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November 29, 2010 / subramanyam

Few things we should be thinking on Womans day .

          There is a ruckus in the parliament over the women’s reservation bill, but on Women’s day the government and the lawmakers of the nation have many more important things which it needs to address. There are few things even we as citizens should be talking about. Here are some of them:

1.       The divide between an urban girl and a rural girl is growing day by day , In urban India more so in the metro’s, Girls are getting empowered ,they are growing confidently and are fighting for  the places which have been rightly theirs’ in the society. Today female infanticides are coming down (at an appreciable pace) in the urban parts of the country, thanks to the awareness and education in the Urban India. Look at what most of their rural counterparts are doing, In rural India more so in the low-income groups, girls are still being considered a liability , a bhoj to the family . “It is better to pay 500 Rs now than 50,000 Rs (in dowry) later”. This attitude is prevailing even today in our rural folks. One of the heavily misused acts in India is MTPA (Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971). Ironically this act was introduced to help women, to strengthen humanitarian values (pregnancy can be aborted if it is a result of sexual assault, contraceptive failure, if the baby would be severely handicapped, or if the mother is incapable of bearing a healthy child). This, Amniocentesis (introduced in 1975 to detect foetal abnormalities) and Ultra sound Scanning are being used to determine the sex of the baby and in many cases are being used to kill the female babies. In spite of we having very stringent laws to curb female foeticides (Prohibition of Sex Selection Law 1994 and 2002). The implementation has not been stringent, more so in the rural areas as many things go unregulated here. It’s time we conduct massive campaigns to stop female infanticide.

2.       If you think female infanticides are the only things plaguing woman child, you are mistaken again. The lack of awareness and the mentality to have women for household and softer jobs in life is again hampering the empowerment of women in rural households.  In many cases girls from rural households are not even making it till graduation, needless to say this is not giving them the required financial independence. Thus opening a plethora of new problems for them.

3.       The other big issue is the pregnancy related deaths. While the urban Indian woman is at least getting some hygienic and good health facilities in the hospitals [She at least has access to them] the woman in a village has to travel till the nearest town to get those facilities, the costs are getting compounded and are complicating things for them. In most of the cases they come to a hospitals only when things complicate, this is increasing the risk on the mother’s part. In some cases we see mothers dying just because they did not get medical aid.   Even today, after all this technological advancements and sort of media presence we have, we are still not able to convince people to come to the hospitals for child births. One big reason is the non-availability of proper Medical facilities in the rural areas. 

4.       Honor killings is the next biggest problem in this country , We keep hearing that a girl was killed by her parents/ brother etc because she chose to married someone outside her clan /caste/religion etc . This is equally prevalent both in Hinduism and Islam. In the north, more in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh  we have panchayats that authorize these killings. Again this is a problem that plagues the rural house holds more than the urban ones.  We have laws against all these but where is the implementation???? 

5.       Then female education, the number of dropouts among females is much more than the number of males. Some Government’s  encourage the girl child by reservations in Graduate and post-graduate courses, It worked somewhat well, now than that remove fees and give scholarships to the meritorious students , increase the number of colleges , ensure that the safety of female students is never compromised on .Create new employment opportunities and show examples where educated  woman have excelled . These would encourage parents to send their girl child to higher studies.

6.       Let’s leave the rural –urban divide and move on certain problems that plague both. The media and the movies are now reducing woman’s status to that of an object of pleasure or that of terror. While TV serials thrive of Saas-Bahu sops—showing either of them as villains , movies are mostly hero centred, Heroines are mostly glam dolls and do not have much of  a role in the film. There are exceptions though .But as we observe movies/serials that show woman as people who need to be respected are definitely going down. This is a having a very big impact on the minds of the youth and one can trace a number of crimes from kidnappings ,sexual abuse ,love killings to these irresponsible shows and movies. 

          It’s time the government wakes up to all these issues and at least goes ahead with at least some strict enforcement of laws. The irony in our country, when it comes to women’s rights is, either we over do something or do nothing at all. We have a radical band of feminists who keep stepping up the anti –male rhetoric .They were behind the Domestic violence act, which is a little too much. It gives provisions for the police to arrest the accused (mostly husbands and in-laws) even without minimum interrogation or justification of the situation or the facts concerning it. Today 98% of the cases filed under this act are not standing the test in the courts.

          I suggest the government should take up steps to create mass awareness programs  they should try and reach out to the people , the people in the rural areas in particular ,these campaigns should try and explain why girl child and why education to a girl child are  important. The government can also encourage NGOs, private media to roll out campaigns to save the girl child. Setting up Nodal Hospitals in every mandal /Taluk head quarter and having efficient gynecologists there can help us save many women from the pregnancy deaths. Increase the paramedical staff per village , let them visit the households and ask them to keep a record of the health ,education an income of the woman in the village , and let concerned block officer release these details to the public on a monthly basis , this would help us address a lot of problems which the woman face.

Some things for us citizens:

          Dowry :It is impacting the urban and rural woman alike , Dowry has now taken the new avatar as a status symbol .Dowry + big marriage are sort of things that people are taking pride in .(unfortunate , but we see even women(not all but some of them) flaunting about their big fat weddings ,jewellery + Dowry ). So he is a Software engineer , he gets so much dowry  you are also software engineer how are you going to get ??? Is a question relatives ask prospective boys. We as citizens should come out of these mentalities, the change should come from this generation’s boys and girls, we should tell ourselves that we are going to keep our weddings simple and we should tell ourselves that we are not going take/give any dowry.

          One more thing, it’s a man and a woman together who make a happy family. When two persons are together, both of them need to make some compromises, only when some compromises are made a happy family exists, and these happy families are the building blocks for any country. These days the radical feminism is triggering a gender war. Instead of creating opportunities or giving the proper counselling these groups always try to project it as a gender based issue and try to get mileage out of it. Yes, there are cases where woman suffer in the hands of in-laws due to dowry issues, there are cases where the accused deserve stringent punishment, but there are cases where greedy wives torture their husbands and their in-laws. We need to have a rational approach towards these cases.  These radical feminists try to project everything, everything they get as a gender based issue and in the end they end up creating unhappy families and adding up the numbers of male/female haters. Let’s not fall prey to them, let’s not fall prey to the hungry media that does anything to get TRPs. Let’s respect the opposite gender for what they are; Humanity cannot persist in the absence of either gender. 

            I do not think having 33 % women parliamentarians is going to help us eradicate the problems woman face today, the Rashtrapati, the UPA chair person, the leader of opposition in Lok Sabha and the speaker of the Lok Sabha are all women, if they sitting in the highest seats of the country are not able to bring change, how would adding numbers help? The problem is with the system, the system, the mind sets need to change the model of governance, the polices should make the difference. But mere providing of reservations would just to lip service nothing else. Moreover women of today want opportunities not reservations. Nurture them ,create more opportunities  and ensure that they receive proper education and training, you ‘ll see more and more Sushma’s ,Nirupama’s, Mary kom’s , Kiran Bedi’s , Saina’s , Sania’s  and Nooyi’s taking this country forward .

I wrote this for the women’s day 2010 year


One Comment

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  1. ptz camera / Dec 27 2010 4:46 pm

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