By Dr. Tausif Ullah
How would it be? If for a day all of world’s men became women and step in the shoes of their female counterparts. Have we ever introspected this? Probably not. And why not?
Most likely because it doesn’t affect our male privileges or largely because we continue to remain insensitive to these issues. In my take, it’s a mix of both.
Born in a social milieu where patriarchy and misogyny remain pervasive. Of late these things do haunt me and many like me.
What went wrong? How come one particular gender took away most of the privileges and devised ways to subjugate the other. If seen in a life continuum starting from birth of a girl child to young lively days to the time they venture out, marry and grow old, the discrimination against female gender remains so pervasive that it has become more of a norm.
Be it education, health, and nutrition, livelihood opportunities, life choices or decision making, the women continue to remain at the disadvantageous position. This gets further exaggerated if she is born in a lower caste or a conservative socio-cultural milieu. It remains well reflected in the poor socioeconomic and human development indicators of the female gender
All her life she is taught and forced to believe that their very existence is either to serve the other gender or to live life within the larger confines created by the males around her. They are never encouraged to think and live beyond these shackles. They continue to live under fear of abandonment, discrimination or violence.
What’s the way out? Definitely, there is no magic wand to address this pervasive social evil of misogyny and discrimination. If it could be taken on multiple fronts such as gender sensitive education system, ensuring safety and security of women, better job prospects, resource sharing… But what is more important is do we even acknowledge that there exists a problem. In my conversation with most of my female friends, I see a lot of frustration and anger emanating from the fact that most of us males don’t even acknowledge it.
The purpose of this article is not to give a pep talk but to make those sitting on fence to understand what almost half of the population faces day in and out.
We need to acknowledge the unpaid work our mother do in our home and the sacrifice she makes, we need to acknowledge the compromises our sisters have made, we need to acknowledge that in every decision of life and career our partner has equal say, let acknowledge that having sex with one’s own wife without her consent is no less than violating her dignity and bodily integrity.
Let’s acknowledge that we males obsessed with our privileges have largely been insensitive to the concern of our female counterparts.
Let this realization be the stepping stone of our attempt to make a more inclusive egalitarian and just society. A society which has been envisaged long back in our Constitution.