Author: Aakriti Kamal
(student at Vivek High School, Chandigarh)
We say we have come a long way. It’s the 21st century and we are privileged enough to have unhindered access to knowledge and awareness about right and wrong. We live in times when men can proudly call themselves feminists, women are unafraid to raise a voice for themselves, and we have laws in place to help eradicate the evils that still exist in the society. But I would say take time to think, reflect and weigh everything with an uninfluenced mindset. We haven’t really come that far away, have we?
One thing to understand here is that our opinion is been shaped by what we see growing up. Similarly, promoting a mindset of equality for our generation and the next depends on us. And before we get to blaming all the men in the world for treating women unequally, we need to take into account the mistakes females have been making, be it intentionally or unintentionally.
We live in a society where women choose to be housewives even when they are not paid for all the toil they put in. This subconsciously leads us to not value their work and hence, them because we are still struggling to understand that the importance and value of a work or task is not decided in terms of what you are paid for it. Secondly, slowly but surely, even developing countries are making progress towards achieving women equality by formulating laws and policies. India, for instance, has in place the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 according to which, giving or taking dowry is illegal in India. But has it stopped even after having a law against it since more than half a century? NO. The more surprising part about all of this is that even if the male side of the family doesn’t ask for dowry, the female side insists on giving it for various irrational reasons like upholding their status in society, showing off their financial strength and apparently giving their daughter(s) “gifts”. Moreover, the world today is not only unjust to women but also unsafe for them. Families that have a girl and a boy child set deadlines for the girls to come back home before sunset so that they are safe and find it okay to not do the same for boys. Parents need to understand that taking a small step like setting the same deadline for their children is important because even through such a small effort equality is promoted.
Little things like these go neglected as moulds that help shape our opinions and perception towards our fellow human beings. Rather than blaming the previous generations for showing us the world through their eyes or shaping our mindset wrongfully, we should get past this and focus on educating ourselves. We have the power to think, rationalize, question and learn as youth. We are hanging in the middle of orthodox outlooks and reformed perceptions and it solely depends on our generation whether to slide back or move forward through the decisions we take today.