To be writing very frankly, the most significant development that changed life was upliftment in women’s education. Women make up a rough 65% of the entire world population. Yet, in India women are still prejudiced to a great amount as compared to men.
‘Women shouldn’t stay out late.’
‘Women shouldn’t drink at social gatherings.’
‘Women should stay thin and beautiful.’
‘Women should get married early.’
‘Women shouldn’t flirt or arouse men.’
‘It is only the duty of a woman to look after her child or children.’
‘Women shouldn’t go to public places alone.’
‘Women shouldn’t travel at late night.’
‘Women cannot drive properly.’
‘If women are being sexually harassed, it’s their fault and they should keep silent about it.’
‘Women need to adjust in marriages.’
There has been a time in most women’s lives when they have heard or read about the above phrases.
Why can’t we just say-
‘Men shouldn’t take advantage of women who stay out late. They should respect their boundaries.’
‘When a woman is drunk, it doesn’t mean she is cheap or that she has been brought up badly. It plainly means that she lives by her own rules and she can do whatever she wants in front of whoever she wants because we are all responsible for our own actions.’
‘It’s not necessary for women to live by the current beauty standards or fashion icons. They should be whoever they want to be from inside to outside.’
‘Marriage is not a necessity. It is a choice. The timing varies from individual to individual. Women should be allowed every inch of that.’
‘Women can flirt or arouse men. They can do whatever they please. Men should be responsible for how they respond to it. It lies in our choice if we want to be influenced or if we want to abide by our principles.’
‘Men and women are equally responsible for their children. After all, it takes two hands to make one clap.’
‘Women can and will go to public places alone. Every woman doesn’t need or want a man to accompany her everywhere. Women wear high heels. They can protect themselves and the world needs to be aware of that.’
‘Women can travel at whatever time they please, and men should do better to respect their choices and adjust with it.’
‘Women have the ability to do everything properly, let alone driving. It’s our minds that require a different thinking pattern.’
‘If women are being sexually harassed, they should be strong and let the world know.’
‘Men need to adjust and compromise just as much as women in matrimony.’
The new rules are longer and more specifically elaborated but at the very least, they are right and make sense. For everyone. Feminism doesn’t mean that men are any less than women. Feminism mean equality, in every way possible. Feminism means respect and love for both genders. Feminism means punishing the people who do wrong to people who do not deserve it. Feminism means standing up for what is right.
But what was the past? In the past, women made women believe that they were less worthier than men. Women pushed each other down. They made each other believe that were meant for housework and not for formal education. They thought that their soul purpose was to get married, have children and keep their families happy. In earlier times, the concept of ‘Dahej’ (which still exists to some point in India) meant that in a wedding, the parents of the bride will pay the parents of the groom. That’s one of the main reasons why female infanticide came in. In olden times, when a woman’s husband, she was expected to follow through the Sati Pratha (throw herself in her husband’s pyre)….
Now, everything is slowly but surely developing. Indian slogans such as ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padao’ are being put to practice. The custom of ‘Dahej’ has been banned. ‘Sati Pratha’ literally doesn’t exist anymore. Women are stepping into their power. And it’s only right because the world does need their quiet strength and emotional intelligence.
There is an old saying ‘Behind every successful man, there is a woman’. Well, now it is time for women to step in front and step their game up. They are in every field possible, and they are flourishing beautifully.
There’s also one of my favourite quotes, ‘What’s a queen without a king? Well, historically speaking, more powerful.’ In conclusion, I would like to stress on the fact that if there’s no equality or education, people will not understand the importance of goodness.
The universe needs women to flourish.
The world needs women to progress.
India needs women to find success.
And so, it will.
By Sreeja Mukherjee