Women in the 21st century – Are they really Free?

A woman is the creator, a messenger of God, an example of tolerance, integrity and benevolence. She was, and shall always be an embodiment of love and compassion. Since ancient times the women race has always been dominated by the society especially the male members. Her existence itself is questionable. The question here is – does she deserve all the treatment the society has given her?

The Indian society was and is full of male chauvinists who disgrace women and are not ready to accept their independent existence. Although it may sound very clichéd, women have always fallen prey to exploitation of all sorts. Here I don’t want to sound like the typical abala stri that we have been talking about, but the current state of women in the 21st century. And by women I mean the entire women race-rural or urban married or not, rich or poor, earning or not. The modern world today is proud of treating women as equals by giving them constitutionally equal rights. But the execution part is something that we as Indian citizens should be ashamed of talking about.

Let us put it in a simple way. Ever since a girl is in the mother’s womb, she is unwanted to the male dominated families who want a son who could take their name ahead. Now whether he does or not is a question ignored. The other day a shocking story in Tamil Nadu is an eye opener-“Lakshmi a 17 year old girl from Tamil Nadu is married to a 35 year old man. Her in laws harassed her for the dowry that her poor father could not afford to give. Lakshmi was pregnant at the age of 17 (early pregnancy) leading to a miscarriage the first time. During her 2nd conception she gave birth to a girl. Being scared of her in laws she killed the child after birth by giving her a mixture of oleander shrub and castor oil. And the baby bled from her nose and died. Such Lakshmis are hundreds. This story alone is sufficient to highlight so many grave issues today’s women face – dowry, harassment, inadequate prenatal and postnatal care, women feticide and infanticide…
This is typically about rural women but today’s modern working women are not any exceptions.The only thing that differs is the nature of exploitation. Take Noida for instance. Statistics say that this city in the capital has the highest rape and women abuse cases. We are not safe when we commute, we cannot roam freely on the streets. Why are we so vulnerable? Psychologically the strongest race and intellectually sounder and calmer than men what is it that we lack? The answer is we lack awareness.

Remember a dialogue from ‘A Wednesday’where the protagonist says “hum log easily har cheez se used to ho jate hai”. Today a girl is raped we are sorry, there is a dowry death we pay condolences. But it’s quite temporary. Smaller things on the women’s part pay a great role in achieving her own security. The next time a man touches us on the foot over bridge slap him, complain against your boss who may be asking for some personal favors for a meager salary raise, against your own husband stopping you from working. Only then can we really have many jhasis and Teresas.

Ankita Bhatkhande

Image Source: [http://ww1.prweb.com/prfiles/2007/03/28/515248/womanpowerhighresolution.jpg]