>We for Women


Sunday, we welcomed another girl into a female-dominated family. With smiles. And sighs of relief – we believe daughters are infinitely better than sons! And the gender imbalance in our family favours girls too. The boys, most of the few that there are, have turned out to be, er…, rotten.

On Sunday too, when my nani underwent a surgery on her fractured pelvic bone, her four daughters took care of her, fretted over her and stood by her like the pillars of strength nani would have expected from her sons.

It was on late Sunday evening that I first saw this huge hoarding in my city welcoming the first woman President of India. In a country that leaves the job of choosing the heads of state – real and constitutional – to a woman (Mrs. G – 2 did after all propel Manmohan Singh to the PM’s chair, before lending her support to Patil as President), and in a state that is lead by another woman, however unflattering she may be to womankind, it’s not too hard to imagine why that hoarding was up there.

But it does seem ironic that despite this celebration of womanhood, I’m not sure being a woman is such a wonderful idea. On Friday last, a girl on the Lucknow railway station was gang raped and thrown out of a moving train, leaving her physically and mentally scarred for life. In another case on a TV channel, a man married twice because his first wife couldn’t beget him a son! In Nagpur, a racquet involving exploitation of aspiring Bollywood actresses was unearthed by the police. Don’t ask me why this should happen in a country where the most important positions are occupied by women.

The question is, apart from proclaiming Patil as a woman achiever, what has Sonia Gandhi done to improve the situation of women in our country? Or Mayawati, or Jaya Lalitha for that matter? As women in power, they could have been powerful agents of change to correct the gender inequalities in our country, but they have chosen to play along with the stereotypes that women must be slotted in caring to break the mould only for their own sake.

How ironical that while women who claim positions of importance in the public sphere do so little for others of their ilk, while common folk make so much of a difference.


20 responses »

  1. >well congrats! and though i do not agree with “daughters are infinitely better than sons” but your concerns could not be more on target… some incidents just are so disturbing it just erases all the belief in everything that is good.. but thats life i guess.. not fair!I just hate both SG and our new president.. so better not to say anything..

  2. >hmmm the all time most disturbing question – why are women not treated equally with men? i guess times are slowly changing..and with a country as huge(read large population) and as diverse as India..it will take eons till we come up with an equal society. however unfortunate that may seem.i think its more important what we can do as far as this issue is concerned. like everything else, it should begin at home.

  3. >They don’t do anything for the empowerment because they don’t have the caliber and will. They reached to that position by the back door – Sonia Gandhi using the Gandhi Pariwar, Jayalalitha riding piggyback on MGR, and Mayawati using the Dalit card.However, the respected women achievers like Kiran Bedi who can really inspire are not supposed fit for a Police Commissioner post though she do not need this certificate.That’s the irony !

  4. >Oh, well. I don’t like this concept of the gender divide. It goes over my head entirely. I mean sometimes I get the feeling that misogynists and feminists do the very opposite of whatever they are supposed to do.And then, there is Mrs. PP. Who seems to be a woman of a bygone era — a stark contrast to our old beloved President. {I really liked the old, but nevertheless new Prof. Doc. Mr. Kalam.} So, maybe I am biased about Patil being the President because she cannot match up to the energy-level of Dr. Kalam. But the fact remains that I am biased.Oh. I don’t like Sonia Gandhi. But Jaya Lalithaa on the other hand is a powerful woman. She could be a great PM, or at least the King-Maker. Ah, well… I am a different type of person because of my orientation.But. Gang rapists are dirty, rotten something-which-can’t-be-said-here-s.They are ‘working towards the emancipation of women’, thank you.But I do respect JL for whatever she has done in TN. A lot of good things for women, this I know personally… h’m.

  5. >@Kevin: Thank you!@Ankit: Thank you. I know everybody wouldn’t agree with gdaughters being better than sons, but I stick by that.@Nisha: It’s a whole mindset that needs to change and I’m not sure anything short of a revolution will bring that about.@Dipti: The only difference they make is to themselves.@Manish: You’re right. The real achievers go unnoticed, though Kiran Bedi has managed to attract enough attention to her positive deeds.@Prince: I’m not surprised. You are a boy.

  6. >gender bias can go either ways. more common is the fasincation for the male child, but then i’ve knowne so many ppl who vehemently want dughters and even think they’re in some funny way better than sons. i think when it comes to children, we must let nature take its course. whats imp, imho, is to create an atmosphere with love and trust, one that facilitates the transoformation of these little wonders into responsible citizens.@ women in power – a lot of my friends call me an mcp, and maybe i am one. but i vehemently scorn at women who talk of womens liberation. i feel it is ironical – most ppl who consider themselves crusaders in thsi league are all members of the elite society – they do things for the publicity value and nothing more. the women who really need emancipation lie unheard of, unspoken to in godforsaken corners of the country. if only we could do something for them…

  7. >@Kaylee: Thank you :P@Dbum: When I talk about sons and daughters, well, I’m talking not just about children but also adults. As children, I agree, they are little wonders. As adults, my experience has taught me that women make better children. And that is only my experience. But before we talk about any kind of equality, we must understand that male foeticide is still unheard of!As for women in power, I totally agree. But scorning women who talk of women’s lib does stink of male chauvinism!

