Gender Bias

“The test for whether or not you can hold a job should not be the arrangement of your chromosomes”.-Bella Abzug

How much ever true this may sound, it is miles away from reality, where a completely different picture has been painted. Since time immemorial a woman has been suppressed, subdued and has fallen prey to the atrocities inflicted upon her by the so-called “stronger” sex. She is a daughter, a sister, a wife and most importantly, a mother; a life-giver, yet she has never received the respect she deserves. Even today, in this modern age of changing mindsets, where we base our thoughts on the ideals of equality and justice, a woman lives a subjugated life. Every new dawn in her life brings with itself a new struggle, a new challenge- a battle for dignity, respect, recognition and equal treatment, a battle for existence.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 envisages the rights of equality for all, and the concept of non-discrimination of any kind, under Articles 1, 2, 6 and 7. Similar principles are enshrined in the Constitution of India, under Articles 14 -18. Article 21 of the Constitution of India guarantees to every person the right to live with human dignity and liberty. However, in actuality, these principles have become a farce. Though we talk of equality between both sexes, of an egalitarian and progressive society, yet, these ideas remain mere words and we fail to appreciate them in their true spirit. Will we ever be able to call ourselves a developed nation, in every sense of the term? There shall never be a true democracy until every responsible and law-abiding adult in it, without regard to race, sex, color or creed is empowered to be able to project his or her own inalienable voice.
Why? Why is it that we, as a society – if we even have a right to call ourselves one, beneath our supposed ideals of our love for the mother, respect for the lady and bother about honor – are so utterly incompetent, powerless, weak (unmanly, anyone?) in reality about the right of the woman? Why is it that the Indian, man or woman, does not feel suffocated, and chooses instead to ignore the steadily burgeoning albatross around our necks? How is it that a simple question- are women as equal as men- has to be answered with much elaboration and discussion, in defensive and patronizing tones? “No, it is a process, Getting better, on the way, just wait a while, you know how these long-term things are.”

Are we naïve enough to befool ourselves into thinking that we can shroud the black clouds of injustice under our cloaks of will-happen and plans-are-there? And are we to turn a blind eye again to the suffering lady, accustomed as we are to seeing her suffer in silence, and return to nursing our bruised, blackened consciences? And when will we be real beings, with wisdom worthy of the human spirit; only then, in all humility and with an apology on our lips can we give the woman her inalienable rights of life, freedom and dignity?

Vartika Jain

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