotionally. Such crimes are on the increase inspite of provision of constitutional and legal protection.
Women are supposed to be goddesses but had to undergo Agnipariksha like Sitamata.
Women are the creator of the universe and teachers of the family and society. Now they have to educate the young generation to respect women.
It has been rightly said that God created the world and gave the power to men and women to give birth to children. This implies that He made them to complement one another and they are equally important. So there is no need to celebrate only Women’s Day. Perhaps it is so because even they themselves do not consider themselves to be equal to men. They have never asked to be considered superior to men and want to be taken as equal to men more than being worshipped as Devi.
Performing different domestic chores and caring for the feelings of every member of the family, she ignores her own needs. She doesn’t have the time to think about the purpose of her life. She has no expectations from any one and contributes to the welfare of others without realizing her own importance. A symbol of strength, she herself is not aware of this. On the other hand; men consider it her duty to work for others selflessly and never feel grateful to her. However, the time has come when she should assert her right of equality with him.
This article is for those more than ninety percent ladies for whom one special Day has been set aside though they have been given by God Himself the power of create the world.
Women’s Day is a global day celebrating social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This day also marks a call to action for accelerating “women’s equality”, “women empowerment”. But still the society is lacking somewhere in doing so. Women’s equality is not just having equal rights like men but also having the same opportunities to thrive in the society we live in. Women are the most essential and valuable asset in the society and to keep the asset well maintained, it is important and responsibility of society to take care of their safety, health and their rights.
In India, safety becomes the primary concern for all women. Just passing stringent laws will not prevent crimes against women. It needs thoughtful intervention from all sections of society which mainly requires sensitizing law enforcement and judicial agencies with recruitment of women in these agencies at parity with men. Also the safety of women can be provided at an early stage by mandatory self-defence training at school levels be it private or government.
For improvement in healthcare for women, society can do a lot of things this women’s day onwards like by removing tax on sanitary napkins, providing free sanitary napkins and making e-toilets available at public places. Along with this, government can also improve the quality of care provided to women of weaker sections.
Protection of rights of working women should be implemented without any lacuna. The pay disparity between men and women with similar qualification and job profile should be reduced and appointment of women at senior levels should be promoted. Protection of right for pregnant working women from termination, pay gap and demotion should be strengthened. Also strict adherence to “Vishakha Guidelines” set by the Supreme Court of India to prevent and resolve cases of workplace harassment.
And finally women’s day accords us as a society to shun patriarchal and misogynistic mindsets.
In the name of culture, the devaluation of women in the home and outside the home must stop with no tolerance to any kind of physical or mental abuse. Our culture as valued women for ages and we should follow the teachings of our saints who said “यत्र ना्यरस्तुपूज्यन्ते रमन्ते तत्र देवता” which means “where women are honored divinity blossoms”.