Social Issue

Because you are a girl..

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          “Ladkiyon ko ghar sambhalna aur khana banana aana chahiye, ye khelna kudna nahi chahiye.”She told. “Kyu bhai bhi toh khelta hai.” Her daughter snapped back. “Par who toh ladka hai na…..”She replied. A rather simple conversation between a mother and daughter, but it filled my heart with anguish. I was dishearted and distraught, ‘ woh ladka hai na’ echoed in my ears. A lot of questions were arising in sea of thought – what gender discrimination means to society? what is role of women in India? Don’t women have right to be treated equally? Women are global leaders and powerful voices in diverse fields but, most women are not able to enjoy their rights fully because of the deeply entrenched patriarchal view and norms.  Have you ever wondered why we gift cooking sets to girls and cars to boys? ‘crying like a girl’ why this sentence has been existing since ages? Everyone cries when they feel sad or demotivated, but our very own society believes that it’s only girls who cry. Isn’t it shameful that every girl once in a lifetime thinks that if she was a boy things would have been easier. Girls are denied their right to equality just because they are girls. Society denies everything by saying ‘because you are a girl’ .This all led to a soul searching discussion which though left me a bit shattered but definitely helped me to probe bit deeper into gender discrimination in society. Women face discrimination right from their existence when they are in their mother’s womb. The birth of boy child is celebrated but birth if girl child is a case of dismay. Daughters are considered liabilities whereas sons are considered assets. Legacy, who will carry forward my legacy? Who will take care of me when I will become old? These are some questions because of which son’s are preferred. The pre-determination of gender of child is illegal but isn’t it irony as cases of female infanticide have increased. If a girl survives she faces various other things like domestic violence, abuse, rape and what not. Many say that it was girl’s mistake or blame her clothes when she is raped but what was a 5 year girl or 10 month girl wearing when she was raped. Over 2, 39,000 girls under age of 5 die every year in Indi due to neglect linked to gender discrimination. Discrimination against women exists in each and every field from factory to field, from sports to entertainment. The Equal Remuneration Act in India was enacted to prevent discrimination between workers on grounds of gender. It provides for payment of equal remuneration to men and women workers, for same work or work of similar nature and for the prevention of discrimination against women in the matters of employment but are women equally paid? A woman does more work than an average person but most of her work is not paid and hence not valued.  When a girl says she likes to play cricket, society confirms it again with a huge face of disapproval, cricket? Really? Girls can’t go outside at night, why? Because of their safety. But from whom? From those people who don’t know how to respect women. We need to teach girls self defense. Yes, but shouldn’t we teach boys how to behave with girls, how to respect women. The cause is mental makeup of society. ‘Women best fit at home’ this statement used by many is enough to show that even with so much technological and educational advancement, people’s mental status and stereotypes have not changed. This is related to social stigma attached to women that their duty is only to give birth and take care of the family. Many people don’t invest in daughter’s education because of this many girls drop out after 10th; parents are ready to invest money in son’s education rather than investing equally on both daughter and son. Let’s see what women can do- Jessica Ardern , Prime Minister of New Zealand with her effective prevention steps made New Zealand Corona- free, Minal Dakhave Bhosle developed indigenous corona virus testing kit in just 6 weeks which was estimated to take 3 months, Hima das and Mary Com brought laurels to India, Mithali Raj is the 1st Indian cricketer overall to score over 1,000 World Cup runs in cricket. Peggy Witson set the record , for most cumulative days living and working in space by a NASA astronaut at 665 days. This shows that women can make impossible possible with their determination but just give them the power and space to grow.  Women need to know their rights to exercise them. Education is not enough as gender discrimination is deep rooted in India. It is a start but if we really want to put an end to this evil then we need to change our mindset and then mindset and stereotypes of society. As charity starts from home, start from your home, take stand and spread awareness about gender equality. The journey of thousand miles begins with a single step, take small steps like checking on words to ensure you are not promoting gender discrimination, and don’t have a gender biased mindset towards particular sport or activity. In my opinion, training should be given to both boys and girls and they should be given education regarding gender equality. Don’t use phrases like ‘crying like a girl’ etc. Bring women to power this is way through which problems of women could be solved and brought in limelight. At home, the children learn about gender-roles through the division of domestic chores (does daddy cook, can mommy fix the light fixture). At school, they learn about gender-roles through activities and attitudes of our peers and teachers. The third is marketing and media, the clothes they wear, the TV shows, the toys they play with. Similarly, colors are designated to gender. Famously Kinder Joy comes in a pink packaging for girls and another one in blue for boys. The content of the food is the same but what lies in between is an unreasonable gender difference which disturbs the ethos of gender equality on the basis of food.  This can also be seen in the packaging of the products .There can be many examples but here is one – think of how you compliment or describe a child. Often girls are described as ‘sweet, cute, doll, pretty or princess’. These tend to value girls for their beauty or appearance. We need to communicate to them that they are valued as individuals, beyond their looks, we can call them brave, smart, curious, witty, caring, and resourceful, and our words also become the lens through which they see themselves. Bournvita and Comfort deserve appreciation for their gender unbiased advertisements. Bournvita shows that sports are not only for boys and girls can also play sports and undergo physical training. Comfort ads portray that boys should take part in domestic chores and it’s not the only duty of girl as it’s assumed by society. The aim is to create an environment where boys can become nurse and girls can become scientists, doctors and engineers. Gender equality is not a female fight it is human fight. Let’s give them an expansive vision of who they are effectively bust gender stereotypes.

Urvi Shah





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