Monday, April 2, 2007

Reflections on Gender Equality

Our constitution envisions a society, where gender equality persists in all spheres of life. Well it remains to be seen how far this statement is true reality though. There is a a huge hue and cry in the Union parliament whenever a Women's reservation bill is introduced. This brings us to a serious issue, whether or not women needed to treated on a different class from men. Why restrict their numbers to mere 33%, when they have the constitutional right to contest any number of seats? What is the rationale behind reserving seats for women alone like that of Mayors or councillors in the local government level? Suppose a gentleman wishes to contest a mayorial seat reserved for a women, he is denied his constitutional right to contest for elections. This would tantamount to extending freedom to one at the cost of another. This is not the equality that our constitution envisioned.

Then how do we set forth to achieve an inclusive gender equality?

Perhaps the first step in ensuring gender equality is to put an end to the differential treatment meted out to the different gender. Believe me, this would work wonders in ensuring progress and integration of the women folks on par with men. In developed western countries this gender demarcation is gradually disappearing. They have university hostels , jail houses and apartments where men and women folks co-habitate(the perverted minds is bound to raise eyebrows) , women occupying the higher ranks in the armed forces( be it in combat or non-combat duties) commanding over men, women truck drivers , garbage cleaners or even astronauts etc. In simple terms they don't give a damn to the gender you belong to.

The second step is to sensitise the needs of the opposite gender. This is very much lacking in our country. For example, a woman civil servant ( of the rank of Secretary) in the Central Secretariat had no access to rest rooms at all in her floor, as it was traditionally used by men folks. Her plea for constructing additional rest rooms was rejected and was advised to use the women's staff rest rooms instead. In stark comparison, the recent British-Iran Navy sailors capture imbroglio, the British Army allowed the husband, of the captured lady soldier, on a paternal leave to take care of their daughter. This is perhaps the finest example of gender sensitization. (People in India would laugh at the story of an Army man on a paternal leave)

The third and final step would be remove the inherent gender bias i.e a man is superior to women. One way to achieve this could be to sequester the family life from that of the professional lives. Egoism must be removed from our mindset for a functional family to sustain.How many of us would like our wives to earn more than us? Or even climb up the hierarchy much faster than us? Would any husband migrate with his wife in case she gets a transfer? The answers are rather negative in majority of the cases. This calls for a serious introspection and change in the mindsets of the men folks.


Ramya said...
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Anonymous said...

//Would any husband migrate with his wife in case she gets a transfer? //
lots of thinking put in :)