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E-Pao! Essays - Empowering women for gender justice

Empowering women for gender justice

By: Oinam Anand/The Sangai Express *



God had created human being in two forms which had only a slight difference physically. One in the form of a male, hard, tough and masculine and the other in the form of a female, soft, kind and feminine. One half of the entire human population on this planet belongs to this fair sex who only bears the reproductive capability and by which alone the human race continues to exist in this green, planet with no sign of extinction as yet.

Women are more compassionate, kind-hearted, noble and co-operative compared with those of men. Women have been depicted in the books of literature, in the legends, in the folktales as a symbol of tenderness, love and forgiveness. There may be cruel woman but she has the mother within her. Shakespeare had moulded the cruelest of the cruel woman 'Lady Macbeth' in the play 'Macbeth'.

At the time of the murder of Duncan by her husband, Lady Macbeth "prays the spirit of cruelty so to thicken her blood that pity cannot flow along with her vein and to unsex her so that direst cruelty make thick her blood as that of a cruel man". This tells that love and compassion cannot be dissociated from a woman.

But for ages women are one of the most oppressed and constitute the most deprived sections of the society why because our human society as a whole is a male dominated society irrespective of the different geographical locations. For centuries this male dominated society taking the advantage of the physical weakness and biological difference in women spread the canard that the safer place for women are in the kitchen and they are not serious and not fit in the works outside home.

This misconception about women in the affairs of the society has been decreased gradually from the past few decades or so and the power and potential within woman conies to the fore in many activities whether it is in politics, sports or social issues.

To cite the shining examples of women in politics of yesteryears were. Indira Gandhi of India, Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain, Srimavo Bandernaike of Sri Lanka and Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan. They were the political figures of their countries as well as in the world politics during their times. Now women have occupied the highest position in both the ruling and opposition in Bangladesh and it is seen at the helm of affairs in Indonesia and Malaysia. India has got a woman in the chair of the steering committee that steers the course of the present UPA Government.

But politics apart, women still suffer from many cruelties in the society. In the west crime against women is increasing rapidly. Rape, abortion and murder have been reported in large numbers. Sati, child marriage, bonded labour are still prevalent in India. Though our Constitution provides for the Right of equality to women (Art 14, 15) and Article 21 gives human dignity to both men and women the protection of women from exploitation and harassment cannot be guaranteed totally.

The Vienna Accord 1994, Beijing platform of action 1995, Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women call for action against domestic violence and harassment on women but domestic violence resulting in the death of housewives due to excessive torture still occurs in many parts of India as well as in the world.

In order to remove such atrocities against women and to enable the women to participate in the affairs of the society the psyche that women had no alternative but to depend on men should be removed first. The fact that women are excelling in different fields proves that women can and do handle politics successfully if they are given opportunities. Whether it is politics of the higher level or the lower women have now made a mark. In 2004 we have seen five women Chief Minister in five States of India (Uma Bharti resigned recently) and have proved that they are good administrator if they are given the opportunity.

It is essential that women have a greater participation in politics. They should be given a chance to contest election only among their genders. For this some percentage of the strength of the Parliament and the Assembly should be kept reserved for them. This reservation will be the empowerment of women and will alone rise the consciousness and thereby confidence and morale of the women. But politics in India is dominated by men.

The male dominated politics is still not able to swallow the fact that women have secured their definite identity and place in most of the democratic countries of the world today. At the same time these politicians are feeling insecure because of the fear of losing their seats and that is why they are not agreeing on the reservation quota for women though not openly opposed it.

It is time to give the women a chance in politics and this will narrow down the gender divide and ultimately comes to an end. There is the need to see the role of women in society in a new perspective and men will have to accept it. It will do gender justice to the fairer sex.




This article was published at The Sangai Express by Oinam Anand.
Oinam Anand writes regularly at The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on December 14, 2004

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