As I sit and write this, I know that I am proud of my existence and of my womanhood and would not have it any other way. I am proud to be a woman.
But how many other women are there who share this feeling?
Today, I don’t want to talk about how women are subjugated in society or analyze their situation from a feminist view point but rather examine how women can improve their own social standing and be taken seriously. There are those circumstance which cant be changed and those that can be by a simple adjustment of reaction and attitude. Its time for some serious introspection and I ask all you women out there to recognize the opportunities in and around you - You can if you believe you can.
Be prepared to reinvent yourself as that beautiful force of energy, which is very much what you were meant to be. Make your presence felt, voice your opinion and speak you against those customs and norms that bind you. We, women, need to be proud of our gender and should identify ourselves with pride, while expecting to be treated with respect and dignity. As Janis Joplin nicely puts it “Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.”
As a mother, teach your daughters’ that they are no less than men and your sons’ that a woman is no less than him. We ourselves are guilty of propagating the current injustice against the girl child if we support discrimination. In many developing countries such as India and the middle- east, the girl child is still considered a liability and a lot of women abort the female foetus. These women have been victims of gender discrimination themselves and do not want their child to endure the same. Furthermore, it has been often wired into the heads of these women that “bringing a male child into the family will ensure them a better status in the family. They view the birth of a boy as an avenue to improve their self worth.
But do they realize that by doing so they are indeed supporting the discrimination rather than fighting against it? This behavior is a reflection of how by being oppressed throughout their lives, they have stopped taking pride in being a woman.
It is a vicious circle that needs to be broken somewhere. A lot of it can be changed by educating women and by empowering them to become financially independent. So that girls can be treated more fairly, ensuring them a happy childhood complete with education minus forced labour or abuse of any form.
As a partner, empower yourself and stand up and speak out against physical and emotional abuse. Women accept physical abuse from men who not only physically humiliate them, but also "brainwash" women into believing that they're being beaten because of something that she has done. It's never the man’s fault, the woman makes him do it.
The woman needs to know that she has the power to stop this. Financial independence may be one of the ways to break the shackles of domestic abuse. A woman may not have anywhere safe to go and may not have the financial means to leave, but if she is self-supporting, it will be a different ball game altogether.
As an employer, treat your employees without gender bias and as an employee trust your female leaders. Women leaders tend to trust their male sub-ordinates with more responsibility than female ones. Furthermore men and women both view male leaders as more effective than female leaders. (Rosen and Jerdee (1974a & b) .They believe that women do not have desirable task abilities. This goes to show, that women do not trust each other with responsibility. This perception is harmful in the context of what we are trying to achieve. Women need to trust each other before we can change the male perception towards them.
And finally: As a teacher and a spiritual guru, empower your followers with the spirit of equality. Learning, discipline, accomplishment and wisdom— are all qualities a step in the right direction. Teach them to be human.
I ask you all to believe that you can indeed make a difference. I call upon all you women out there to improve your present and to contribute to improving the present of those around you, which in turn will create a better future for our descendents, who can look at themselves in the mirror and say, “I am proud to be a woman and I feel worthy; I feel worthy of life”
I implore you to believe that you yourselves can make a difference and to this end I quote Margaret Mead who says “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
By Kanika Jain Sah