International Women’s Day is of great significance because it provides an occasion or an opportunity for women to look back retrospectively as well as plan ahead for the future.
‘Indira Gandhi, the ‘Margaret Thatcher’ of India, is one of the most powerful Indian women in the country’s history. There is a list of powerful and emancipated Indian women like Indira Gandhi, such as Sarojni Naidu, a devoted participant of India’s freedom struggle alongside Mahatma Gandhi; Kiran Bedi, India’s first women who joined Indian Police Service in 1972 as a highest ranking officer and is famous for her tough and innovative police strategies; Indira Nooyi, chairwoman and CEO of PepsiCo is Indian-born leading business women in corporate America; internationally acclaimed actress and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai Bachchan; and many more.
But, for the common woman in India, generally the society places her in an endless cycle of duties as a mother, wife, and daughter, which obliterates her identity as well as restrains her activity within the society. Because India is diverse and vast, women’s status depends on their position within the stratified society. For example, the status of an upper middle class woman in the metropolitan cities is far better than the women in the remote towns and cities, who are still following the traditional ‘feudal’ lifestyle of the 18th century.’ (source: Nidhi Shrivastava, Honors Scholar thesis, University of Connecticut, USA)
Recently, I was in a vibrant discussion with Dr Rachna Sharma, a PhD qualified faculty in Organizational Behavior at the IBS Business School, located at Powai, Mumbai. We discussed on various issues related to student-career aspirations, individual employ-ability and the importance of the external factors that have significant impact on student’s performance. Besides this, gender equality and the importance of Indian society in emancipation of women was also discussed. I expressed that women in India have to still carve out their own identity and refrain from aping the men thereby losing their gender based strengths and advantages. And she agreed with me and expressed her hope that this paradigm shift will happen soon in India in the coming years like it has already happened in the developed world (USA/ Europe).
Women in India need to think on their own and make their own life decisions, irrespective of their emotional bonding with their parents, husband and/ or child ( or children). I would call this ‘required’ action as exercising the ‘internal locus of control’ keeping one’s personal requirements and responsibilities in mind. It has been proven beyond doubt that the contribution from both gender is definitely required for the overall progress of any unit family, or a society or community or the country as a whole they belong to and reside in. Altruism and selfishness are both required individual traits for ensuring the success of any human habitation, society or Industry ( as expressed by the famed idealist novel writer Ayn Rand).
Women should prioritize their daily duties and requirements, seeking reversal of gender roles as and when required. Unless this is done, a working woman will be over-stressed and may feel let down by her husband or in addition, even by other members of the family (like it is in case of a joint family system)! This ‘reversal of gender roles’ is already happening in educated urban society homes though not in totality. In many urban society homes, women are expected to take up multi-tasking and ‘forcibly’ adhere to dual responsibility of home-making and career building. This is not right at all. It is like burning the candle at both the ends and it will be self-defeating as the candle will not survive to exist long and I fear that such ‘indifferent’ husbands will be left alone during their old age, with no one to take care of them. Reversal of gender roles should be practiced wherever possible in the light of long term interest and individual independence or gender inter-dependence.
Clarity of mind and individual responsibility to arrive at gender equality should persist in long term – to aid mutual progress of both gender.
– Gender Inequality Index in India
– Men in the Metro towns.. a case of gender blender
– It is not a Woman’s world as yet
– Arrival of She brats..resulting in broken homes
– Rajya Sabha clears women’s reservation bill, will Lok Sabha too ?