OPINION

Emancipation of Women: Is it Just a Long-cherished Dream?

May 16, 2010
Namita

“Three beautiful, and vivacious flowers with a light within them that can brighten a million lives and make their family and nation proud of them, but only if they are permitted to empower themselves by the orthodox and conventional society in which they are unfortunately born. Aged ten, twelve and fourteen, these three budding flowers are a part of typical conservative middle-class family where all the hopes are pinned to their brother. The reason for this discrimination is the age-old theory that gives supremacy to the male child and a sense of humiliating indifference and disrespect to the girls.

The mother of four young & immature children, an uneducated housewife who hails from a small village in Punjab, who is still stuck with the notion that was put into her mind since childhood that life and dreams of a girl is confined to four walls of the house. She herself was made to leave her schooling after class 8 and was married off at the tender age of 15 to a potbellied businessman who has least respect for women. The three girls consider themselves lucky that at least they are getting the rare opportunity to complete their schooling unlike their mother. But at the end of it all, their destiny might not be any different. They would eventually be left to live at the mercy of some chauvinist male once their father marries them off. And they might also not get the opportunity to fight for their social, political, economical and the very basic emotional rights(human rights).

The lives of the three young girls are even now not less than hell. Every moment they witness all the motherly love, the unending pampering and affection of the family being showered on their brother. On the contrary, no one has ever desired to take a deep look into the heart of these girls. Given a chance one of them holds the caliber to make a successful career. To be a lawyer or a doctor or a decent professor. Unfortunately, she knows that she does not even have the right to dream something of that stature. The one who is 12 years of age has been gifted by a talent that can transform her into a renowned poet or writer. But its her bad luck that she was born into a family where one day all her exquisite pieces of poetry would be dumped in the chimney of the household kitchen. And the youngest one, is still too small to envision what the future holds for her and that her life is already etched out by her parents. Worse, as it gets, the three impressionable minds watch their brutal and alcoholic father giving endless beatings to their mother very often. In turn the frustrated mother pours all her anger on the poor girls. I wonder what these girls must be going through and more importantly what impact such cruel scenes would have on their future lives.”

The above story (though fictional) shows the harsh reality of the Indian social setup. Such discrimination in one form or the other is paramount even amongst the most educated and elite families. There are lakhs of girls who are denied the basic human rights and sense of respect, dignity and security. So many young girls are raped, others become the victim of domestic violence, kidnappings, dowry deaths. To add to the irony, there is the growing concept of incest and marital rape. All this throws enough light on the hollowness of government’s claim to have emancipated or empowered the women of our country. Emancipation of women has been reduced to a mere topic for the public figures to give unending speeches on. In reality, most of us are not even aware of the true meaning of emancipation of women. Emancipation of women refers to freeing them from the control of others and give them the right to make their own choices. How can we make this long cherished dream of empowering women a reality? It is difficult to remove the deep- rooted evils that demean the stature of women but with sincere and innovative efforts, it can be dealt with.

# The best way is encouraging women to build the confidence, first in themselves and then others. Each woman needs to respect the other. Don’t forget that charity begins only at home. This is possible only if women stop exploiting other women, which mainly includes mother-daughter, mother-in-law-daughter-in-law, siblings and friends.

# Another imperative step towards emancipation is instilling a sense of confidence and self-faith in girls right from childhood and they should be taught to take pride in being a woman.

This also reminds me of the ballyhoo that is created around Woman’s Day every year. I am not exactly against it but I feel rather than flashing greetings and flowers and socialites flaunting their designer labels at the typical page 3 parties; let’s have a reality check. Emancipation cannot be limited to including a handful of names from international beauty pageants or one or two women making it big in sports or winning accolades in science & technology. Educating the uneducated and liberating them from orthodox notions, making stringent laws and making their strict implementation possible are a few basic steps towards true emancipation of women. An environment conducive enough for the suffering women to come up and fight for their rights and security is the key to empowerment of women in the true sense. The mantra is that come out of the fire well in which you are being burnt for the only reason that you were born as the so called weaker sex. Gather the courage, unite and fight, fight because it’s your life and you have the sole right on how to live it.

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Emancipation of Women: Is it Just a Long-cherished Dream?

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Author: Namita

 

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