Strokes are known as “brain attacks.” When blood flow stops to an area of the brain, the cells receive less oxygen, similar to what occurs during a heart attack. When brain cells can’t get enough oxygen, they die. Strokes generally fall in one of two categories,” Dr. Achieng says. “Ischemic strokes occur when a blood clot in a vessel stops blood flow to the brain. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the surrounding brain tissue. Certain factors in women can lead to both types of stroke.
According to a study presented by European Stroke Organization (ESO) Conference, there is a rising heart attack and stroke among women than men. This is due to work stress, sleep disorders, fatigue, which are usually termed as non-traditional risk factors for heart attack and stroke.
While diabetes, arterial hypertension, raised cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity are recognized modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease, recently, it has been noted that non-traditional risk factors such as work pressures and sleep problems can significantly add to cardiovascular risk. Stroke is the No. 4 cause of death in women and kills more women than men. In fact, one in five women has a stroke.
Traditionally men have been perceived to be more affected by heart attacks and strokes than women.
But, the “study found men were more likely to smoke and be obese than women, but females reported a bigger increase in the non-traditional risk factors for heart attacks and strokes, such as work stress, sleep disorders, and feeling tired and fatigued”, said Dr Martin Hansel, Neurologist at the University Hospital Zurich, and her team.
“This increase coincides with the number of women working full time. Juggling work and domestic responsibilities or other socio-cultural aspects may be a factor, as well as specific health demands of women that may not be accounted for in our daily ‘busy’ lives,” Hansel added.
High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke and is the main cause for increased risk of stroke among people with diabetes.
Researchers compared data from 22,000 men and women in the Swiss Health Survey from 2007, 2012, and 2017, and found an “alarming” rise in the number of women reporting the non-traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The trend coincided with an increase in the number of women working full-time from 38 per cent in 2007 to 44 per cent in 2017.
Overall, in both sexes, the number reporting stress at work rose from 59 per cent in 2012 to 66 per cent in 2017, and those reporting feeling tired and fatigued increased from 23 per cent to 29 per cent (to 33 per cent in women and 26 per cent in men).
Over the same period, the number reporting sleep disorders went up from 24 per cent to 29 per cent, with severe sleep disorders also rising more sharply in women (8 per cent) than in men (5 per cent).
However, the research also found the traditional risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease had remained stable in the same time period, with 27 per cent suffering from hypertension, 18 per cent with raised cholesterol and 5 per cent with diabetes. Obesity increased to 11 per cent and smoking decreased from approximately 10.5 to 9.5 cigarettes per day, but both were more prevalent in men.
Stroke prevention in women:
With so many factors that can raise the risk of stroke in women, are there ways to prevent them?
The same steps you take to improve your heart health will also reduce your stroke risk, Dr. Achieng says. Your doctor may recommend taking a daily dose of aspirin because it thins the blood and reduces clotting, but that will depend on the individual.
Elizabethan age can be rightly said as the ‘period of patriarchy ‘which can be approximately marked between 1558 and 1603 where women were not allowed to choose their life partner nor they could deny the parents choice if they try to do so then they were tortured and beaten up badly it was clearly stated by professor(historian) trevelyan’s – ‘History of England’ which Virginia woolf was going through ,such denial of choice shows that women in that time were having no agency. Women were not allowed to learn grammar, logic ,English grammar and poetry; they were recommended or were made only for men. They were always reminded to focus their attention on household chores and on family.In the Elizabethan age, the role of women was very limited in society. Men were expected to be breadwinners and women to be housewives and do household chores. Women were considered as inferiors and were not given the right to education. They were also denied the right of expressing themselves through writing. Taking the example of Judith Shakespeare, she was as talented and imaginative as her brother but she was not allowed to learn and study more and she was married forcefully. When she wanted to become an actor, everybody made fun of her and discouraged her. Women could not own property of their own. This is one of the reasons Queen Elizabeth never married- she did not want to give up her power to a man.Gender was considered more important than skill.The sister of Shakespeare who was imagined by Virginia woolf was an example of such case , In the story she (Judith)desired to become an actor but everyone in the society made fun of her and discourage her but the theatre manager took advantage of this weakness he cheated her by trapping her in his false love and the innocent girl couldn’t found that,now it was too late to identify the trap and which resulted in her pregnancy, all she was going through now was mental, emotional and social trauma which made her to take a wrong step that is to end her life by committing suicide .This incident help us to understand how man of that time only took woman for granted more or less as a ‘toy’ , whatever could be said to them ,and done to them no one took care and society In such acts they just keep silence,Woman were deprived to pursue their interest there was many instances even in the 19th century that woman writers were forced to use male pen names to hide their identity because women were not supposed to popular and were supposed to be working by using mail pen names their work gets someone else identity.As in the initial part of the answer we talked about a play i.e.” MERCHANT OF VENICE “where• Portia was the women protagonist and a clear representation of Shakespeare’s heroine where she had her agency to choose her husband and she had devised a kind of lottery for the purpose to choose her husband. Which gave potential suitors from all over the world the chance to choose among the three caskets and whoever chooses the right one is set to marry PortiaWhereas Elizabethan women for decades were not allowed to choose their life partner nor they could deny the choice of partner if they tried to do so they were badly beaten.•Her(Portia) famous “Quality of Mercy” speech is proof of her compassionate nature. She is well known for her quality of mercy speech given in the trial room. This speech depicts mercy as a sublime quality which is twice blest: it blesseth him that gives, and him that takes. Mercy, she says, is an attribute to God Himself.Although Portia is a woman with a powerful intellect and extraordinary powers of reasoning Whereas Elizabethan women were not having speech rights , forbidden from acting on public stages ,restrained from giving their opinions,less personal freedom as well as they were restricted from studying logic,law ,science etc.There lies the various differences between actual 16th-century women and Shakespeare heroines.
1)Cleopatra: She was the all-powerful queen of Egypt, everyone under her was loyal. She is the best in diplomacy and strikes personal relationships as a powerful diplomatic tool. She also demonstrated that she can speak as eloquently, intelligently, and on equal par with some of the greatest male figures in history: Julius Caesar, Marc Antony, and Octavius Caesar.On the other hand, Elizabethan age women had almost no individual identity and the mere adventure they would have done is marrying to a household in a distant land. The real women were uneducated and hence were unrepresented
2)Juliet: Her romantic story with Romeo is a worthy resemblance of what any modern urban romantic story would be like. The difference is the timeline. Juliet seems far more of a distinct identity, who somehow decided for her future, decisions, or even her love partner.While Elizabethan women were betrothed to any man at a young age that too as decided by her parents.
3) Viola: She is a bold girl. She goes on to disguise herself as a young man to find work, and charms a young woman, Olivia, with her frank wit and honesty, but even in disguise, she demonstrates the capacity for female fellowship. She Demonstrates how Shakespeare values mutual dependence in relationships between men and women.And obviously, the real Elizabethan era women had no part in any such mutual dependence concept. Women were only subject to social expectations of the household and childbearing, along with the prevalent right of men to beat their women.
Women of Revolutionary Movement in British India: Kalpana Dutta
Kalpana Dutta was born in 1913.
She joined the Bethune College in 1929 and around the same time she also joined Chatri Sangha.
In September of 1932, she joined the group of almost 65 people which also included Pritilata Waddedar. The group torched the European Club. But Kalpana was arrested one week prior to the attack on the European Club.
While she was imprisoned she came to know about Pritilata Waddedar’s death.
Soon she was released from jail. But in the May of 1933 she was arrested again in the Chittagoan Army Raid and sentenced to life. However she was released in 1939.
In 1940, she joined the Communist Party of India and kept engaging in revolutions against the British Raj.
She married a fellow communist leader Joshi in 1943.
Kalpana migrated to India and retired from active politics.
Women of Revolutionary Movement in British India: Bina Das
Bina Das(1911-1986) was an Indian revolutionary and nationalist from West Bengal.
She was a member of the Chatri Sangha revolutionary society, a semi-revolutionary organization for the women in Kolkata.
After 1928 session of the Congress, Bina joined a circle of revolutionaries whose leader was Bhupal Bose.
In 1932, she marked herself into history by attempting to shoot the Governor of Bengal, Stanley Jackson, in the Convocation Hall of the University of Calcutta, where she was to receive her degree. She was caught and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment.
After her early release in 1939, Das joined the Congress party.
In 1942, she participated in the Quit India movement and was imprisoned again till 1945.
Later she became the secretary of the South Kolkata Congress Committee.
She won the Padma Shri award in 1960 for her Social work.
Bina wrote two autobiographical accounts in Bengali: Shrinkhal Jhankar and Pitridhan.
Women of Revolutionary Movement in British India: Usha Mehta
Usha Mehta(1920-2000) was a Gandhian and freedom fighter of India.
At the age of 8 years she became an active member of the Indian freedom struggle with her first protest being against the Simon Commission in 1928.
She became even more actively involved when her family shifted to Mumbai in 1932 by distributing clandestine bulletins, publications and carrying messages to jailed leaders.
She was known for broadcasting the Congress Radio (an underground radio station), which functioned for a few months during the Quit India Movement of 1942.
The radio broadcasts recorded messages from Gandhi and other prominent leaders of the freedom movement. The messages were played across India by the Congress Radio.
The Congress Radio played an important role in the freedom struggle by spreading uncensored news and other information banned by the colonial authorities.
The British eventually found it and all the organizers including Usha were arrested. Usha was held in solitary confinement and offered incentives to betray the movement but she chose to remain silent. For this she was sentenced to four years imprisonment at Yerwada Jail in Pune. She was released in 1946.
Upon India’s independence, Usha Mehta actively spread Gandhian thought and philosophy.
She was conferred the Padma Vibhushan in 1998, second-highest civilian award of India.
Women of Revolutionary Movement in British India: Rani Gaidinliu
Rani Gaidinliu(1915-1993) was a Naga tribal and political leader who organized a rebellion to overthrow British from Manipur.
At the age of 13 she joined her cousin, Haipou Jadonang, who had led the Heraka Movement. This movement was for the revival of the Naga Tribal religion. She led this movement when she was 17, which resulted in her arrest. She was then sent for a fourteen year long imprisonment.
