When you hear the word “woman,” what image do you get in your mind? Is it the image of your mother, the woman who takes care of every little thing in the house but forgets to take care of herself, or your grandmother, the woman without whose bedtime stories you couldn’t sleep in your childhood days? It could also be the image of a woman who has left her family and is working day and night on the borders to keep our country safe, or of a woman who is carrying her five-month-old baby on her back with five to six blocks of bricks on her head to serve her family. There might be more images like these that cross your mind when you hear the word woman. But unfortunately, that’s not the case always. It’s heart-breaking and shameful when we get to hear in the 21st century that a woman is still treated as someone who is weak, fragile, and also sometimes as an object
A girl child has always been seen as a burden in most families till date. Gender inequality is clearly seen in most developing or underdeveloped countries. A child’s wings are cut off before they are able to fly. In our society, we distinguish between a girl and a boy before they are born. If the baby is a boy, paint the room blue. If it’s a girl, paint it pink. Why does pink have to be a girl’s colour? Can’t a boy love pink? No, according to society, a boy cannot love pink. If he loves pink, then something is surely wrong with him. But why? When the girl and the boy start growing, the birthday gifts the girl will receive are dolls, kitchen sets, etc. Are girls only meant for the kitchen? On the other hand, a boy will receive a doctor’s set, a cricket bat and a ball. Slowly, when the boy and the girl grow up and become teens, if the girl likes to play cricket or football, she is being teased by her guy friends, saying they are not meant for girls.
In fact, in some countries, child marriage still exists. A teenage girl who can hardly take care of herself is set to marry a man much older than her to take care of their family. The dreams she had in her heart are all broken down into pieces. She became just like the bird in the cage; she completely lost her freedom. Sometimes the child has to stop going to school because her family cannot afford her education but can afford her brother’s education. When she becomes a woman, it gets worse. She is not allowed to go out late at night, is not allowed to wear what she wants and is paid less in comparison to men, even if she works for extra hours. And once she gets married, she has to leave her own house and get busy taking care of the household and her children. She doesn’t have time for herself; she doesn’t have time to do the things she has liked before. Once again, she lost her freedom. And we continue to hear about female trafficking, rape, and other crimes. But it is more heartbreaking that when a woman is raped, society questions her character. And the questions are mostly raised by a woman.
But nowadays, things are getting a little bit better as more and more people are educated. People have started to understand the need for education for a girl child. In the urban areas, parents are more concerned about making their children literate. In recent years, we can see that women have been walking at the same pace as men. She takes the lead in every field, like politics, economics, sports, etc. There are tonnes of examples of women who created the path for other women to dream big and to achieve big. Kamala Harris, Oprah Winfrey, Mary Kom, etc. These women have set an example that women are capable of doing the same thing as men.
It’s already time for society to understand and open their eyes to the fact that a woman is not weak. She doesn’t need anyone to depend on; she can stand on her own feet. If a man can do something, a woman has the power to do that too. But society has to cut the string with which they are holding her back. To empower a woman, the first step is to educate her. Education is the main key to the empowerment of a woman. If she is literate, she can take care of the rest of her life. She has her own right to choose what she likes and dislikes. She has a life in which she is capable of making her own decisions. When you plant a seed, you have to take care of it every day till one day it grows into a big tree and its roots are so strong that a storm cannot break its branch. So does a woman. You have to take care of her, educate her, and one day she will become strong and stand on her own feet and nobody can cause any harm to her.
Gender equality is a fundamental human right. She shouldn’t be deprived of what she is capable of. It is so sad that we are in 2022 and still not a single country in this world has achieved full gender equality. To achieve women’s empowerment, we must have gender equality. Women are not something that men can use the way they want. She has her own identity, her own value. Every woman has her own specialities. Every woman is different. A mother carries her child in her womb for 9 months all alone. This is fundamental to women’s empowerment and equality. Just give a woman her rights and establish gender equality in your society. Let a woman live her own life, a life where she can make her own decisions. Open the cage and let her fly. She will touch the sky.
By: Lisha Bharali
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