Syed Karar Hashmi

How empowered are our women?

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Syed Karar Hashmi

Women in Kashmir are struggling hard against inequalities, discriminations, injustices and for rights amid tough and challenging environment. The number of widows is alarmingly at increase due to continuous killings and counter killings in the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir. Several movements against women atrocities and violence raised by feminist organizations in the state are enough to understand the plight of the problem at ground. The latest sex scandal surfaced in south Kashmir depicts the criminal tendencies and psychology of people involved to tarnish the image of women. She lives in a great fear, uncertainty and chaos in such a state, were accused rapist and murderer of Asifa of Kathua are still enjoying impunity and roaming without fear. We have left no stone unturned to project the image of women living in Kashmir as empowering and in a transitional phase, but it is all in papers only.

Woman is the architect of our future generation and is an important component of social management. It is she who gives birth to all the prophets, scientists, engineers, political thinkers, leaders, philosophers and other great personalities but the graph of crime is rising at an alarming level against her.

The Media in charge of JK united youth federation Miss Sabahat Khan from Srinagar says, “the slogan of international conferences, summits, voluntary organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is directly related to issues of injustice with women as the central theme to act. Despite all of these efforts, the atrocities like dowry deaths, sexual harassment, female feticide, molestation, rape, women trafficking, domestic violence etc continues in each and every corner of India.”

The shocking statistics of sex-ratio in the state of Jammu and Kashmir: 883 per 1000 boys are below the national average of 914 per 1000 boys and out of world’s one billion illiterates, 2/3 is women. A study has revealed that 57% of boys were breast fed as compared to 30% of girls. The stereotype mindset of people that boys are assets, while girls are considered as an additional burden on the parents as they have to spend massive money on their marriage and dowry. Women as individual and as a group are among the most discriminated sections of world population. Today’s women are kept away from the position of power and decision making.

The economic dependence of women makes them subjugated and vulnerable to emotional and psychological violence. The society should change its negative mindset towards business women. Men should leave bias and strengthen women entrepreneurs and help them to be the job providers and not the job seekers. The entire edifice of social movements in India, which wanted to change the status of women, has been raised on the principle of equality.

Societies across the globe have shown preferences for boy child and have gone to the extent of killing girl child in the womb itself. A woman does 3/5th of world’s work but earns only 1/10th of world’s income and owns only 1/10th of world’s assets.

The religion, polity and society are so organized historically as to make her position vulnerable in the society. Women being treated as the second sex in material terms and is quite often denied political, economic and cultural rights.

Changing conditions of women and their status constituted the core of the social reform movements in the early decade of nineteenth century; however, by the early decade of the twentieth century this core is enlarged by bringing two issues: equality of women in modern political, social and cultural realm and women’s role in the development process, into its ambit. The year 1975 was declared as the world women’s year by the United Nations. The women’s decade, 1975-85, witnessed women related activism by feminist groups as well as political parties.  However, all this has not been able to change the plight of women.

Though Islam has provided women more rights, it is unfortunate that till date women have never enjoyed secure lives and are always being discriminated against.

Tail Piece:  The latest survey report of Kashmir based trust Tehreek-e-fahalluh Muslimeen reveals that 10,000 girls have crossed marriageable age in Srinagar alone, due to different reasons.

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