Her forces had started to engage in armed rebellion against the British in Cachar Hills(February 1932) and the Hangrum village(March 1932).
Known for the armed resistance against the British Raj, she was given the title “Rani of Nagas”.
In the vast spectrum of literature, women have bestowed eminently, despite earlier, being often left out of the said spectrum and forced to put on a veil of anonymity and nom de plumes.
Female authors have time and again braved all odds and given us some of the most cherished literary jewels of all time.
Today as female authors write and thrive we look at 5 of the some of the must read female authors of all time.
1. Jane Austen (1775-1817)
One of the most cherished authors of all time, Jane Austen was born December 16, 1775 at Steventon, Hampshire, England and published 4 novels during her lifetime, some of her other works were later published posthumously.
Pride and Prejudice is notably regarded as her best novel. Her other novels including Mansfield park, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, The Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are also extremely popular.
Austen’s novels are seen as a close representation of her own self, though not married Austen’s novels highlighted the themes of marriage, love , courting and the life of women with enticing wit.
she passed away at the age of 41 on July 18, 1817 and was buried in Winchester Cathedral. She left a legacy of great literature behind.
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey
2. Mary Shelly (1797-1851)
English novelist Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly was born August 30, 1797, in London, England and is best known for her horror novel “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus.” Married to poet Percy Bysshe Shelly, she was regarded as the mother of science fiction.
The main themes she highlighted in Frankenstein included nature, man’s quest for power and other intense emotions.
She wrote several other books, including Valperga (1823), The Last Man (1826), the autobiographical Lodore (1835) and the posthumously published Mathilde.
Shelley died of brain cancer on February 1, 1851, at age 53, in London, England. She was buried at St. Peter’s Church in Bournemouth.
“The very winds whispered in soothing accents, and maternal Nature bade me weep no more.”
3. Charlotte Bronte(1816-1855)
Charlotte Brontë was an English 19th-century novelist born on April 21, 1816, in Thornton, Yorkshire, England. Brontë published her first novel, Jane Eyre, in 1847 under the manly alias Currer Bell. She followed it with Shirley in 1848 and then Villette in 1853.
She highlighted themes like death, religion, grief, search for meaning and a sense of belonging.
She died during her pregnancy, on March 31, 1855, in Yorkshire, England.
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
4. Emily Bronte (1818-1848)
Emily Brontë famous author of the novel ‘Wuthering Heights’ was born on July 30, 1818, in Thornton, Yorkshire, England and was the sister of Charlotte and Anne Brontë.
Publishing under the alias Ellis Bell, Brontë published her defining work, Wuthering Heights, in December 1847.
Wuthering heights was weaved around the themes of family, revenge, betrayal, society and class and had a supernatural tinge to it as well.
She died of tuberculosis on December 19, 1848.
“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.”
Emily Jane Brontë , Wuthering Heights
5. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)
English author Virginia Woolf was born in an influential English household on January 25, 1882.
She wrote feminist centred classics like ‘Mrs. Dalloway’, ‘To the Lighthouse,’ as well as , ‘A Room of One’s Own’ and ‘Three Guineas’.
Her works explored the themes of flawed marriages, ambition, success, failure, children etc.
She suffered from constant bouts of depression and fell prey to it on March 28, 1941 when she committed suicide by drowning herself into the River Ouse.
“As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.”
On the 24th of July, 2021, history was made at the Tokyo International Forum. Saikhom Mirabai Chanu just won India her first medal in the ongoing 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the category of Weightlifting in Women’s 49 kg by claiming the silver medal and earning India it’s highest and second medal in weightlifting after Karnam Malleswari’s bronze medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Saikhom Mirabai Chanu was born on the 8th of August, 1994 at Nongpok Kakching. It is a village around 30 kms to the east of Imphal, the capital city of Manipur. She belongs to the Meitei, an ethnic group of people who are native of Manipur. Her family consists of her parents and five other siblings; three sisters and two brothers. Her father is a government employee contracted with the publics work department, while her mother sells samosas. Out of all their children, Mirabai was the only child who decided to pursue sports as a profession. Her athletic prowess came to light in her early childhood. According to her mother, a young Mirabai, then in class 6 had told her that she would one day play in the Khuman Lampak Stadium While Mirabai initially wanted to pursue archery, she was unable to do so due to her lack of height (Mirabai Chanu is 4”11). Her weightlifting prowess was known since her early childhood, as a twelve-year-old Mirabai had no difficulty in lifting and carrying weights which even her elder brother had difficulty in trying to pick up. This weightlifting prowess of her inspired her to take up the sport of weightlifting.
Mirabai’s first major win in her career as a weightlifter came in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. She competed in the Women’s 48 kg category and won the silver medal. While Mirabai qualified for and competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics, she was unsuccessful in her endeavor. However, she made a stunning comeback from that defeat the next year in the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships in the Women’s 48 kg category. She won two medals: Gold and Silver. Mirabai won Gold by lifting 109 kg in Clean and Jerk and Silver by lifting 85 kg in Snatch. Her total lifting of lifting 194 kg in total created a record.
In the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Mirabai won the first medal with a Gold medal by lifting a total of 196 kg; 110 kg in Clean and Jerk and 85 kg in Snatch. This set a new record for the Commonwealth Games in her weight category. In the 2019 World Weightlifting Championship, Mirabai set a new national record in Women’s 49 kg by lifting a total of 201 kg (87 kg Snatch and 114 kg Clean and Jerk). On the 17th of April 2021, at the 2020 Asian Weightlifting Championship, she set a new world record for Clean and Jerk by lifting 119 kg. She won a bronze medal here. By June 2021, she was second in the rankings for Women’s 49 kg and was the only Indian weightlifter who qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
On the 24th of July 2021, Mirabai won the Silver medal in the Women’s 49 kg category by lifting 202 kg and created history. She succeeded Karnam Malleswari as the second Indian woman weightlifter to win an Olympic medal. Mirabai holds the honor of winning the highest medal in the weightlifting category in the Olympics that India has ever won. She also set a new Olympic record in the Clean and Jerk category by lifting 115 kg.
Mirabai has stated that her triumph at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is a ‘dream come true’ for her.
Education is our birth right. Education is essential for every human being as it makes our lives better and worth living. Therefore schooling has become a norm and children at the age of 4 starts attending school. But in many areas of the country, still, if the child is a girl, then there are many hindrances to her access to education. The common perception is that the girls of the family will get married one day and would not contribute to the financial needs of the family. This is a disheartening picture and it is very essential to make people understand that education of women is a fundamental right just like men.
No society can progress without the contribution of women. Therefore women needs to be educated. Education is the first step to provide a woman the power to choose a life she wants to lead. An educated woman becomes aware of her rights and raise her voice against exploitation, discrimination or any form of injustice. The struggle to promote women education has begun long time back and even in the 21st century it is still continuing. When talking about women education in India, the mention of Savitribai Phule and her husband Jyotirao Phule has to be made who established India’s first school for girls in Pune in the year 1848.
Importance of Women Education
Self Reliance : An educated woman need not depend on a third person for her survival.
Elimination of crime against women : Education is a vital weapon in eliminating crimes and evils against women. Social customs such as dowry, female infanticides and other harmful practices can be eradicated through women education when the women of the country stand up together against such practices.
Woman empowerment : Education makes a woman aware of her rights and duties and enables them to respond to the challenges in a bold way.
Improvised standards of living : When a woman earns, she can utilize her money on her own and no other males would have a say on that. Women Education elevates the standard of living of the family.
Prevents social exclusion : Uneducated women or a girl child is likely to work as a domestic help or in extreme cases become a victim of flesh trade over the opposite gender and these women often get secluded in society.
Contribution to the welfare of society : Educated women gets themselves involved in developmental activities and work for the progress of the country. Women like Kalpana Chawla, Kiran Bedi, Mother Teresa, Mary Kom set a classic example.
Sadly, there are many barriers of Women Education in India.
Barriers of Women Education
1. Lack of consciousness among some women to be educated : Some women are not aware that education is important for them. This maybe because of the environment where they were born and brought up with the so called notion that she is supposed to be in the kitchen and not in school and women happens to believe that it is her fate.
2. Lack of safe transportation for school going girls : Due to lack of safe transportation to go to school, parents hesitate to send their daughters to school. Now this barrier is common for everyone whether it is a rural or urban area.
3. Financial constraints of the family : If the family of a woman cannot afford the education expense, they would pull her out of school. The education of the son is always given preference than the daughter.
4. Unwillingness of parents to send girl child to school : Some parents don’t want their daughters to attend schools and colleges. Some families still think that daughters are a burden and believe that the sooner they are married off, the better. Education never comes into the scenario in such cases.
5. Early marriage : Education of women is stopped when she gets married. Some families allow their daughter-in-law to continue their study after marriage but it is very rare. 10 out of 100 families do that. In most cases, when girls gets married early, their education stops then and there.
6. Conservative mentality : It is very sad to see people having low mentality towards women education. Some believe that if a girl is too educated, it would be difficult to search a groom for her. Also it is a well known fact that Indian families spend more money on a girl’s marriage than on her education. The married life of a woman is always given more importance than her career.
Women Education in India can be improved when
. We do not consider a girl to be a burden.
. People should stop thinking that cooking, laundry and other household activities are woman’s job.
. People should stop categorizing women as inferior.
. Encourage people to send their daughters to school without discrimination.
. Encourage people to not stop the education of a girl just because she got a great match and needs to get married.
Popular quotes on Women Education
“When women are educated, their country become stronger and more prosperous.” – Michelle Obama
” Young women who want education will not be stopped.” – Frieda Pinto
” To educate girls is to reduce poverty.” – Kofi Annan
Women Education contributes to the overall development and progress of our country. A society lacks behind if the women are not happy. Education is the master key to open the doors of development and it is high time for the society to acknowledge it.
Amongst covid-19 pandemic, 2021 budget has potential to increase women labor force participation up to 2 percent this year.
