by Nikitha Hingad
Every day we see the news, listen to the radio and read newspaper about rapes and crime against women. And government comes up with lot of schemes and programs to save the girl child, education facilities and all. But is it really empowering women? To some extent it does. Without education I wouldn't be able to write these lines. But not fully even today educated working women are easy target. Before in the market of marriage a girl had to be beautiful and capable to producing babies and plus doing household chores. But now they want the girl to know how to handle home and even work.
No, I am not complaining about the burden on the shoulders. I am actually thinking if education really empowers women. Yes, it does to an extent that she is financially secured. But taking the empowerment further, I fail to fathom the true role of women in Indian modern society. Earlier it was much clear role of being a home maker. But with changing times, I often see women doing both work and personal life with no major help from men. I hear my beautician complaining how her husband orders tea as soon as he is back from work. It is clear both are working but lots of patriarchal rules are still alive. With trend of working women, equality is still a distant dream. A man’s role in a patriarchal society was to earn money that now even women are also doing. So now shouldn’t the responsibilities towards home increase for men? Or the whole institution of marriage will be shaken. Women need love, care and affection as much as men do. Marriage should be after all between two adults who share responsibilities. But shouldn’t women also receive their share of opportunities to explore life outside homes? And husbands who help wives with chores be respected too? With women
burdening themselves with too many responsibilities, the purpose of institution of marriage will not be served.
So back to the real question, what is real empowerment? The ability to earn money and to do household chores or being able to voice out opinions or expressing individuality apart from beings Mrs. so and so. In spite of all, why are we women not able to protect ourselves from rapist who are hunting women every day? Why are we being helpless in such situations? Yes, we are physically weak. I am talking about average woman like me not Mary Kom who can box men away. But if you go back to primitive times, weak animals like deer and cows had a way to protect themselves. Imagine herbivorous deer competing carnivorous Cheetah. But if you noticed the animals always had an instinct. They focused on hearing more than seeing.
So if we women are going towards logical brain, our education trained us to think logically and taught us lot of things. Sadly there is no proper training to live in rapist world. Not all are trained in self defense. What if we take a break from this logic and focus on gut feeling and instincts we could save ourselves in this man made jungle? Women may be physically weak but that is no excuse to confine a woman to four walls of the house. And rape can be occurred anywhere even at homes by grocery vendor, to delivery boys or by any male relative. So the arguments of women working late hours are more susceptible to rape is pointless. So the true empowerment for women would be able to defend by themselves. Proper steps should be taken by government and educational institutions to establish defense classes for girls or to create environment where women feel secure. Maybe some ethics classes and behavior lessons to the boys as well. ***