Mehak Gupta Grover
Section 15 of the constitution of India prohibits the state from discriminating any citizen on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. Still gender based discrimination against female is pervasive across the world. Discrimination is a treatment or making a distinction in favour of or against, a person based on the group, class, or category to which the person is perceived to belong.
This is the 21st century. Still, the fight for equality is mulling upon us. ‘Gender equality is still the unfinished business of this century.’ Social and legal discrimination against women remains a major obstacle to economic development in emerging and developing countries. Certain forms of discrimination against women remain widespread.
The literacy rate among women is only 65 percent as compared to 82 percent among men. This is because women are deprived of an equal access to education as males in the society. Proportion of women in highly paid jobs is very small. Women are exploited and harassed at the work place. It is the obstacle women face in the workplace- not a lack of ambition that leads women opt out or lose interest in advancement. Why these obstacles don’t hinder the males in the society? The preference of male child over female child has always been a sensitive issue leading to abortions. But, I ask, where are girls lacking behind? They are doing extremely well in every sphere. Why inheritance becomes an issue? Despite the fact that women in developing countries provide nearly 70 percent of the agricultural labour, they continue to account for over 60 percent of world’s hunger. Rural women are backbone of their communities. They work in the land and support their families, ensure food security for their communities and feed their nation. However, they fare much worse than rural men. This level of inequality is significant in a world where rural women make up over a quarter of the world population.
Birth is given to everyone by Almighty;
Then why some are good, some are bad,
Some criticise on colour, some on gender,
And some kill one another.
Alas, things don’t change!
Does God teach all this?
Social and legal discrimination against women remains a major obstacle to economic development in emerging and developing countries. Gender equality is not a woman’s issue. It is a human issue. It affects us all.
In words of Bill Gates- “Discrimination has a lot of layers that make it tough for minorities to get a leg up”.
The time is now.. If we cannot do it now, it can never happen. Empowering women to reach their full potential means respecting women’s rights and dignity as human beings.
Law matters! With effective implementation and enforcement, good laws can nudge forward positive changes in social and cultural mores. In many countries, the law gives husbands the right to prohibit their wives from working outside the home. And it’s not just about the workplace, they even face extra documentation hurdles when trying to get a national identity card. No identification proof means no chance of getting a bank loan to start or expand a business. The widows live a more pathetic life as they don’t receive the state’s welfare intended for them. Certain forms of discriminations against women remain widespread. Around half of women in some countries still believe domestic violence is justified. Over half of girls get married between 15- 18 years of age. Such an environment is a massive obstacle for women to get an education and to contribute their well being.
Still, trivial progress is coming up in one form or the other. In a country that has always been overshadowed by repeated discussions and demarcation on caste and religion, the students in Kerala set a precedence. At the time of admission, a record number of 1.24 lakh students have left religion and caste column blank while seeking admissions. This shows secular credentials of our society. This clearly shows that Nothing can stop you: A clear conscience is the key.
Women have been fighting for equal rights for generations- for the right to vote, the right to control our bodies and right to equality in the workplace. Still, we have a long way to go. We need to change our perspective- the way we look at the things. Let’s lift each other up to become the law makers. The message has to be loud and clear- we are strong, we are self-sufficing, we can do much better in all fields, we are multitaskers, we are the future! Women have started creating the world they want to live in- not only changing the world but also changing the way world looks at us. Stop asking for things to change, let’s make the change ourselves.
This is uplifting the exploited one. Men and women- Stop underestimating each other. Hold hands and work together for a better tomorrow.
Mehak Gupta Grover