Friday, March 07, 2014

International Women's Celebrations on Gender Equality, Equal Opportunity and Women Empowerment.

Invited to speak at British Council on International Women's Celebrations  on Gender Equality, Equal Opportunity and Women Empowerment. 
Here are my thoughts as they came. 

First and foremost:
Indian women basically are hugely handicapped in the following ways! In gender equality, equal opportunity and empowerment. 
1----The way they are groomed. 
It's highly unequal. And that is when the seeds of insecurity and inequality are sown in the minds of young girls. ( I am not talking of the privileged girls who had parents like mine, rich or not, educated or not, rural or urban)  
India's patriarchal society limits the role of a man. He is groomed to be the provider and get served! And the girl to grow up to be a dependent service provider with or without love! 
2---The media projection of women has reinforced a weak image in the minds of people. Woman , weak, attractive, alluring for entertainment. The item songs are devastating. Sadly they are money spinners for singers as well as producers! But highly damaging for weak minds. 
3---on expectations.---Are different from men and different from women. Men as providers and women as primary care givers! This perception is still the same! 
4---our culture---all our rituals, ceremonies, religious practices have women as receivers! Not givers! 
5---opportunities---are highly unequal between sons and daughters. By which the girl gets left far behind. 
6---our governance is highly opaque! It's also too crowded. One needs muscle power to get its service.  Also suffers from lack of coordination. 
7----our politicians ---themselves need to be protected from. They come from old mindsets. 
8----absence of security  systems. The widow, the old, the sick, the lonely. She is once agains dependent on her son and daughter in law!
The country has a budget for the marginalized. Has corpus, the laws, policies, announcements, helplines, scholarships----but not the mindset! Which is the key! 
Unless we have a near revolution of change of mindset beginning with homes, schools, and governance Indian woman will be still decades away from holistic empowerment. 
** wish to say there are very many exceptions to my perceptions. And may their tribe increase! And good new is it is. But the scale of the population in need of change is 1.2 billion only! And counting!