Nirmala Sitaraman, Minister of finance, the government of
India shared that budget 2021 has the potential to increase the employment of
women. COVID-19 pandemic had disproportionately impacted women
forcing them to drop out of the workforce. The women labor force participation according to the center comes down from 25 percent to 21 percent, due to job loss by women. Inurban India only 12 out of every 100 still employed are women, a shocking
statistic, down from the already low 18. No doubt the covid 19 pandemics have resulted in many challenges such as pay disparities and expensive child care is an economic downturn that hit women workers measurably harder than men. Whenever the economy shrinks people lose jobs, then look for another job but women aren’t sitting it out so much as being pushed out by disproportionate job loss,
lack of child care, pay disparities, and lack of public policy to support working women. women with children are much more likely to report that working from home has hurt their productivity and affected their careers .there are three drivers of increased women labor force participation 1.Jobs that exist in locations where the woman has family support.2) Contemporary and new skilling (like digital marketing, for instance) that allows for marketability3) A government mandate that enables small businesses to be rewarded for hiring more women. The allowance of women to work in all shifts is a move towards reducing the gender divide brought in by COVID-19. This will help industries such as IT and BPO in Special Economic Zone’s, manufacturing companies in sectors such as Textiles, Pharma- as well as large organizations with a national presence. The textile industry, one of India’s ancient industries that employ the largest numbers of women has received a big stimulus with the announcement of seven Textile Parks. The third aspect which would allow small businesses to be rewarded for hiring women has not seen any pull in any of the budgets presented in the few last years. Large organizations in metropolitan cities have already bought the business case for both genders that led to women’s employment being enhanced. It is the 2 and 3 level metropolitan citiesand towns that need the influence of involvement. And this is where there is alarge population of women – educated, career-seeking, and yet unable to earn
reasonable money due to the non-availability of jobs matching their aspirations. As per data, young women in the age group of 20-24 across urban locales, are more interested in being employed than similar-aged women in rural India. As such, this is a very important talent pool, waiting to be engaged. The BPO and micro-enterprises in these locations will require a stimulus to engage women more proactively. Had the budget addressed this, by providing a bit small, yet encouraging a sum of money to employers of women, India would have seen a jump in women’s job creation to almost double-digit increases, which will have a multiplier effect on the economy.
Trisha Das, a filmmaker and bestselling author, has just published Misters Kuru: A Return to Mahabharata (HarperCollins India priced Rs 350), her latest work of feminist mythological fiction.
Ms Draupadi Kuru: A Novel is a sequel to her book. After the Pandavas, the racy, sassy roller-coaster ride full of action, adventure, romance, and comedy is set in modern-day Kalyug in Delhi as a kind of continuation of the Mahabharata.
Das has previously written and directed over 40 documentaries in her filmmaking career, winning an Indian National Film Award (2005) and being named the International Artist of the Year at the UGA (2003).
She discusses the significance of reimagining and rewriting myths from a female viewpoint, her early influences from Indian mythology, and the use of humour in mythology.
The Kuru novels are a kind of sequel to the Mahabharat, rather than a retelling. Thousands of years after the conclusion of the original Mahabharata, the storey of Ms Draupadi Kuru picks up in modern times. Draupadi and her companions descend from heaven to Delhi. The Pandava brothers accompany their women to Delhi in The Misters Kuru.
When asked the question “How were you motivated to write a feminist retelling of the Mahabharata in a contemporary setting?” She replied saying, “My motivation was simple- I wanted to give these characters another shot at their lives, at reshaping their destinies. So many of them were forced into living lives they didn’t want to- being stripped of their kingdom, exiles, et cetera. I though it would be fun to see what kind of lives they would choose, given the choice.”
A mythological woman apparently only has power over men if she has a small waist and lotus eyes, or if she is their mother.
It’s a pain. Women are celebrated for their sacrifices or their appearance rather than their accomplishments. Any form of resistance to being punished or attempt at self-determination is severely punished, and women are constantly punished for their menfolk’s dumb decisions. Ask any attractive woman wanting to take a bath in the woods. Consent is practically non-existent.
She said once, “My maternal grandfather started my fascination with mythology as a young child. He was religious, but in an inclusive way, and he told the best stories from both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. I read various versions and interpretations of the Mahabharata growing up and, as an adult, delved into the Ganguli and Debroy translations, alternate versions like Bheel Mahabharata and mythological fiction. I used to watch the TV series every Sunday on Doordarshan and point out mistakes, which everyone in my house found thoroughly annoying.”
Feminism is a relatively new phenomenon, but female dominance has always existed in some form or another. Even when the official narrative did not endorse it, women have always been strong. They worked in the shadows or exercised influence by dressing up as men, being saints, or a thousand other ways to get around the machine. Feminists are now working to shift the narrative and modify- same result, different approach.
Hollowness: that I understand. I’m starting to believe that there isn’t anything you can do to fix it. The holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mold yourself through the gaps.
-Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train
This is for all the girls who have just experienced a breakup. I just want you to understand that it was not your fault, so stop blaming yourself.
Breakups can be a shambles. Breakups can be excruciating. People also use memes to mask their pain and turn it into a source of amusement. They are aware, however, that it will not be easy. The agony you’re experiencing is indescribable, and no one could possibly comprehend it. You’re stuck in a rut, unsure of what to do next. Is it time to move on or not? Was he going to return or not? Is it better if I call or if he calls? Is he going through the same thing I am right now?
All of these questions have the same answer: ‘It doesn’t matter.’
What matters is how you’re keeping things together. Is it fair to be so harsh on yourself? You weren’t solely to blame. Perhaps you should set aside some time for yourself. What if he doesn’t return? So, what’s the point? You’ve got your friends, family, and, most importantly, you’ve got yourself. “But I just want him,” I know you’re wondering right now. You don’t want him, that’s the truth. YOU DON’T WANT HIM, BELIEVE ME. He abandoned you in this mess. He said he wouldn’t, but he did anyway. He deceived you. It’s time for you to do the same. He walked away without looking back, and it’s time for you to do the same. It’s past time for you to forgive yourself.
This is just like the girl on the train. Rachel, who recently experienced a breakup, is unable to accept the harsh reality. She also believes Tom loves her and that he will return. Everyone assumes she’s just a drunk girl who’s lost her job and has a broken heart.
Is anybody a fan of suspense novels? If you answered yes, you should probably read this at least once. It’s not great, but it’s not horrible either. You won’t be able to figure out who the killer is.
Apart from that, there is a lot of lying in this storey. All is deceiving one another. Many secrets are kept locked in the recesses of their minds. Loved ones are kept in the dark about secrets. However, with all of the lying, I began to doubt the confidence. Who could be trusted by whom? Rachel had faith in Tom. Scott had faith in Rachel. Anna had faith in Tom. Megan had faith in Kamal Abdic. Despite this, they all ended up rejecting each other. Okay, well, Rachel trusted herself in the end.
That’s one of the things I loved about this book: she wanted to see the whole picture and trust her intuition over Tom’s words. This is a tale about three women who were once strong but had become vulnerable as a result of their circumstances. Don’t let it happen to you as well. Have faith in yourself. Fight for your own interests. Because you are the best, girl.
Am I a Puppet? Is not only an emotion but also a truth that each and every female keep asking themselves each single day. We could play outside when we were a child but once we grown up, we have to face a lot of domination from others. There are a lot of cruel people outside who can make our life like a hell. Crime against women have been steadily rising over the years. According to the latest NCRB report, 2019 saw over 4 lakhs reported cases of crime committed against women. NCRB reported 32,033 rape cases which translates to a shocking 88 rape cases a day – and this is just 10% of all crime against.
Emotion of a girl
I am the sky, I am the earth I am the moon and I am the sun Who are you to judge me all, Dammed I am the girl who endure the rape.
Why do I shut my mouth, Why do I be silent. I am not wrong he is the rapist, Why don’t you guys try to understand.
I have seen the dark room, I have felt the bad touch. A devil comes towards me, And always sells my self respect.
Don’t you dare to stop me Because I will not. Where were your so-called voice When I was being raped.
I have seen my bloody body, I have seen my torn clothes. The nailmark of the rapist, Still hurts me everywhere.
The mark of red on shoulders, The stitches on my chest. How can someone be so cruel? Am I a puppet?
Tell me, am I a puppet for you all? Or a doll with whom you wanna play, Use and throw me away. ? Dude, I am in pain, But i am not weak. I know there are so many stitches, But still I can fight. But still I can fight.
Dude, I am in pain, But i am not weak. I know there are so many stitches, But still I can fight. But still I can fight.
India’s female labour force participation (FLFP) rate is low and reducing consistently. National Sample survey (NSS) shows that between 1983 and 2011, India’s married women participation in labour force is declining even when the economy grew and fertility fell. Surprisingly, these trends are visible in high skill profession like senior officer, legislator and managers. Among engineers the female unemployment is five times more than men.
Reasons for low FLFP rate
High labour market barrier for socially and economically marginalized communities can increase the transmission of disadvantages across generation. Here we look at why participation of women labour force in economy is on a declining trend even when they have access to better education. These main reasons for decline in FLFP rate :
Women are being overlooked among the unemployed people. Majority of them are outside labour force but are willing to work.
Majority of women generally work in low paying or socially accepted jobs many of them are offshoots of domestic helps and childcare.
Women are still entrusted to look after household duties and families across the social status.
Existing skill and employment generation programme ignore the additional needs and constraint of women worker keeping them in disadvantage as compared to others.
Steps needed to be taken
Over the years both sate and central government have taken several steps to increase the participation of women in labour force so that they can contribute to the nation economy. In doing so they must undertake these policy reform
Strengthening existing policy
Both Central and State government use reservation as a policy to increase the representation of marginalized community in their workforce. Almost all states in India provide reservation to female child. Several survey has increased the SC / ST, OBC representation by around some percentage point. Its been observed that there is increase in female employment in education after operation blackboard reserve the post of teacher for women. These steps change the prejudice and bias against women. But these steps should be well monitor and well targeted.
Redesinging policy strategy
Recently, both states and central government has starting using the policy of Direct benefit transfer that is they are started transfering the social security amount direct beneficary bank account. The government should transfer the benefit amount directly to the bank account of women in the household as it leads to proper utilization of that amount.
Changing policy approach
Policy to increase FLFP and job creation can’t be viewed differently. This means that FLFP fails to create the level playing field for example job creation and skilling programmes often ignores safety, mobility, and other special needs of women which posses a big labour market barrier for women. Skilling and job creation programme should pay special attention to women needs and should break other entry barrier for women.
