As the International Women’s day is around the corner, the routine campaigns are conducted all around the globe emphasizing the need for women empowerment, gender equality, women safety, saving the girl child, etc. From CEOs to daily wage workers, women from all paths of life come together to take part in these events to remind the society about their rights and privileges. When we say about rights – the list goes on as the right for birth, right to live a life free of gender discrimination, right for education, right to vote, right to advance their career, right to speak up and so on.
Over the years, these social awareness campaigns has paved way for many women to come out of their cages. Today, we have eminent women figures in the field of politics, science and technology, fashion, media, healthcare, travel and where not? Although it had been a mammoth struggle to disrupt the prevailing patterns of life, the results are not bad. It is observed that up to some extent the world has succeeded in preventing child marriages, cases of sexual abuse and female infanticides. If we further scrutinize the results, it reveals that the path to complete gender parity is still a long one. The alarming rate at which sexual abuse/harassment occurring in India leaves the common man contemplating on ‘where exactly are we missing out’?
Women education and violence tops the list of major equality issues in India. Apparently, if we dig deep to find the root causes, we will come back to our own homes finding the links. To be more precise, the required ‘change’ should be started at our homes. Instead of holding women empowerment campaigns where only women participate and talk about their issues, why not conduct mutually beneficial awareness programs including both genders. If we accept a more open approach where both men and women assemble to exchange their ideas/opinions it may lead to a better sense of unification. Hence, women’s day is not exclusively for women but equally for men and women.
In traditional Indian families a trait of male chauvinism is still evident. Only if we make efforts to root this out from the system we can even think of a substantial change in future. Such men should be given proper awareness to make them understand why they shouldn’t deny education for the female family members.
In-order to bring down the culture of women abuse, we must instill moral values and principles in boys starting from the early ages. Apparently this has to begin right from the childhood in school as well as home. As many schools are more academically oriented, moral guidance classes are not taken as a serious requirement even today. We all know well that at any time the ‘abused’ or their families cannot rely on the government or politicians to obtain justice, hence we must think of creating a change in the individual level. Attaining gender equality shouldn’t mean proving one’s strength over the other but let the purpose of it be living in harmony with each other instead of conflicts. The true attitude behind gender equality should be ‘men supporting women’. An apt word for this concept was launched by UN women called as ‘HeforShe’. The HeforShe campaign (http://www.heforshe.org/en) initiated by the UN Women aims to engage men and women as agents of change by encouraging them to take action against negative inequalities faced by women/girls.