Ending prejudice against women

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By: Dr Aasif Ali Naikoo

The tale of discrimination against women starts right from the birth and continues till the last breath. Not only in modern society but eons ago girls were subjected to discrimination and boys preferred over them. This stereotypical ideology continues to exist even today and the struggle and challenges remains an issue for a girl child throughout her life.

Mostly confined to home, the struggle for a right begins when she takes her first steps and the confines keep on changing with her growing. Good parenting of a girl child is an important concern for her development but it never means to end her dreams and treat her as a lesser mortal than her male counterparts. The more she grows the more she begins to understand and adapt to the chauvinistic barriers imposed on her by her parents and by the society at large.

If she decides to go anywhere for education we simply keep her away from this by referring to the gender but the considerations change when the same scenario emerges for a boy. We should understand that men and women are equal not just in the eyes of law but also according to all the religious scriptures of the world.

When it comes to marriage, most of the parents consider their daughters as ‘burden’ on them and marry them off when they are satisfied with the match- no matter if the girl is convinced or not! This indicates that the society has different mental attitude towards boys and girls and while girls are often adjudged as ‘decent’ when they accept the choice of their parents unquestionably, for boys I is matter of their choice.

As she enters the home of in-laws, a girl expects and hopes for love and respect but unfortunately in our society we have created such an environment where every second girl wants to commit suicide after marriage due to the ill behavior of her in-laws and the demands made in dowry. Besides this, she is seen as a domestic help and is required to do nearly everything-from cooking to washing to cleaning etc even when there are people who could have helped her and eased her burden of work.  The parents of a girl remain aware of the injustice, avoidance, beating, abuse and torture but still they advise her to keep patience and counseling her to stay put until things change naturally. But what happens afterwards we all know- in most of such cases women commit suicides in the absence of a support system and unchecked domestic violence.

We have laws in our constitution for ensuring women rights and yet such unfortunate incidents take place and the society remains silent. The society has created an atmosphere of derogatory and offensive behavior against females and condemning them to a life of confinements and misery. It is almighty Allah who made this world from a single couple and from that time the race continues. Both men and women complement each other and complete each other-without a woman man is incomplete and same is true the other way round. We always blame government for having failed women in many cases but as a family and as the basic unit of a society, we personally fail to safeguard the interests of womenfolk.  A mental change never needs any law or principle- it needs thinking power and change in attitude towards. To empower women we don’t need laws we need to change our mental attitude towards them and the day we consider them as equal and treat them with mutual respect, mutual love, mutual sharing and caring, the society would be much better.

The author is Lecturer in Sociology, Government Degree College, D.H Pora Kulgam.

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