Wednesday, April 6, 2016

E - Equality - What are we fighting for ?

The International women's day passed a while ago. Many blog posts and articles voiced their concerns, discussed stats about how there are less number of women CEOs in the world, how there is less than 30% representation by women in politics and how the world needs to change. For an average woman like me, all this sounds a little too far fetched. All this may be true, but I am more concerned about the grass root level. Where do women stand in households? In regular offices? In public?
This fight, for equality, is not a fight against men. And its not a fight to be equal to men either. I believe both are different. They cannot be equal.There is a reason there are men and women, two different beings. This fight is about having as much freedom as a human being is entitled to. Its about letting a woman find her abilities and realize her potential. Its a cry for equal opportunities. Its a shout out to women to stop being a victim and start standing up for herself. That she is capable, of much more than what she was told be. To create an awareness that she deserves better treatment.

Having said that, women still are the weaker sex. She still needs to be cared for and given the jacket when it is cold. She still needs laws to protect her from abuse and sexual exploitation. She has her monthly discomforts and painful pregnancies. She still needs to be looked after. She still deserves some special arrangements. This is where we are not equal to men. Biologically and physically. We are not less. Just different.

What do I want as a woman ?

Freedom. Freedom to think forward. Freedom to dream about a future for myself.

Support. Support from family to pursue my interests as long as they are realistic. And support when I fail at something. I would appreciate it, if my failure is judged not based on my gender but based on my capabilities.

Trust. Trust that I can think for myself. I don't always need a husband or a father to guide me or make decisions for me. I want to be trusted with my decisions.

Judgement. Do not cloud your judgement based on what the world will think of me, or you for that matter. You do not become a woman if you cook sometimes. I do not become a slut if I wear a skirt. The world will always have something to say. Do not cut my wings because your aunt may not like it.

Let me be me. According to the world, I may not qualify as a woman in a few aspects. I may not be passionate about cooking or lack that devotion to God. I may struggle to iron your clothes or do not know the quick home remedies that every other woman seems to know. Accept the way I am. Not every person is the same.

Sharing. Women are not machines. They are doubling up as a home maker and bread winners. Apart from doing a regular job, we also cook, keep the house clean, feed the babies, try to keep fit, pursue something of personal interest. It would be nice if responsibilities are shared at home. Including cleaning the bathrooms or changing a diaper. I am 200% sure that if you ask a husband to exchange roles with a wife, none of them would be ready to do. Half of the reason being we do shitty work that nobody wants to do. It is somehow a woman's job by birthright. So, we deserve some acknowledgement that we do most of the heavy-lifting despite not liking it.

Emotional space. Again, women are human beings. Just like any other human being, we have our mood swings. We have our bouts of laziness. We also fall sick.  Some tasks fall behind schedule. Sometimes a meal is not tasty enough and some other times we just feel like doing nothing. Before pointing a finger or starting a lecture, try to understand. We would appreciate if you take it on yourself for a change..or say 'Lets do it together'. Better still, just keep quiet. We will be grateful for not being treated like a maid. Seriously.

Patriarchy. Do not impose decisions or give that 'I am the husband' or 'I am the father' line. Arguments should be based on logic and not ego.  And understand that there can be two right ways to look at something. If  I say something different than you did, it doesn't mean I am trying to prove you wrong. I am just giving a different perspective.

Forgiveness. Just like men, we make mistakes too. Reprimand us if you need to. Then forgive. But do not treat us like shit. Remember how you are treated when you make a mistake.And do not tell me you never make a mistake. That's a huge egotistic belief. And not true. Sit together and resolve the situation.

Restrictions. All women are bound by rules. Some are imposed by the society, some come from parents and some from a husband. We live in a bad world and being the weaker sex, many of them are meant to be protective. Which is reasonable. But hiding behind this excuse, do not take liberty to add your own insecurities to the list. I don't like you doing this, I don't like you doing that  - as much as we want to keep peace by compromising, we would appreciate if you keep an open mind. Things change. What may have been a modern, bold dressing ten years ago might have become the norm now. Like I said before, trust us with our choices. Believe that we can think about our own good.

Independence. Being independent is a great feeling. Earning our own money. Being useful in some way. Driving around on our own. Having a all-girls night out. Having our space sometimes. We need these just like you do. It boosts our confidence and self-worth. Its a break we all need.

Career. We have responsibilities at work just like you do. If we have to stay late sometimes or work takes priority at times, understand we are being professional. We have a job to take care of. We dont want to stay basic or version 1.0. We want to excel at work, grow in our career and work hard to make ourselves important. Be something more. Just like how you want to return to a happy home after a long day at work, we need the same thing. Support us. Do not label us as ambitious women who do not care about family. Family is most important to us, but it is NOT the top priority all the time.

Are any of these outrageous ?

In different countries, in different households, the struggle for equality is on various levels. While women in some places fight for being treated like a human being, some other countries fight for equal pay and equal opportunities.

The patriarchal society, deep rooted in its belief that men are superior, cannot be changed overnight. Its a gradual process. And this makes the struggle a precariously balanced one. Women must tread this carefully, one wrong move and relations can crumble.

I hope in this race for equality, we don't forget the basic essence of being a woman.

What does equality mean to you ?


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