  8. >All has been said and criticised alot about gender bias and women still being exploited and surpressed.We also tend to talk alot about how OTHERS have not done enough? But have we EVER wondered WHY something like this happens at all?Once, while interviewing this extremely strong and known lady of the city over some feminist issue, she said ‘Nabila, you can not change anything in an instant. It will take a generation to make the difference. If a woman wants good happening to her, she will have to teach that to her children.’Lack of moral education. Decent educated families too, tend to stress on ‘overly’ respecting the father, the man of the house. What about the woman? I will honestly not care about what my female or male politicians do. Cause as people in power they hardly do anything. And I shall not blame then either, I never voted!

  9. >WOW what good comments to a great post. Coming from the united states… reading your post literally took me to another world. Although in the states we know of other countries and their equality rights… or lack there of, it is still quite a shock to read it first hand. SO many countries treat women so differently. In Sweden, women are cherished and more incontrol of the family than the man. In the USA it goes both ways. In my family, the father was expected to be the provider, yet my mother worked as well. She ultimately made most of the decisions and both my father and my mother carried out typical “house” chores. They loved every one of their children,… and actually my sister has Three little girls… no boys. Even in places in China where they kill babys that are girls… this is just beyond me. SO far from what i know and come from. It is hard for me to understand how anyone could see a difference in equality between a boy and girl, women and men. I apologize if i step outside my bounds… but your post was dramatic and heartfelt. beautiful.

  10. >It’s not men or women that follow a paradigm of indifference. It’s people.(I like the new blog template, incidentally)Please note, men in power have done nothing to improve the condition of men or women either, if you pose it as a question of sexual differences.Generally, humans in power have done little to use it for good.See the pattern?It’s not just being a woman.It’s the human condition.

  11. >@Nabila: I agree. Women can make a huge difference to the way women are treated. That’s why the frustration with the women leaders.@Danielle: Well, Danielle, I wouldn’t like you to form an opinion of the condition of women in my country, any country, on the basis of a blog post. There are so many dimensions to it that I haven’t and couldn’t have touched on here. Nevertheless, I’m glad the post struck a chord with you. Thank you.@Jeya: Thanks.@Dhruva: Firstly, thanks for the compliment on the blog template :)And I understand the point that you’re trying to make. Even though it’s different from mine, I cannot deny there’s some truth in it.

  12. >stink – wow! strong word, is it not? not that i am offended – for i do recognize that i stink both from the inside and out :)what i scorn at is ppl who TALK about it but DO nothing. we’re as a country quite good at it u know, and it is not only in relation to womens empowerment, but every other issue.

  13. >liked your blog. yeah it is sad that women are always considered and treated as the weaker sex. ever heard of female circumcision? takes place in africa and its tragic and painful.just another way of torchering women and sucking the joy of their existence.

  14. >@Dbum: I’m sorry it came across so strong – didn’t mean it that way. And I do hope people who know me think that I do more than lip service to the cause of women’s empowerment.@Utopia: Thank you for the “like your blog: compliment.And I totally agree with you, since you totally agree with me!

  15. >The incidents of atrocities on women, that you mention, are indeed sad and painful.All the same, I do not understand what do they have to do with Pratibha Patils(PP) presidential candidature (Now, of course her being the president). I know that a lot of feminists rejoiced when Sonia Gandhi declared her support for PP. But, we must realize there is hardly anything to rejoice. A female president does not necessarily mean upliftment of women in the country exactly as a female governor does not ensure upliftment of female in a state.Someone here drew parallels between misogynists and feminists. You brushed him away calling it his in-competency in understanding the situation because he is a boy. I am a feminist too I strongly believe that gender inequality must be eradicated.This means, the female/male gender of a person should not create an unfair prejudice against her/him.Why then did most feminists support PP as the president? Shouldn’t her gender be irrelevant, especially for such a coveted post.

  16. >ha well, i was searching for ‘lucknow’ wen i found this post… well, i was thinking something related recently… http://www.monacome.com/2008/11/palin-sarkozy-prank-call-transcript.html …this link takes you to the prank call that a radio broadcaster made to sarah palin, th VP hopeful in the US… well, the interesting thing is, here is a woman who got elevated because she was a woman, and here she is, smiling and passing all the usual statements that would make any woman cringe in other circumstances, just because she thought she was expected to act politically dignified.. and again, she must have been worried about the fallout of raising a hue and cry… well, suffice it to say that if the woman who get recognised by society are going to bother only about keeping their butts fixed to their chairs, then wer does that leave ‘women’?

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