I found the right to gender equality being questioned on these grounds (in red). We have heard these arguments before, I feel they should be taken seriously.
- In a lot of cases, men and women are definitely not equal.
In a healthy society, everybody, an old widower, a young dad, a teenager, a blind man, a dalit rape victim, a farmer, a village Sarpanch, a factory worker are, all, equal.
Gender, age, wealth, caste or marital status, do not take away the right to equality.
-How many times have we asked a male friend to drop us back home as it is too late in the night ? And how many times have we accepted small considerations shown to us (for e.g. a cashier asking women to form a separate queue) only because it suited us?
As equal citizens, women should be able to step into public transport without facing very real risk of being molested or being raped and killed. (And then be blamed for ‘asking for it’). When women ask for or accept being escorted back home, it is generally because public spaces, public transport have an unwritten but very clear reservation for men.
One also hears, ‘Why do women need separate coaches, queues and seats?’ Because even today the society excuses sexual harassment as ‘eve teasing’.
- How many times have we refused to work late at office only because we didn’t want to get back home alone in a cab ?
- Demand equality where it is due. If you demand equality at a work place, make sure to stay up late just like the men. Do not give the excuse of family or being a woman to be allowed to go back early.
Most work-places and work-timings have evolved to the needs of men who have been working all along, and hence they are suited for men.
As of now men (even married men and fathers) have a support system in place which makes these working conditions convenient. They have a spouse who cooks, packs tiffin, takes care of the children and the elderly. They are also able to travel easily because the spouse takes care of the home and family.
Women, specially married women, generally do not have this support system. They are expected to make sure that the working man is not inconvenienced when they pick up paid-jobs. So for most women today, “entering into a marriage and having kids seems like a bad career move:”
When women started ‘working’, even fifty years ago in India, there was a feeling that women were taking away men’s jobs – till then it was understood that all jobs rightfully belonged to men – Reserved For Men. Now we are beginning to understand that women can’t (won’t) be denied paid-jobs. This is also (slowly) liberating the men and letting them see housework and child rearing as their right and responsibility.
The work place is now evolving again. It’s mutual need. Jobs need workers and the new age workers have different needs.
If we do not create work-places that make it possible for mothers (or parents) to work, we will make it difficult for the the coming generations (specially women) to choose to have children. It’s happening in Europe and Australia. Women should not have to choose between self-reliance and motherhood/marriage- because then they might be forced to choose self reliance.
Every adult should have the right to self- reliance. The society needs to make sure that marriage and motherhood do not deprive half the population of self reliance, happiness, safety, good-health, respect, dignity, freedom and equality.
“Most women are afraid of losing their jobs” by taking time out to have a child, says Liu. He says Taiwan should follow the lead of European countries like Germany, where women are entitled to up to three years of maternity leave by law.” [click to read the entire article]
- What about the demands for 33% reservation for women in AP, and when finally given, 20% of those seats go empty.
Right to education, right to inheritance, right to family name, right to performing the parents’ last rites, right to freedom, public spaces, travelling, right to self reliance, right to second chances in life, remarriage, parental love, even right to be born have all been reserved for men for centuries.
Politics, governance and law making was also reserved for men.
And even today some Institutions have a lower cut-off for male students. (Because girls seem to be scoring higher. [Another link])
Women even today, are discouraged from taking their careers too seriously, career for women is seen as an option (and Getting and Staying Married as the goal). So the playing field is not level.
So is the 30% reservation a favour to women?
It is not.
The entire society benefits from a system where every member has the opportunity to realize their full potential and to contribute to the best of their ability.
Happy, self reliant, confident women mean happier families, and happier families mean a happy society.
We need a society where women are valued by their families and that is not possible until they stop being ‘liabilities’ – which is not possible until they are provided equal and fair opportunities.
The only time when girls are treated as equals is in schools – and we have seen the results. This when many girls have to work at home and their careers are not a priority.
-And I feel it is pretty stupid to demand equality where physical labour might be involved. Granted that a lot of women are capable of more stamina than men, but the statistics proving the contrary are larger.
One should be paid for the amount of work done not for one’s physical strength, because no two men (or women) are equally strong, and a stronger worker may or may not work more.
Equal pay for equal work is fair. Women are generally not paid as much for the same amount of work.
Even today it is believed that a man has to support his family so he should be better paid.
- And religion .. Am not well versed in other religions, but Hinduism started with worshiping the supreme feminine power. Even today, the supreme power in Hinduism is a female entity. Though man may perform atrocities on women, Hinduism still places importance on the female power.
That’s lip service. How does it help an average woman, if we still insist, through our actions or words, that women can’t be equal to the rest of the population?
- And if a woman demands equality, she should behave exactly like a male (which in my opinion is impossible as basically men and women are different).
Being equal means having equal right to justice, opportunities, and happiness and against exploitation (etc).
Equality does not mean some people need to behave like other people. And all men (or all women) are not alike either. Equality would mean men and women being able to be themselves – sometimes they might want to do some things that were earlier ‘reserved for men’ (like the right to be paid for their labours) – that’s fine.
Equality also means men have an equal right to enjoy cooking, caring for family, raising children or dancing. It does not mean they have to behave exactly like women to be treated as equals.
Also consider, does a Chinese, a Maharashtian, a Malayali, a Canadian, an Ethiopian or a Goan man behave exactly alike? But everybody is and should be equal in the eyes of the law and the society.
Feminism is not men versus women, it is an older, biased way of living, giving way to a logical and just way of living.
Biology versus Culture DEATHMATCH Part I (Nandini’s Niche)