Women Empowerment : Problems and Prospects28th April 2018
Before I begin my note on this topic, I would like to recollect my experience from a teacher’s conference, which I attended a few months ago. One of the invited guests of that conference was making a comment that today’s new gen children has less values in life, and one of the main reasons was that their mothers were eager to work when the children were young, and took less time to attend to them. Actually this comment is just a representation of the typical viewpoint prevailing in the society. People are easily tempted to believe that women, the mothers are solely responsible for the ‘good’ upbringing of their children.
Apart breastfeeding, there is nothing that a woman alone can do, a man cannot, in a family. But right from kitchen work to bathroom cleaning, looking after children, and saving and controlling family budgets, by adjusting her own choices, I wonder, how they all become a woman’s responsibility. There are silly sarcasms how a woman doesn’t come out of crockery shop, buys several of them, but do they buy all these for themselves? All the sugar, salt and vegetable she buys are for all in the family, and yet she is accused. Next is the complaint about buying dress, how she looks for different colours and patterns, when she goes to buy dress materials! Why, what is wrong in that? For, that is why we have different selections in each shop, and does anyone expects her to wear only uniform dresses?
Jobs women undertake
Now coming to the core problem, the job. When people make such a comment that women leaves the child when young, for work, they forget about women who toil in fields, from dawn to dusk, and the construction workers who earn very little though they will have to work all the day long! People who pass such unthoughtful comments, are they ready to give them financial assistance, that they could easily sit at home, relax and pamper their kids? How many employers of private firms would provide job security to the pregnant women? Government has several schemes for her, does anyone think women working in private firms doesn’t need to have such protections?
Next is the timings of job, that it isn’t good to go for work in the evening and come back at ‘odd times’. How come women be blamed for that too? if women are not safe outside it is because of the problem with the behaviors of men. But, all these problems apart, we have girls who are brave enough to challenge the age old notions of discipline and submissiveness. They would work, leaving their dear ones at home, they risk several things both for family and for themselves, they are not to be blamed, but respected much instead.
If this is the circumstances prevailing in Kerala, the state with maximum literacy, where women progress in social participation, what could be the intensity of problems for women to go out to work in other states, the geographic and cultural conditions apart, the hard core male chauvinism and female submissiveness pushes them from coming to the front. And as long as this continues, our country will have to strain a lot to progress. Stability and political capacity of the government can do much in this regard. But only if it is democratic, secular, and truly compassionate in its regard to the people. A tradition of the Indian National Congress, that kept India together, even in times of severe world crisis and problems from inside, like the Kashmir issue in north, the problems in the unification of the north east states, the dravida politics of the south and and the Punjab crisis with the Akalis, all these through when the cold war was in maximum intensity. Indian democracy was firm enough when the other countries of similar background of colonisation politics ran into military insurgencies and dictatorship. The reason was the absolute democracy and personal freedom that the country promised to its own people, which include the women development as well. Thus a true democratic politics is need of the time, which will uplift the society in all aspects. Cultural politics would lead to communal tensions and further underdevelopment of women population. In a country like India, with maximum diversities, true democracy is the only solution, which would allow maximum female participation in all sectors, job diversification and least racial tensions.
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