Doesn’t matter which Country you live in.
Race, Religion, Wealth doesn’t either.
It is Everywhere. Its happened to All of us.
The quest for equal pay; merit-based selection for jobs. Choosing when to get married; whom to have or not have a sexual relationship with; to have the liberty of pursuing dreams. Breaking the glass ceiling; fighting for education, fair winning an election or getting nominated for a committee. The list is long and doesn’t end here! Breathing free and fearless; living a life without abuse. Choice of having a baby or an abortion; ownership and privacy of your body. Seen it happen to a friend? Self – Experienced it?
Women living around the world continue to struggle, for what ought to be a given – To be recognised as a dignified human being, deserving of respect.
This isn’t another article by a feminist on women issues. It is much more than that. It is an acknowledgment of the fact that countless women across the world are treated in an undignified manner.
In some Form, in some Place, by Somebody – Every Day.
Students know, through the study of biology that the human population cannot grow without women; no one can deny, that the daily functioning of our society would cripple without the active participation of “the fairer sex”. Yet living in the modern 21st century surrounded by mind-boggling inventions, astonishing accomplishments and path breaking discoveries – we continue to witness, or worse suffer in silence, the destruction of even the most primal Human Rights of a woman.
The right to live well, breathe free, procreate by choice (Irish Referendum) having bodies devoid of violation. Daring to dream and build the ability to carve out their own future. Human Rights are at best, thoughts and not a reality for millions of human “women” beings. Is this the way it is always going to be? Don’t get me wrong, I am all for applauding the progress we have made in terms of how life was in the yesteryear and how it has and continues to improve for women across the world. But can we refute that we are scratching the tip of the iceberg?
There needs to be, an urgent universal acknowledgment; an acceptance echoed by world leaders in their countries and at the world stage of the United Nations Summit or the World Economic Forum. A resonance that penetrates our homes, the social gatherings where we share our thoughts; schools and universities where the adults of tomorrow begin understanding society and within our place of worship where we strengthen our morals. The luxury of time, to further delay speaking in one voice; we don’t have it! There is inexplicable suffering being endured in vast numbers, trauma being inflicted through – rape, molestation, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, physical violence, emotional abuse and more with women on the receiving end of it all. This insanity needs to be called out, reigned in and put a stop to. Exterminated just like The Plague and not reduced to round table brainstorming, empathizing discussions or passing banter.
The million dollar question is, WHO will put an end to this and WHEN?
Is a Messiah or Angel going to descend from the heavens above?
Unfortunately Not! It is only the emergence of our own, new and positively radical thinking that is the desperate need of the hour; deviating viciously and with urgency from our existing degenerate thought process. We must now emerge from within ourselves before we spiral down to the lowest levels of humanity. A vision, unbiased by gender, not influenced by the socio-economic strata and certainly not shackled by the legacy of gender discrimination shall need to infiltrate our daily lives. It is the only way we will be able to salvage from certain anarchy and destruction the generations to come.
It cannot be denied that many women who want to have their voices heard or be a part of the decision-making process even within the confines of their own homes, are rarely encouraged. Their economic status becoming the biggest hindrance in their growth. Women are now turning towards other women to help advocate and fight for Women Empowermentespecially in rural areas and developing countries. Promoting the importance of education in women is the only way to help them gain economic independence in lands where women empowerment is often labelled as an act of defiance and aggression. Those who wear their sexuality on their sleeve are often called slutty or promiscuous and ambitious women at work are deemed power-hungry. Those who defy the norms of society with regards to their choice in marriage are seldom forgiven. Many who raise their voice against brutality are silenced. Sometimes women are silenced forever not just by the world outside their homes but by the ones they call family in acts of honour killing.
In some parts of our world, a woman’s choice, her attitude, behaviour, way of life in fact her whole existence – can be condemned in varying degrees of harshness unless it is beautifully blending into a man’s world and has his approval. Is this the world we want our children to inherit? In the words of Mark Twain “Denial isn’t just a name of a river in Egypt.” We may choose to call ourselves developed nations, emerging economies, civilised societies; yet perhaps for half of humanity, we are far from substituting suffering with solutions, despair with decisiveness and oppression with opportunity.
Yes, it is a man’s world and those who think otherwise need only to have the courage to delve deeper into the happenings across the world. Media has played a mammoth role in bringing to light the plight of women from even the remotest parts of the world. However, there is no camera which can capture the day-to-day disrespect which is meted out to the fairer sex, in a veiled form or in a straight in the face.
There is an unapologetic belief in society, that a woman is a lesser mortal. This notion can run so deep, that sometimes one may be oblivious to its existence. Perhaps even deny it vehemently if pointed out.
How many times have we witnessed, heard, suffered or been an unfortunate spectator to a situation where a woman is disrespected? Treated in an undignified manner, her sensitivities ridiculed and hit below the belt? How many of us know of women who have been gravely hurt, abused and exploited? It can happen in the boardroom of a city office, in a village shop, a refugee camp or a hospital ward. Even the comfortable confines of a family home aren’t secure anymore. Can happen- Anywhere. Common factor- Gender.
We encourage the spectator and the sufferer to speak up but the faith and courage to do so comes only when victims believe that we wont fail them and that theworld believes the dignity of each woman is collectively worth fighting for.
Each “Me Too” from a victim needs a “We Are With You” from all of us.
Urvashi Kumar Trikha
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