Critique's Zone, Women's Day

International Women’s Day: Unequals in Equality – II

Senior executive from top financial firm quipped, “Liberated woman is well represented by the heroine from movie “Dor”- which is a powerful depiction of two women, their soul-wrenching saga in trying times against rural setting. Through pain, loss, sufferings, hardships, oppression young woman finds liberation, freedom, wings. One woman uplifts the other!

Hitting the nail on the head is a harsh fact that four out of five enemies of women sadly tend to be from the same gender, stated medical practitioner in MI state. Judgments, social pressures, family politics, power struggle, jealousies, rivalry are among the many reasons that play a role in pulling down another woman.

Peers, equals, authority figures, subordinates, powerless relatives – everyone has a right to being treated equally as much as each bears the responsibility to work toward removing disparity.

A shipping background executive noted that men have stood up against evils like Sati(self-immolation by a widow after the death of life-partner), frequently men have added to evils too. Horror stories about widows kept as property or servants is a public skeleton in the closet. Women and men alike need to stand up against unacceptable attitudes starting within families.

Poverty is the bane for human race-elimination with “financial independence” is freedom, which leads to self-reliance, says a highly qualified Indian Naval officer, who has traveled all over the world. During his Tsunami relief work in Dec 2004, a lot of young college girls volunteered to help in the worst sector of damage in Nagapattinam. It was a heart- warming experience for him to see the spirit of these women roughing it out in very difficult circumstances.

A mental health counselor believes liberation means “not being scared to express your opinion, fearless expression is being liberated.” During her turbulent growing up years dance form gave her an outlet. Respect toward woman in any role, treating them with love every day of the year would be way to mark the day is how she feels. She would like to celebrate women’s day with children, as the roots of change of generation change lies in the hands of children.

A double postgraduate from NY, first heard of IWD in middle school, when a minister, visiting mentioned it while giving away awards to Kerala nurses. To her being liberated meant the freedom to choose her life, career and to be treated equal by family and society. Raised in a society with equal property rights, everyone treated women with respect, IWD felt alien. She would like to see the society stop treating women like an object or a trophy. To her women are the backbone to a family unit, and society at large, who work hard; multi-task and are often unaware of their capacity and virtues, hence we need to celebrate them.

A legal practitioner laments at many a young, who do not know the history or the struggle, yet are led to believe liberation means freedom to dress and act provocatively; post racy pictures, garner unwarranted attention. There is a fine line between having fun and ensuring you are not opening yourself up to unscrupulous, dangerous, unsafe situations or individuals. Both genders need to be alert, be smart, be aware, be informed, and surround self with those who have your back.

A 65-year-old IT professional warns, “If milk is available for free, why does anyone need to buy the cow.” Dating for fun or to find compatible partners, either way know who and why are you with a specific person, if there is a goal mismatch one of the two may end up a victim. Guard against pitfalls in this unequal equality he points out.

Amidst mid-life crisis, brilliant CIO from a top university plays sugar daddy to confused and consenting adults craving good time. Financial inequality, hedonism, impulsive decisions, value system, self-objectification, seeking of jet-set life style, contributes to these choices. He will continue to sponsor them till there are seekers. His separated wife wishes these youngsters would work toward affording desired material and life styles on their own. While the ageing Casanovas should rewire if that’s possible.

A very bright foreign language trainer married the man she loved who supported her parents and siblings like his own. She lives with in-laws for a couple of decades, with time rifts caused by events, turns and exchanges dimmed the light of love as it happens. It took an outsider, time apart, health scare to revive the bond of care that always existed. Taking a stand, asserting oneself is needed to teach our children not to be door mats for loved ones. Love is never enough; respect is a mandate, said this entrepreneur who trains young minds to communicate better.

A budding journalist quit engineering 4th year as his passion was journalism and he dared to defy norms, he said his first tryst with the phrase “IWD” was an act of randomness. He stumbled upon it on TV news as a high schooler; it was a celebration of women’s liberation.

To him being liberated is not about being able to whatever one wanted to do, instead “Liberation is about being true to self in alignment with your ideals and dreams without being brought down by the societal norms of success and individuality.” As a kid “grown up” meant being liberated without restrictions. His sense of self was instilled by his role model grandpa who was open-minded, open to dialogue and debate.

He observed, “In the journey of empowerment people are veering off track, instead of celebrating the difference of sexes, they ape men becoming clones and repeat the same mistakes. Gender equality should not be at the cost of identity. Why not spend your day getting pampered by your partner a la Valentine’s Day. Organizations can celebrate achievements of female colleagues, felicitate their milestones. Recognition in the right way is what matters.

A spirited inspiring writer, radio DJ with a show of her own with debilitating Pancreatitis leads an inspiring life as a mother, wife, jewelry designer who works for Eve upliftment. She believes a good education means a job leading to financial independence which is a must to break dependency cycle.

Her grandma took care of family in Razaakaar days under despotic Nizams rule and supported her sons fighting the despot, making her grandma the bravest lady to her, like the ‘Mother’ in Maxim Gorky’s novel Mother. She was influenced by books and papers about and by women writers like Maxim Gorky’s Mother, Childhood, Simon de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, Telugu writers like Ranganayakamma, Chalam, her uncles work, one is a poet, Dasarathi, his poetry, and Dasarathi Rangacharya, his novels, Mahakavi Sri Sri’s poetry etc. and many new feminist writers both in Telugu and English.

In this fight for equality women are standing up for themselves via #MeToo movement, #TimesUp. Equal opportunities, equal treatment for both men and women should move hand in hand for the progress of the world as per this inspiring real life hero, she says-IWD is to improve life for women globally, treat her respectfully, so they are able to make own decisions, it should symbolize and stand for equality, freedom, justice for women of every strata everywhere in the world.

People celebrate it with gifts, flowers, jewelry; women greet each other by messaging how beautiful they are and send chain messages to other women.  Celebrate it remembering why IWD was started and go into rural areas not just into the cities and create awareness among women about their rights.

Women are emotionally stronger; they should be able to choose their body related decisions, number of children to have or not if so decided. Pressurizing due to biological clock ticking or to perpetuate a family name is not womanhood, being able to nurture self in addition to others is womanhood.

When the IWD movement picked pace, there were pressing fights, now the concerns are different but basic underlying need is to assert, be self-reliant, and sensitize both genders from tender learning age.

Happy IWD!

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