It is Costly to be a Woman: A Thought


It is not a new thing to hear loud cries protesting against gender inequality, and discrimination. I would not like to dwell on any particular case or quote glaring worrisome numbers here as I am in no didactic mood.

Myriad ideas strike my mind as I pen down this article. While listening to a conversation during a panel discussion on female foeticide, an innovative idea comes across ‘It is costly to be a woman!”

This statement is affirmed with huge reverence as it strikes the root of all women issues around. A woman has to don different roles at different stages. The expectations are colossal. Right from the shoes of timid daughter, to obedient adolescent girl, to faithful wife, to meticulous professional, to caring grand mother, a woman has to strive to be all.

She is dubbed as wicked, base, immoral, sinful, vile (add many more, if you wish, as atrocities against her do not cease) if she tries to do away with the status- quo which breeds an inferior place for her.

While glancing at frightening facts, across reams in the media, which speak volumes about gender inequality lin the form of female foeticide, persistence of dowry, inadequate representation to women in jobs and government, violence in multifarious form ranging from domestic to psychological. There is no scope for a blame game here. The constructivist turn, that the ‘world is a creation of our ideas’, thus we have been perceiving the world the way a dominant idea portrays it: women as feeble, weak, incapable, thus marks inequality. Aristotle held that inequality would lead to a revolution, so let us begin. The society treated us unequally, we will ask for a change, not in a destitute manner of letting society convey equal status on us, but with a new thought ‘it is costly to be a woman!’

Our gender needs cannot be looked after by men folk. Holism strikes here, our world as an entity, has priority over its elements. It is a deontological ethic which asks us to be good, to do what is right, irrespective of what comes to us at the end. What we need to do away with, is what Sartre termed as, ‘Mauvaise Foi’, a self deception in which one attempts to evade one’s freedom by denying one’s being-for-itself in favor of the being-in-itself of an object. It can be simply put as ‘sui generis’, literally of its own kind , unique.

We need to get out of solipsism, whose most glaring example ironically is, not speaking out against the atrocities committed on you because you are woman. Let us begin by highlighting the way society has ill-treated us, in spite of our great contributions in sustaining the society. We have made way for stability in society, polity, economy by being good daughters, mothers, wives, sisters and alst but certainly not the least professionals. This altruism will continue, just because the cost of woman cannot be borne does not mean nihilism form our side. The inherent values of care, regard, warmth, tenderness, affection are too exorbitant to ask from a gendered society.

Amna Mirza