Influencing the private sector
Firms do not have incentive to support policy that benefit government and society at large. The great example is India’s recent maternity leave policy, where cost of leave is borne by private firms. This has led to low hiring or in some case no hiring of women in private firm which is just unacceptable.
The government should fund the cost of maternity leave to the firm especially for less education and women who hails from weaker and marginalized sector. Laying off women for just their biology it not unique to India this trends have been observed in all the countries around the world.
The way forward
Women need must be addressed and their participation must be increased not just in labour force but also in all sectors of the sectors. The dream transforming in to developed economy cannot be achieved if without the contribution of women. Not just government but private should come forward and implement gender parity and equal payment for equal work in their firms. Women contribution in society can be better understood by Gandhi quote : “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family (nation)”.
Menstruation marks the onset of adolescence in girls. A girl’s body undergoes several changes during this phase. Menarche or the first menstruation usually begins between the age of 11-15 years. It also embarks the beginning of maturity of the female reproductive organs. It is the phenomenon in which the lining of the uterus, resulting in bleeding from the vagina. Menstruation is a beautiful natural process in a woman’s life. Yet, many taboos still revolve around it. These are because of inaccurate, inadequate or incomplete knowledge about menstruation. It is always surrounded by secrecy and myths in many societies. Will we ever get over these taboos? Let us take a glance at the situation in India.
MYTHS RELATED TO MENSTRUATION
In India, taboos related to menstruation still prevail at a large scale. Even in 2020, girls aren’t allowed to talk about periods. They cannot mention it not only in front of males but in front of anyone. Most of the students get introduced to the phenomena of menstruation in class 8. The silence in the class and the disgust on the faces of students tells us a lot about the situation in our country.
Menstruation is still considered as dirty and impure. Cultural norms, parental influence, personal- preference and socio-economic pressures affect menstrual hygiene practices.
This social stigma is especially prominent in rural areas. Women are not permitted to engage in household works and not allowed to enter the kitchen. They are not allowed to pray and enter temples when on periods. In Hindu belief, it is always believed that a woman must be “purified” before returning to her daily chores. Some believe, consuming curd, tamarind and pickles will disturb the menstrual flow. Some even view it as a disease and isolate those undergoing it. Some girls even to believe that exercising during periods may result in excess bleeding. There seems to be no logic and scientific reasoning behind the same. In reality, doctors say that exercising may relieve bloating and cramps. It also releases serotonin, making one feel happy. These taboos have led girls to associate their bodies with a curse and impure.
IMPACT OF MENSTRUATION MYTHS ON A WOMAN’S LIFE
The prevalence of these taboos have affected women’s emotional and mental state. Not only this but it also affects their lifestyle and health. Over 23% of girls drop out of school when they begin menstruating, in India. The main reason behind this is lack of clean toilets in school and access to sanitary products. 71% are unaware of periods until they get it themselves. Parents rarely prepare their daughters for something is set to happen. This unpreparedness leads to anxiety and fear. According to a study, only 35% of women use sanitary pads in India. The rest are dependent on old rags, ash, mud, soil and leaves. From an early stage in life, girls learn to tolerate mental and physical pain. This makes it difficult for them to reach out to others for help during periods. These unhealthy menstruation practices have a direct impact on reproductive health. Further deteriorating their health in the long run.
POSSIBLE STRATEGIES TO COMBAT THESE MYTHS
First and foremost, educating the girls from the very beginning is very important. These taboos still exist mainly because of lack of education. Awareness needs to be raised not only among girls but each human being. Sanitary products are sold at prices that are not affordable to everyone. Low-cost sanitary pads can be made and sold locally, especially in rural and slum areas. The National Rural Health Mission aims to provide low-cost sanitary pads to 1.5 crore adolescent girls. This scheme is yet in its pilot phase and needs more implementation. Men also need to be made aware of menstruation. They need to be sensitive about these issues and help to combat the disbeliefs. It is important for them to understand it and support all the women in their lives. Health workers and Anganwadi workers should be sensitised and involved in spreading awareness. Arunachalam Muruganantham, the real Padman of India is one such person who challenged the stereotypes. He not only gave women the opportunity to become entrepreneurs but also helped change the social outlook. Women and girls need to understand that they have the power to procreate because of this virtue.
No girl or women should feel ashamed of bleeding every month. In the 21st century, where women are reaching new heights, they should not be pulled down because of this natural phenomenon. Today we talk about women empowerment but make women feel insecure about their bodies. Social media is accessible to almost everyone. This platform can help in raising awareness and showing support. It’s high time we stop judging and discriminating and start engaging in meaningful conversations about periods. Next time you hear the word “period”, don’t feel uncomfortable and talk about it openly. Starting to bring a change now will only help the generations to come.
Around 150,000 to 200,000 women during the Second World War were coerced, abducted and forced into being sex slaves for the Imperial Japanese Army. These women were lured in with promises of nurse jobs, waitresses, to work in an office or to work as an entertainer but there taken to military bases and kept in comfort stations. The reason for this brutal and inhumane legally sanctioned rape was to mitigate or to reduce the rape crime by the Japanese Imperial Army due to rising anti-Japanese sentiment. The rising anti-Japanese sentiment was due to incidents like the rape of Nanking. By forming comfort stations where women were ready to service the Japanese army men then they could confine rapes and abuse to the military stations and such atrocities would not reach international news. The first Comfort station was formed in Shanghai in 1932. The women working there were voluntary Japanese prostitutes or kidnapped Japanese women but later when the resources dried up in Japan, the army started to look beyond its country. Women from Japanese concessions and Japanese colonies were recruited. Women were falsely misled into thinking that they were about to get a job as a nurse or waitress or a simple office worker but were taken to Japanese military stations where they were made to learn a routine and were coerced into having sex multiple times with different people. Because of such inhumane conditions, most of the comfort women would contract sexually transmitted diseases. But the Japanese military doctors would carefully and regularly monitor comfort women to detect STDs and to stop it from reaching the troops.
The women were 80 per cent Koreans and the rest were Chinese / Filipina /Dutch/women who were abducted. Many such women were taken in and were raped 30 -40 times every day. Those who refused were beaten severely. Girls who were virgins while entering the stations were broken in or raped. So Tetsuo who was a medical physician in the Imperial Japanese Army wrote that comfort was referred to as female ammunition and was seen as things to be used rather than human beings. Comfort women were also forced to donate blood to save wounded soldiers. When a soldier would enter a comfort station, where photographs of comfort women were displayed and soldiers could choose from there. Women who got pregnant were forced to get abortions. Any human being with a little shred of humanity would know that this is wrong but this issue went unnoticed. Most comfort women were told and the theory that white men were cannibals were indoctrinated into them. When the Allied forces came close to capturing Japanese military stations, most of these women were forced to commit suicide or were killed by the soldiers. Many comfort women killed themselves as they didn’t want to be eaten by white men as this fact that white men were cannibals were drilled into them.
The Japanese military used the drug called salvarsan which was used to sterilize women; many condoms were given out for free to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Japan has issued apologies to the countries where it had forcefully taken women from. Prime Minister Shinto Abe stated in a newspaper interview that there was zero evidence that the Japanese army had used sex slaves but the fact that the Japanese government had admitted that they used brothels in a statement issued in 1993. But the country had issued an apology for the inhumane treatment of women and the deep psychological trauma that it had inflicted on the countries citizens.
Women are always judged and labelled as character less by her clothes or attire. The length of their clothes decide their character.
The character of a woman is being labelled by the people of the society. Whatever a women wears, she is being judged and are always surrounded by uncomfortable stares.
If a girl is wearing shorts, she is being called hot or available you can say. If a girl is wearing onepiece or a skirt, she is a slut. If a girl is wearing jeans, she is modern. If a girl is wearing a salwar kameez or chudidar, she is known as sanskaari. And if she is wearing a saree then she is called beautiful. At times the blouses also decides the character of a women. Backless, strapless blouses or modern blouses,etc.
A woman is always told to wear decent clothes by the family so as to protect themselves from being molested or eveteasing. Woman are always told to hide their bodies with their clothes. If you are revealing your body then you are making available yourself.
A women can’t wear whatever she wants. They always have the fear of getting touched by anyone or the stares that are passed at them which makes them uncomfortable. They are not allowed to wear the clothes they wish because of the devils that are disguised in the form of men.
Women have to compromise their wishes for these devils outside. Parents do now allow their daughters to wear clothes they want to in fear of something will happen to them.
Modern families do allow their daughters to wear anything they like but traditional families are not allowed to wear as per their choice. Still many women dreams of wearing clothes they always wanted to. And the ones who wear clothes as per their choices are judged by the people.
Judging a women by her clothes is totally incorrect. Why does she have to change herself for someone else? Why can’t a woman wear something of her own choice?
Why don’t we judge men for their clothes instead of judging women for their clothes? A man is allowed to wear anything they wish to as they are not stared or eveteased by anyone outside. They are not made uncomfortable. They are not labelled character less by their attires. Just because a woman has breasts and a figure that needs to be hidden right or else the society would not leave her alone.
If a woman’s cleavage is visible, all the eyes would be on her cleavage. If she is wearing something short that reveals her legs, all the eyes would be on her legs. If a woman is wearing backless, all the eyes would be on her back. If she is wearing a strapless top or a spaghetti then too she is being watched by every passer by. If she is wearing something bodyfit, all the eyes would scan them as if they are able to see from inside out. If she is wearing a saree and her waist is visible, still people wouldn’t miss that chance too.
Even if a slightest body part is revealed they will make sure that they would take the opportunity to watch it.
There is no freedom for women to wear whatever they want to and freely roam wherever they feel like. The judgemental society can never rest.
Instead of stopping womens to wear what they want to, stop the mens to think about women in such a way. Stop the mentality of men towards the women in the society. Stop judging women for their clothes and stop making labels in your minds.
If a man is made understood at their early stages that womens are not a show piece and have to be respected for what they wear then it could bring atleast small changes.
Remember, the second line in the pledge of our country. All indians are my brothers and sisters. This should be fitted in the minds of the male members of the society from their early childhood by their families so that they never judge a woman and treat them with respect as they would have treated their sisters. It is all in our hands. The way the mens are raised from the beginning they tend to be following that till the end.
