“These women are taking over our jobs!”
How many men do you know that share this notion? I can list down at least a dozen people who believe that they are victims of reverse discrimination. These men believe that ‘feminism’ is a tool that women use to have an unfair advantage over them. However, if you ask a gender-neutral person, he would inform you that the most suspect word in the sentence “These women are taking over our jobs!” is ‘our’. These chauvinist men are so used to having an advantage that they believe they are entitled for it. Even equality seems like oppression then.
In such a situation can we have a country without gender issues?
Women empowerment in India: Out of 142 countries, India is at a paltry 127 on gender inequality index. That means we have miles to reach on the women empowerment front. We live in a patriarchal society plagued with issues such as dowry, domestic abuse, female feticide, rape, and much more.
In our patriarchal society, the question that needs to be asked is whether gender equality concerns only women. You would be surprised to know that women empowerment works for both genders.
Feminism for Men: Instead of considering gender equality as an issue that involves only women. Men need to understand that a gender equal society is better for them as well. Only women empowerment can set the men free in the true sense. A free man is after all the one who can give up on his job anytime he wants. Can you expect that from a man who is the sole breadwinner of his family? Gender inequality adds additional pressure and stress on men. If rather than merely pitching in or helping out, men share household and childcare responsibilities they are more likely to be happier, free from vices, and share better relationships with their wives. Hence, it is obvious that women empowerment works for both genders.
Can you imagine a workplace without women?
Gender equality in the workplace: Discrimination against women at the workplace leads to an extremely negative office environment. Women also provide a different perspective in meetings that the company would miss out if they hired only men. An organization that understands women’s rights and has an equal number of men and women employees faces a lower rate of attrition and a greater productivity rate.
Can we raise a generation that resists discrimination against women?
Imbibing gender equality in children: Children who are raised by parents who believe in gender equality have a better chance of respecting women than those who have seen their father disrespecting their mother. They are also more likely to give equal importance to both household work and their career. Children raised by parents sharing responsibilities are more empathetic, responsible and independent.
It is clear that women empowerment and gender equality are broader issues that encompass not only women but men, children, and the entire nation. A gender equal nation is beneficial for all of us and hence everyone should strive to achieve it.
Therefore, on 8th March 2016, let’s celebrate International Women’s day by pledging to treat both women and men equally and making India a happier place to live in.