The day men changes their mentality about women and her clothes would give each woman atleast some sort of relief.
Women have a right to wear whatever they want to. It is her choice. Stop judging them for their attires.
Either as your grandmother’s favourite piece of advice or through the perpetual barrage of fairness cream advertisements on television, if you’re an Indian, it’s hard to miss the magical myths of fair skin is everywhere. One such myth that I came upon, that struck a cord with me was that ‘fair skinned persons don’t lie’, which, needless to say is enough to reveal the fair-skin obsession that plagues the young minds of our society.
Consumer brand Hindustan Unilever announced on June 25 that it’s dropping the word ‘Fair’ from its popular skin-whitening cream brand ‘Fair & Lovely’ to achieve a ‘more inclusive vision of beauty’. However, it’s still a change that only goes skin deep as the change, by all accounts, remains at the level of branding. It was also announced that announced, the emphasis would be shifted from “fairness” to “glow”. But words such as “glow” and skin “brightening” have long been used by cosmetic products as more acceptable alternatives for treatments that aim to lighten skin tone.
Banning anything that goes against the norm seems to be the pitch of the season. The barrage of criticism against the way fairness creams are being promoted in the advertisement is the ‘height of creative low’. Instead of projecting a healthy thought, these ads seem to be promoting stereotypes and problematic beliefs such as fairness being a resume-worthy quality. The ads play big on the connect people have with skin fairness and the job they do. It is blatantly projected though the numerous ads where the girl gets rejected from an interview for the role of a flight attendant-fashion model-teacher. Armed with fairness cream, the renewed zeal of the woman gets her the job she aspired to do. How convenient! These ads must be banned for glorifying skin complexion as part of the resume. It also seems to convey very ambiguous messages. Are dark-skinned individuals the only consumers who use fairness creams? Even those born with the ‘quality’ use dollops of cream and expect to retain their fairness for ever. Despite this fact, the ads continue to project the creams as a Messiah for dark-skinned people. It breeds contempt among users and potential customers. The advertisements also seem to portray that the wonder creams have the ability to get you married or turn you into a star overnight!
However, at the end of the day, they exist because people buy them, and since there is a market for them…like all products or services. But yes, they do feed into the existing prejudice and preference against a darker complexion.
Products like these, make people ashamed of their originality. It’s a shallow concept and its propaganda is ignominious. Some people make a fair skin tone as the yardstick of a person’s success. A woman once hinted me that I am excelling in a lot of places because I am fair skinned. Thank you, fairness creams ads. The question isn’t about the fact that whether or not dark is beautiful. The question is about an individual’s dignity. Let’s not stoop this low to believe in the authenticity of such a biased idea of beauty. So, should the skin-whitening products be allowed to take such a significant place in our society?
I guess, the answer is pretty simple. We don’t need products which make people diffident and which make people shallow in their perseverance of beauty. At the end of the day, they are just devouring off our backward mind-set, insecurities and inferiority complex.
Dropping of fair in the name of a face cream is, thus, only symbolic. It does not change the social bias towards fairness specially for women. They’re just as problematic. Such changes may lend these products a glow of wokeness. But it only whitewashes the in-built prejudices that are yet to be challenged in any meaningful way.
In a country obsessed with fairness creams, people should be educated to find beauty beyond skin colour.
According to UNICEF records, 26% of the world’s female population is in the reproductive age yet menstruation or any other topic related to it is shamed and ostracized in many parts of the world. In India, only 12% of menstruators have any access to proper menstruation products and 88 % have zero to little access to any proper menstruation products. This is the most practical explanation of the term period of poverty. Period poverty is the lack of access to menstrual products and menstrual hygiene education due to financial constraints or cultural misconceptions about menstruation. Period poverty doesn’t stop at menstruation products but it also includes the safe waste disposal of menstrual products and clean washing facilities. In India, there is clear discrimination on menstruating women due to religious myths and taboos about periods. While talking about period poverty it is also important to acknowledge that all women do not menstruate and not all menstruators are women. Many women suffer from medical conditions which renders them unable to menstruate. Menstruation continues to be one of the main reasons why girls drop out of school in India. Lack of proper toilet facilities, lack of menstrual products, and the absence of education or awareness of menstruation and its hygiene practices are stated as the reasons as to why girls drop out of schools. India has exempted menstrual products is a good move but seeing that only 12% of the menstruating population has access to them.
LACK OF AWARENESS – The absence of logical awareness of periods is a major problem in India. A study by NGO Dasra in 2014 stated that 70 percent of mothers consider that menstruation as dirty and 71 of the girls had no awareness about menstruation before they experience it themselves. With no knowledge about periods or proper products to use, women and young girls resort to using rag clothes and old clothes which are unhygienic and have many physical health risks and UTIs. Schools were also not very helpful in raising awareness about periods because it is still considered as a taboo to speak about it. Schools usually refrain from talking about menstrual hygiene to their students. An average of 40 percent of girls misses out on school on account of menstruation due to no proper period products or washing facilities. Because talks about menstruation are shunned by society due to religious myths and taboos many girls refrain from talking about it or educating themselves about it.
LACK OF SANITARY PRODUCTS – Out of 355 million female populations in India, only 12 percent have access to menstrual products. Since in rural areas the concept of menstruation is hardly talked about, sanitary pads or tampons are not found easily. Because menstruation products are not considered essential products and the social stigma which causes the lack of demand shops in rural India do not have period products. Due to the lack of sanitary pads or napkins women use old cloths or rags or old socks and other methods to absorb period blood which is unhygienic and could put a women’s health at risk. Many problems related to unhygienic menstruation include cervical cancer, UTIs and anemia could be avoided with the use of proper period products.
GOVERNMENT SCHEMES FOR MENSTRUAL– The first such measure taken by the government of India was-Freeday Pad Scheme in 2010 to provide sanitary pads at low rates (RS.6 per pack) for rural girls, it was launched in 20 states. In 2011 the government launched the SABLA scheme which along with pads at subsidized rates it also provided girls education of menstrual health. In 2014, Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram was launched as a sanitation program for 243 million students and menstrual hygiene was a main part of the program. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan allocated funds to improve menstrual hygiene and raising awareness in rural India.
Conditions for menstruating women can only increase when menstruation is commonly conversed about and its social stigma is banished. India’s first option is to spread awareness about menstrual hygiene and its importance. Many of the problems that women face during menstruation can be avoided by using period products. Simultaneously with awareness, sanitary napkins must be made available to women in rural areas that encompass over 300 million women. By normalizing menstruation and by educating women and men about it will bring down the stigma about periods and will help reducing period poverty
Women empowerment refers to making women powerful to make them capable of deciding for themselves. Women have suffered a lot through the years at the hands of men. In earlier centuries, they were treated as almost non-existent. As if all the rights belonged to men even something as basic as voting. As the times evolved, women realized their power. There on began the revolution for women empowerment. As women were not allowed to make decisions for them, women empowerment came in like a breath of fresh air. It made them aware of their rights and how they must make their own place in society rather than depending on a man. It recognized the fact that things cannot simply work in someone’s favor because of their gender. However, we still have a long way to go when we talk about the reasons why we need it.
Almost every country, no matter how progressive has a history of ill-treating women. In other words, women from all over the world have been rebellious to reach the status they have today. While the western countries are still making progress, third world countries like India still lack behind in Women Empowerment.
In India, womenempowerment is needed more than ever. India is amongst the countries which are not safe for women. There are various reasons for this. Firstly, women in India are in danger of honor killings. Their family thinks its right to take their lives if they bring shame to the reputation of their legacy.
the education and freedom scenario is very regressive here. Women are not allowed to pursue higher education, they are married off early. The men are still dominating women in some regions like it’s the woman’s duty to work for him endlessly. They do not let them go out or have freedom of any kind.
In addition, domesticviolence is a major problem in India. The men beat up their wife and abuse them as they think women are their property. More so, because women are afraid to speak up. Similarly, the women who do actually work get paid less than their male counterparts. It is downright unfair and sexist to pay someone less for the same work because of their gender. Thus, we see how women empowerment is the need of the hour. We need to empower these women to speak up for themselves and never be a victim ofinjustice.
There are various ways in how one can empower women. The individuals and government must both come together to make it happen. Education for girls must be made compulsory so that women can become illiterate to make a life for themselves.
Women must be given equal opportunities in every field, irrespective of gender. Moreover, they must also be given equal pay. We can empower women by abolishing child marriage. Various programs must be held where they can be taught skills to fend for themselves in case they face financial crisis.
Most importantly, the shame of divorce and abuse must be thrown out of the window. Many women stay in abusive relationships because of the fear of society. Parents must teach their daughters it is okay to come home divorced rather than in a coffin.
A woman is chided by society for her loud and brash manner; background music meant to tug at one’s heartstrings accompanies the sermon they deliver about how her behaviour is unbecoming of a woman and causes everyone distress.
“You’re in love with someone?” her sister gasps. “I was under the impression that you are a good girl!”
Another ludicrous scenario that I can recall goes something like this.
The parsimonious mother-in-law taunts the beguile protagonist saying that she has no clue on how strenuous it is to operate a business and that it requires years and years of hard work and struggle. The protagonist retaliates to her mother-in-law’s call down by saying that anybody can be a doctor or an engineer, and it’s nothing to be proud of, and that she can accomplish the same if given 3 months of time, but what’s not any layman’s work is cooking a perfect kheer and she dares her to accomplish that. The episode ends with mother-in-law failing to accomplish the task and giving in to the daughter-in-law with a ‘victory soundtrack’ playing in the background resonating with the proud face of the protagonist.
Now you may ask, what’s so problematic about this? In a day and age, where hundreds if not thousands of girls are studying day and night and working their fingers to the bone just to be able to sustain themselves in the corporate world, the soap operas project that kitchen is the ultimate fate for a woman. Neither is getting into B-school is easy, nor is cooking a perfect meal. But just because your target audience mainly comprises of housewives, it doesn’t mean you’ll need to defame and demean the female workforce.
It’s really disheartening that despite being women-centric, most of the TV serials reinforce archaic beliefs about a woman’s modesty and her place in the household and in society. Maintain your dignity, keep your head down and endure the humiliation, for that is a testament to your strength of character, they seem to say. It’s generally achieved through stereotypical (and regressive) portrayal of saas-bahu relationships who are often pitted against one another just for the sake of it. Another way of doing it is through drawing a dichotomy between ‘an ideal woman’ and the ‘vamp’. The former is primarily seen in traditional attire, is respectful and performs all of her daughterly duties with precision. On the contrary, the vamp is often clad in pants or decked in heavy jewellery and make-up, has a domineering or outspoken nature, and is possibly unmarried (because who would tolerate her, right?).
So, who do you think comprises the majority of the viewer segment for these on-screen aberrations? Mostly the women-folk, specifically the elderly and the housewives and in a nation like ours we all know the sad truth of an women’s existence. Kitchen, marriage and babies, in most cases, are the holy trinity amongst which many a woman’s dreams and ambitions are snuffed out. Who are the staunchest implementers of oppressive practices on women? Women themselves! All in the name of ‘tradition’ and ‘culture’. For these women, these serials are providing a validation of their existence which otherwise is always limited to being the shadow of a male family member- Mr. X’ s wife or Mr. Y’s daughter or Mr. Z’ s mother but never an individual.
These serials with their mindless and baseless storylines make martyrs and Goddesses out of these brainless, one-dimensional female characters; glorifying submission and sacrifice to the point where rationale ceases to exist in totality. Add to it a dash of black magic and divine intervention and voila! You have just created the perfect potion to keep womenfolk tame and submissive and most importantly voiceless accompaniment to male demand and fantasy! I’m rather inclined to think of these serials as a well thought, well-crafted and well-executed strategy by a largely patriarchal powerhouse to keep women away from exerting their rights or voicing their ambition and dreams.
To conclude, these serials are basically a reflection of our societal mind-set at large and are meant to sustain that sick mind-set going forward. These storylines, intentionally or unintentionally, prevent women from being exposed to concepts of freedom and strength of character and determination, and as result women are simply reduced to an epitome of sacrifice and fragility who aren’t allowed rebel but always endure and adjust!
Indian soap operas, it’s a sincere request, please stop glorifying misery, mistaking stoicism for masochism, degrading the art of storytelling, and reinforcing gender roles on television.
I discovered “The Bold Type” after a draining day at school. I had just screwed up an exam and I was in desperate need for an escape. Now, a couple years and four seasons later, “The Bold Type” is still a source of constant comfort.
Whether it is professional or personal, there are plenty of life lessons that I picked up while watching the show.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO STAND UP FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN– Kat is one of the most outspoken characters on the web, she like the title is the embodiment of bold. Kat does not shy away from confrontation and believes in taking a firm stand. She is comfortable expressing herself, her opinions and her beliefs no matter what. Her strong stands even cost Kat her dream job , nevertheless she did not shy away from doing the right thing and curved a new path for herself to continue doing what she loves to do even when the conditions aren’t favourable enough.
FAILURE HAPPENS. THINGS DON’T WORK OUT SOMETIMES. MOVE ON– As someone who wants to prefect everything they do, this hits home. Failure is a part of life. Just because you failed at one thing doesn’t mean you’re bad at everything or that you can’t try again.
HAVING A SUPPORT GROUP IS IMPORTANT – Jane, Kat and Sutton support each other through thick and thin- Every bump in the road, every achievement, every rock bottom, every celebration. Get yourself a friends group that is there for you without any strings attached. Everything is a gazillion times better when you have a support group. Take it from me, 2020 would have been hell if it wasn’t for my girl gang.
IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE SURE ABOUT YOUR CAREER CHOICES– In the course of 4 seasons, Sutton went from a personal assistant to a fashion assistant to an aspiring designer to a stylist. She admits that she is undecided about her career choices but is willing to experiment what she desires to see what suits her best.
YOU HAVE TO START FROM SQUARE 1– Since the first episode of season 1, the girls knew where they wanted to be, personally and professionally, and they were on the way to achieve it. However in the latter seasons we discover that the they all started from the bottom: Sutton was a temp, Jane started as an intern and Kat worked for someone who was clueless about how to make hits on any social media platform. It was a great reminder that everyone has to start at the bottom.
BE INSPIRED BY STRONG WOMEN– Connecting with such strong female-empowering character leads in The Bold Type is so important for any viewer because it gives an insight into loving what you do, being more understanding, and realising that you don’t have to go through the tough times in life alone. Early on in the show, Kat starts explore her sexuality and discovers what it means to find yourself before giving it all to someone else. Jane is driven by what her heart tells her and she goes through numerous personal ups and downs and still finds a way to keep going. Having strong women around them as helped them overcome the obstacles they faced and to come to terms with what is going on in their lives.
Being bold can be terrifying but it’s great to have shows like ‘The Bold Type’ inspire us and help us put into perspective how we can be bolder and live our life on our terms.
A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education.
Sadly, in a country where 70% of reproductive diseases are caused by pitiable menstrual hygiene conditions, we’re still missing out on addressing the ‘period poverty’. Period poverty refers to the lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints. Lack of access to clean water, lack of toilets with doors, and difficulties disposing of used products are just some of the challenges that women face when trying to manage their periods in a private, safe and dignified manner. The inadequate access to menstrual products and education around hygiene had been a serious barrier in working towards menstrual equity. Period stigma is both a cause and consequence of gender inequality, cultural shame, internalized taboo and dogmatic religious practices that have made initiating a discourse on menstruation a catch-22. The most direct cause-cum-consequence of it is menstruation blood being strictly distinguished from other bodily fluids and being culturally portrayed as dirty, unclean and impure.
Another example of consequence of period stigma can be seen in the famous Ambubachi Mela which celebrates the menstrual time of Goddess Kamakhya where rice holds a huge significance denoted by dhan. However, it’s accompanied by the absurd myth is that when a menstruating woman touches the rice container in her household, then she and her family faces the wrath of Goddess Lakshmi. It is believed that the influx of dhan or wealth gets negatively affected in that particular household. Us, women, live a life of irony don’t we? While Ambubachi signifies fertility and celebrates the child bearing capabilities of women, the ground reality of menstruating women portray a different tale altogether.
It’s unfortunate that even though we’re living in today’s 21st century and everyone knows about it, no one is allowed to talk about it publicly. Films are being made on this, numerous campaigns are going on but the fact is that people still hesitate to utter this word in front of others looms large.
To add further to this paradoxical situation, sanitation facilities are unaffordable by most. Approximately 70 million people in India live in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 dollars per day. Hence for low-income households, the cost of sanitary pads is often unattainable. An average of more than 40% of students in India resort to missing school while menstruating as a consequence of social stigma, isolation, embarrassment and inaccessibility of products. The instances of avoiding school are also ramification for the lack of proper sanitation facilities across the country.
Government has intervened to tackle this issue several times, but to no avail. In fact, in 2017, the Indian government had labelled menstrual products as luxury goods, but fortunately enough, in July of 2018, the Indian government removed the tax, to make the sanitary products more accessible to everyone. Other than this there’s the Janaushadhi Suvidha scheme which aims to provide women with oxo-biodegradable sanitary napkins at a meagre cost of Rs. 2.50/pad across 3,600 Janaushadhi Kendras in the country.
The pandemic has made the situation even more challenging than it already was. It’s well known that the coronavirus outbreak is having a devastating impact on family finances all over the world, but now we see that girls and women are also facing widespread shortages and price hikes on period products, with the result that many are being forced to make do with whatever they can find to manage their period. This can pose a real threat to their health and may increase the risk of infection. Thus, is about time we realise that menstruation is just a biological process and the secrecy surrounding it must go. It is important to normalise and de-stigmatise menstruation, and destroy taboos around this natural process.
Right from the birth till death, we as ‘Women’s’ have to go through some or the other pain. Be it killing of a girl child after her birth, family abuses, menstrual pains,forceful marriages, domestic violences, molestations, pregnancy pains, emotional pains or sufferings, and many more. The list doesn’t stops.
Killing of a Girl born Child:
Women still have to go through a lot of things which they don’t talk about it openly. Although its illegal today, killing the girl child in the womb itself or right after the birth are not been practised from several years. But what about the days when such sins used to take place? It all started from there. Getting born as a girl child was earlier known as a sin. Thanks to the law and the changes in the mentality of the people that it has stopped now.
Family abuse or emotional torture:
Even after getting born as a girl child, some families still try to emotionally and at times physically abuse or torture them. Some orthodox families still compare their girls with the male members of their family. Some girls even today do not have the freedom to speak and even the rights to do something they wish to. Narrowminded people still follows a gender stereotype mentality that a women is made only for the kitchen and education and working or maybe chasing their dreams is worthless.
Yes, you read it right! There are people who still have such thinkings maybe not in cities but if you go and look around in the small districts or villages; such type of mentalites still do exist.
Educated or not, every women suffer during their menstrual days. Menstruation is normal still even today it is known as a taboo in ‘India’.Menstruation is associated with impurity in India.They are often kept out of communal cooking and eating places on days when they are menstruating, and are barred from entering temples. Menstruation comes with severe cramps, back pains, mood swings, and sometimes heavy bleeding. Women silently suffer the pains while menstruating. Working womens on their menstruation days never complained. However, now mandatory first two days of leaves have been issued by the law during the menstruation days which brings relief to the working women for atleast the first two days. Even while menstruating, a women does all her work, household chores,in that pain. Imagine working when you are bleeding for continous 5 to 7 days. Only womens can do that. She bleeds every month for 5 to 7 days and handles all the pain by herself.
Molestation or Harassments:
We do live in a democratic country. But yet ‘Womens’ are still not safe here. And its the fact. Even today, womens are not safe and to be honest I really don’t know when we would feel safe here.
Each and every girl or a women in the society has been through molestation or harrasments atleast once or twice or maybe more in her life. Sad but the truth. Some experience this through a family member while some experience this in their school. Some might experience in their college , some might in their classes. Work spaces, empty roads, bus stops, buses, trains, empty railway stations, restaurants, entertainment field, hospitals, etc. Where are the womens safe?
Actually, no where. Womens always live in the fear of getting molested or getting harassed by someone. Womens can never be relaxed if they are out of their houses. They have to be extra cautious and protect themselves from any happenings on their own. Womens everyday deals with the uncomfortable stares that are passed by mens to them. It is like a daily routine. Womens are not free and safe yet where they can openly roam anywhere and at anytime without having any fear.
Earlier, child marriages were been practiced in India. Today, the legal age of marrying for womens is above 18 years of age. Families who haven’t developed their minds force their daughters to get married as soon as they are above 18 years. Womens are forced to marry to strangers by their families and are led to suffer for lifelong. Forceful marriages are done where womens are emotionally blackmailed. Families stop their daughters education to just get her married. Womens are not only born for marriages. Today, Womens have created histories. But sadly, forceful marriages still takes place.
Womens do suffer domestic violences in silence without raising their voices or asking for help. Womens suffer domestic violences for their childrens if any. Due to the society, womens tolerate domestic violences and do not seek help. Few womens are afraid to take steps against their husbands. Womens who do not work are afraid to leave their husbands. The fear of being alone, the fear of raising their childrens alone, the fear of not accepted in the society, the fear of getting a ‘divorce tag’ all this makes a women to suffer domestic violences alone.
The biggest gift is to give birth to a child which womens are blessed with. The pregnancy phase every women deals with is unbelievable. A women while pregnant makes her whole body goes through drastic changes. A woman goes through frequent urination, dizziness, headaches, changes in breasts, fatigue, nausea, Her appetite changes, her moods, her body, and many more. The amount of pain while delivering a baby every women goes through is unimaginable. A women suffers all the pain for her baby.
Even after all this, Womens are not treated with the respect she deserves. Womens are made feel less superior than mens. Womens are compared every day with the mens of the society.
A woman compromises her dreams, her ambitions, her wishes, all for her family and still never complaints.
A woman has to face challenges at every aspects of her life be it through emotionally or physically. Women sufferings do not end. According to me, I listed out some of the common sufferings but it doesn’t ends here.
Till the death of a women, she has to go through something or the other. Womens are so powerful that they suffer in silence and still get up daily and fight back against the world. Womens pains are endless. Some choose to compromise with their life. Some get up and change their lives.
Trigger Warning: Mention of Rape and Sexual Assault
New Media has also changed the style of journalism, such as the rise of online journalism, where facts, information, and reports are produced and distributed through the internet. News in the New Media era is enabled to spread more widely and rapidly. News content is now enriched by lots of digital elements such as images, embed videos, comment box. These elements make the information presented becomes more attractive. One of the salient characters of online journalism is its dependency on speed in delivering information. When we talk about the emerging trends in media, we cannot afford to overlook the role of online media in changing the scenario in the context of women’s issues. The content that the online media produces reflects the pattern of value the society. The prevailing attitude of society gets revealed through the way subjects dealing with women are treated by the media (Arpita Sharma, 2012).
Media has the choice of acting as both, a protagonist and as a perpetrator-it can either reinforce the gender-based discrimination by portraying sensational and stereotypical images of women or it can provide balanced reportage that empowers women and not degrades them while exposing acts of gender-based violence. Rape cases and sexual assault cases are not a recent trend in the society but sensitive reportage and wide coverage by media while also bringing these issues forefront are relatively very new.
Gender-based violence or GBV is violence that is directed against a person because of their gender. Both women and men experience GBV but the majority of victims are women and girls. GBV and violence against women are terms that are synonymous as it is widely acknowledged that most gender-based violence is inflicted on women and girls, by men. The issue of GBV reaches every corner of the world. The numbers of women and girls affected by this problem are shocking. According to the World Health Organization’s data from 2013, one in every three women has been beaten, compelled into sex or are abused. One in five women is sexually abused as a child, according to a 2014 report.
In coverage of GVB, several stereotypes are often perpetuated by the new media. These include that rape is similar to sex, that the assailant is motivated by female lust, that the assailant is perverted, crazy or a monster, that the woman provokes rape or assault, and that only women are only victims. Scholars have found that these stereotypes and myths are pervasive in media coverage of rape and assault cases. Not only the language and the framing of the headlines but also the visuals used in the articles regarding GVB play an important role in the general perception of these issues.
In Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media (UNESCO, 2012), under Category B- Gender Portrayal In Media Content, B1.5- Strategic Objective 5 states the indicators for the coverage of gender-based violence. Three of them are-
Use of non-judgmental language, distinguishing between consensual sexual activity and criminal acts, and taking care not to blame the victim/survivor for the crime
2. Use of the term ‘survivor’ rather than ‘victim’ unless the violence-affected person uses the latter term or has not survived
3. Use of background information and statistics to present gender-based violence as a societal problem rather than as an individual, personal tragedy
Terms such as ‘victim’ or ‘survivor’ are often used to describe individuals who undergo these experiences. The term ‘victim’ reiterates feelings of helplessness and lack of female agency, while the term survivor connotes a sense of strength and resilience. However, the affected person should have a say in what to refer them as. The ‘victim’ terminology limits individual self-agency and identity. It is important to note that experiences of violence do not define the individual, but rather are a piece of a larger self-identity. Such labels focus on experiences of violence and presuppose an individual’s inability to change or undergo any personal development to transform their identity into a peaceful, empowered personality.
Images of sexual violence in the media often depicts women as covering their face, being silenced by looming hands, teary faces, large shadows near the woman, are some of the visual examples. These images not only fuel the stereotypes of women as helpless and weak, but also these images are also extremely triggering for the survivors of sexual assault and rape.
When media reports women who have been assaulted or raped as nothing but victims, society can disengage and fail to take the issue as a broader societal issue and fail to take responsibility for any individual or group action to change it. It is crucial then for journalists to report on GBV in an informed way and to have a good theoretical understanding of the roots of these gender based violence’s and what needs to change in society. Otherwise, they can do harm by perpetuating patriarchal stereotypes and falsehoods.
“Just a slap, but he can’t hit me” -This sentence not only reveals a dialogue of a film but also exposes the stark reality of different societies. Domestic violence is existing in almost every community in the world. The term can be classified on various grounds including some instances of violence against spouses, children or elders and transgenders. The various types of activities adopted by the attacker against the victim include physical abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse or deprivation, economic exploitation, abusive, taunting, etc. Domestic violence is not only a problem in developing or less developed countries, but it is also very prevalent in developed countries. Domestic violence is a reflection of our pseudo-civilized society.
Violence has no place in a civilized society. But the number of domestic violence cases reported each year underlines a worrying situation. In our country, people are being tortured behind closed doors. This shameful act of violence is also being done in rural areas, towns, cities and metros. Domestic violence across all social classes, gender, race and age groups is becoming a legacy from generation to generation. In this article, efforts will be made to find the causes of domestic violence, the impact on the society and children, and solutions to the problem.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence means any act that causes health, safety, life-threatening, economic loss and damage to a woman and child (child and girl under 18 years of age) and such damage that is unbearable and which causes grief and humiliation to the woman and child. All these are included in the scope of domestic violence.
Under the Domestic Violence Act, an aggrieved woman can prosecute any adult male, i.e can file a case against him.
Various forms of domestic violence in India
According to the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 in India, any women as a victim of domestic violence and children and girls below 18 years of age are protected. The various forms of domestic violence in India are as follows:
Domestic violence against women – giving physical pain to a woman – such as assault, pushing, stumbling, hitting something or physically hurting the woman in any other way, forcing the woman to look at pornography or pornographic images, Raping, abusing, humiliating, hurting a woman’s family and social reputation, humiliating a woman or girl, blaming her character, against her marriage will, threatening suicide, verbal abuse, etc. According to the United Nations Population Fund report, nearly two-thirds of married Indian women are victims of domestic violence and 70% of married women aged 15–49 in India are beaten, raped, or forcibly sexually abused.
Domestic Violence Against Men – There is no question on the fact that domestic violence against women is a serious and major problem, but domestic violence against men is also increasing gradually in India. The supremacy of men in society gives confidence that they are not vulnerable to domestic violence. Recently hundreds of men gathered in Chandigarh and Shimla, who sought protection and safety from domestic violence against their wives and other family members.
Domestic Violence Against Children – In our society, children and adolescents also face domestic violence. In fact, this form of violence is the second in the number of reported cases after violence against women. There is a lot of variation in the case of urban and rural areas and in the upper class and lower class families in India. It is treated as more personal in urban areas and is hidden within the fences.
Domestic Violence Against Elderly – This form of domestic violence refers to the violence against the elderly in the house committed by their children with other family members. This category of domestic violence is becoming highly sensitive in India. This includes beating up elders, asking them to do excessive household chores, not giving food etc. and keeping them separate from the rest of the family members.
Reasons for domestic violence
The main reason for domestic violence towards women is the senseless mindset that women are physically and emotionally weaker than men.
Including dissatisfaction with the received dowry, arguing with partner, refusing to make an intimate relationship, neglecting children, going out of the house at odd times without telling partner resulting in the barrage, oddities in the regular behaviour.
Indulging in extramarital affairs, not caring for in-laws, in some cases, sterility in women also lead to attacks on them by family members.
Reasons for domestic violence towards men include not following wives’ instructions, ‘insufficient men’s earnings, extramarital affairs, not helping in domestic activities’, not taking proper care of children, abusing husband and family, Sterility etc. of men.
Reasons for domestic violence with children may include disregarding parental advice and orders, poor performance in education or not being on par with other neighbourhood children, arguing with parents and other family members, etc.
The reasons for domestic violence with children in rural areas can include child labour, physical abuse or harassment for not following family traditions, forcing them to stay at home and not allowing them to go to school, etc.
In order to get money in poor families, there have been reports of parents selling body parts of retarded children. This incident shows the high level of cruelty and violence against children.
The main reasons for domestic violence against older people are the children hesitating to bear the expenses of the old parents. They torment their parents emotionally and beat them to get rid of them.
On various occasions, they are beaten up for acting against the wishes of family members. One of the most common reasons is the torture given to grab property.
Effects of domestic violence
If a person has faced domestic violence in his life, it is very difficult for him to come out of this fear. Negativity, gloom and apathy dominate the intuition of a person after he is perpetually a victim of domestic violence. It takes years for that person to return to the mainstream of a stable lifestyle.
The worst aspect of domestic violence is that the person suffering from it does not come back from the trauma. It is often seen in such cases that people either lose their mental balance or fall prey to depression.
This is the most dangerous and tragic situation of domestic violence that when the people whom we trust so much and live with -when they give us this kind of grief, the person loses faith in relationships and starts living solitarily. Many times people even commit suicide in this condition.
The most widespread effect of domestic violence is on children. CT scans show that children who have spent their lives in domestic violence shrink the corpus callosum and hippocampus part of their brain, affecting their learning, cognitive ability, and power of emotional regulation.
Children learn vicious and aggressive behaviour from their father. The effect of this can be seen in the violent acts of children towards other unstable and weak children and animals at times.
Girls learn cynical behaviour and often become submissive, silent or tend to run away from situations.
The quality of life of each person is adversely affected because the women who have been victims of violence take less part in various activities of social life.
According to the researchers, it is important to note that not all victims of domestic violence are aggressive. We can help them to get out of the mental turmoil of domestic violence by providing them with a better atmosphere.
India is still lagging behind in surveying, peering, understanding and trying to change the mindset of assailants. We are still largely ignoring the view propagated by experts that- “in order to end violence and discrimination against women and children in the true sense, we need to consider men not only as a reason for the problem but they’re also to be seen as an integral part of the solution to this.”
As a first step towards reform, it will be fundamental that men should be put in as a part of the scenario instead of putting it like “men against women”. It will be mandatory to promote the spirit of masculinity in a healthy way and get rid of old worn-out mould.
The Government has passed the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 from Parliament to protect women and children from domestic violence. To get the full benefit of all the provisions comprised in this law, it is important to understand who is the victim. If you are a woman and someone among relatives misbehaves with you, then you are suffering under this act.
India has become serious towards mental health by the Mental Health Act, 2017, but it needs to be made more effective. Policymakers need to develop mechanisms to provide benefits of professional mental health services to families recovering from domestic violence.
The government has launched schemes such as ‘One-Stop Centers’, which aim to facilitate and ensure their access to an integrated range of medical, legal and psychological services to help women who are victims of violence.
Vogue India launched a ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ campaign to spread awareness about violence against women, while the global human rights organization ‘Breakthrough’ launched a campaign against domestic violence. Both these campaigns were spectacular efforts made at the private level to deal with domestic violence against women.
If we really want to create an “India free from violence against women”, then the time has come that we, as a nation, should discuss this subject collectively. A good way could be to start a nationwide, sustained and prosperous social campaign.
Female foeticide is the practice of figuring out the foetus’ gender and heading for abortion if it is a girl. Though unacceptable, it continues to be practiced by many people. Besides this, some cultures practice female infanticide-the custom of killing the baby girl after she is born. This fact is highlighted by the research results of the 2001 census which show that for every 1000 men there are only 933 women in this country. In addition, data from the Census (2011) showed a significant reduction in the Child Sex Ratio (CSR), estimated as the number of girls per 1000 boys between 0 and 6 years of age, for an all-time low of 918 in 2011 compared to 976 in 1961.
This downward trend in the sex ratio means that we are not only depriving girls of human rights, we are also robbing them of their right to live. Over the latter months of last year, all the children born in a region in northern India were boys, a survey found, and stoking fears of rampant female feticide. Oppressive mentality and technology are to blame, experts say.
Uttarakhand is a Northern Indian Himalayan state. The erratic weather and hard terrain mean a tough life for the inhabitants of the area, numbering more than 10 million. Women in the state have predominantly been the economic backbone of their communities, earning money, running houses, collecting firewood and transporting water for thousands of metres every day. Historically, they have taken part in many social movements, including the popular tree-hugging or “chipko” movement in the 1970s, when women in the Chamoli district tied to trees to prevent large-scale deforestation.
In later years, women have been involved, among others, in a social movement against building the Tehri dam and hydroelectric power plant. Women in Uttarakhand, however, as in most parts of India, struggle from the low status they are granted in Indian society and culture.
India’s last census, carried out in 2011, showed that the child sex ratio of Uttarakhand (the number of girls per 1,000 boys) fell from 908 in 2001 to 890 ten years later. Recent figures were all the more disturbing. A government survey carried out recently in 132 villages in the state’s Uttarkashi district disclosed that none of the 216 children born over three months in those villages were girls. The problem is not confined solely to Uttarakhand, but it encompasses state borders. A son is regarded the upholder of the family name in Indian culture, which he passes on to his son, and so on.
The preponderance of this mindset in India means that women are seen as the submissive gender and must comply with the rules that society has set for them. Economic advancement and better physical infrastructure have not been able to change the mind-sets of people.
Data from the 2011 census show that relatively wealthy states such as Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and Maharashtra have a very poor child sex ratio, while some of the less developed regions such as Chhattisgarh and the northeastern states have a much stronger child sex ratio. India ranks fourth in the world, after Liechtenstein, China and Armenia, in terms of slanted birth sex ratios, according to data. There are 112 boys in the world’s second most populous nation, for every 100 girls.
In an official 2013 report, India’s health department found out that sound discrimination, neglect of the girl child resulting in higher mortality at younger age, female infanticide, and female foeticide were the primary reasons for the skewed sex ratio. The government passed legislation banning the use of ultrasound testing to ascertain the sex of a foetus and sex-selective abortions. Sociologists warn that skewed sex ratios can, over a period of time, lead to a deterioration of women’s rights in these cultures, and make them more vulnerable to sexual harassment.
Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of male as the primary authority is central. It refers to a system where men have authority over women, children and property. As an institution of male rule and privilege, patriarchy is dependent on female subordination. Historically, it has manifested itself in the social, legal, political, and economic institutions of different cultures. Literally meaning ‘rule of fathers’(Ferguson, 1048), the term ‘patriarchy’ was initially used to refer to autocratic rule by the male head of a family. However, in modem times, it more generally refers to social system in which power is primarily held by adult men.
Majority of religions have contributed their bit to perpetuate patriarchal norms. With such beliefs instilled into cultural mindset, women scarcely stand a chance of gaining strength in this male-dominated world. Patriarchy is also manifest in family traditions and gets reinforced through practices such as women adopting the surname of their husbands and children too carrying their father’s last name.
There is considerable ambiguity about the status of women in Indian society. Some sacred texts accord them an exalted status by stating that gods live where women are worshipped. In her various manifestations as Mother Goddess, namely Durga, Kali, Chandi, woman is believed to represent power or Shakti, and evoke both fear and reverence. She can protect and at the same time can also wreak vengeance. If pleased, she can fulfil every wish, but when annoyed, she can unleash unimaginable terror. Male gods at times find themselves helpless before her and cannot dare to intervene especially when she has decided to act as power incarnate. Most of her attributes are believed to be embedded in every woman. However, there is yet another profile of woman established by religious writings and folklore wherein she is believed to be fickle and fragile. She is represented as sensuous, tempting, given to falsehood, folly, greed, impurity, and also thoughtless action. She is also regarded as the root of all evil. It is because of her supposedly inconsistent character that she has to be kept under strict control. Being fragile, she needs protection at all stages of her life, for instance, in childhood by her father, in youth by her husband, and in old age, after the husband’s death, by her sons. As evident, these two images are contradictory.
The patrilineal Hindu society expects a woman to have certain virtues, chastity being one of them. Before marriage, a woman is not allowed to think of any man in sexual terms. Secondly, she has to be a devout wife—the notion of Pati-Parmeshwar or ‘husband as God’ reigning supreme in the popular mindset. Women observe several fasts to ensure that they get the same husband life after life. Such fasts also include prayers for the long life of the husband, so that the wife does not have to undergo the ‘sufferings’ of widowhood. The infertility of a woman is considered a curse as in patrilineal groups she is expected to produce a son to continue the patriarchal lineage.
Rammohan Roy stands out as the figure who took a firm stand against the practice of Sati. Sati was the custom through which a woman was condemned and pressurised by society to sacrifice her life by dying alongside her husband on his funeral pyre. Lata Mani in her book ‘Contentious Traditions- The Debate on Sati in Colonial India’, highlights that sati was not about whether the Vedic scriptures prescribed such self-immolation nor was it about the individual women’s wishes and desires. Rather, it was a part of the traditional behaviour that Indian women had internalised within themselves. Many of them saw it as an essential part of the ‘·’duty” expected from them as a good wife – to sacrifice her life in order that her husband could gain ultimate salvation.
According to Hindu mythology, the Manusmriti is the word of Brahma, and it is classified as the most authoritative statement on Dharma. Manusmriti is considered as the divine code of conduct. Laws of Manu insist that since women by their very nature are disloyal they should be made dependent on men. The husband should be constantly worshipped as a God, which symbolized that man is a lord, master, owner, or provider and women were the subordinates. It legitimizes that a woman should never be made independent, as a daughter she should be under the surveillance of her father, as a wife of her husband and as a widow of her son (Chakravarti, 2006). While defending Manusmiriti, apologists often quote the verse: “yatr naryasto pojyantay, ramantay tatr devta” that is “where women are provided place of honor, gods are pleased and reside there in that household”, but they deliberately forget the verses that are full of prejudice and hatred against women.
These texts justify a woman’s inferior status in society. Each of these verses shows how the Brahmanical ideology reduces the character of a woman to the number of sexual partners she has, and her purpose as child-bearers. The obsession with knowing the lineage of offspring, virginity and the narrow definition of character led to the imposition of restrictions on women and artificially stunted their status. And much of this continues till today.
We celebrate Dussehra to mark the victory of ‘Good over Evil’, Navratri in the honour of nine Goddesses, Durga’s victory over the buffalo demon and worshiping Lakshmi on Diwali, we are decked up in festivities and celebrations. But do we really celebrate them? To find the answer to that question, you need to look no further than mythology and religious scriptures. It’s a clear indicator of what the fabric of society, its structure and norms would be like.
The implementation of patriarchal norms and values depend to a great extent on the strength and weakness of control mechanisms. For instance, articulation of patriarchal values and the prescription of norms through religious texts command natural observance. At times, family honour is protected by wife-beating. It is all too visible in the lower classes, but also persists in upper strata of society. Even after six decades of independence, one frequently reads of bride burning and dowry deaths. Other forms of violence are: heaping indignities on the wife and her relations by the in-laws, making her do physical work beyond her capacity, failing to provide her adequate nutrition, and even torturing her mentally on several pretexts. Even highly educated and well-placed women are amenable to such maltreatment.