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Long back, I was having a conversation with one of my friends and he, interestingly, said, " I wish I was a woman!" That was a delightful surprise, and I was quite sure it would be for all the wonderful reasons. However, when I asked the reason, he said, "A woman's life is very easy. They do not take up responsibilities as we men do." I was a bit confused. "What makes you think so?" I asked. So he said, " Women do not necessarily have the pressure of doing well and pursuing a good career. They take up a job as per their wish and quit it in the name of family and children, whereas we men need to slog in the office in order to feed our family. We do not have the privilege of quitting our jobs. It's not that easy for us."
I thought about it. He might be partially right, especially when we are talking in the Indian context. Men in our society do feel the stress of being the main provider of the family. It does make them more responsible, or, in other words, more accountable. But who has created such a society? Apart from a few biological differences, both men and women had the capability of doing similar kinds of jobs, but the society somehow divided both the genders and assigned specific work to them. Men took up the responsibility to be the breadwinner, whereas women got to take care of the family. Slowly but sadly, it converted into a 'man's world'. So men became more powerful and women were labelled as the 'weaker sex'. So, you see, with power comes the responsibility. 'No pain, no gain.'
Nevertheless, this does not mean that a woman's life transformed into a bed of roses. Women have their own share of struggles in life and it is equally challenging, if not more. I do not want to sound as though I am lamenting on being a woman (actually I feel happy and lucky), but for the men who feel that woman have it all on a silver platter, I have a few eye-opening facts that you might have forgotten.
To start with, you must have heard of female infanticide, right? People snatch away the right of a female to live even before she is born. And if some of them survive, their birth is loathed by family and society. Have you ever heard of 'male infanticide'? No. In fact, their birth is celebrated.
Right from birth, girls are judged for their physical attributes. Her skin colour, height, weight and each part of the body becomes the topic of hot gossip. Are men too a subject of a similar kind of behaviour? No. Ladka jaisa bhi hai ladka hai. Period.
A girl's education is still debatable in many well-educated families. Parents save money to marry them off. Why waste the money unnecessarily on something as 'trivial' as a girl's education? Boys need good education because they need to feed the family.
Even if a woman gets good education, how many of them are actually allowed to have a career and be independent? Few women can be lucky, but I can give myriads of examples of women who are still trying to convince their families to allow them to work outside home. They are still oblivious about their future.
There are women who leave their flourishing careers to look after their family. You might think it is an easy way out for them, but it's not. They are made to go through the shame of being jobless. They are responsible for all household chores and are still labelled as jobless ' non-working' women. Their dreams are shattered and they fight to gain self respect. Why does a woman need to give up her career to bring up the family? Why is the vice versa not acceptable?
Talking about working women, they keep juggling between house and office and try to give their best. It becomes overwhelming at times. How many men feel they are equally responsible for the household chores? Very few.
Oh! And what about childbirth? Is it an excuse to escape work? For a woman , it's a matter of life and death sometimes. Haven't you heard of mothers dying while giving birth to their children? And what about their bodies? They go through irreversible changes while giving birth to their kids. And although we women make all this seem like a breeze, the truth is, it's not.
Apart from this, what about the safety issues of a woman? It is terrible to see the rapid increase in rapes, acid attacks, dowry, domestic violence; sadly, the list goes on. How many men become victim to all this? I am afraid the percentage is very less. Are men ever advised about their dress code, the timing to enter and leave the house and the other rules that are set specifically for women? No.
You must agree that it is not easy to be a woman and carry out her responsibility, but I am happy that it is not difficult either. We women are courageous enough to fight against the adversities and come out a winner. That is why you see, more and more women being able to break the glass ceiling. They are successful in carving their own niche. They are managing to rise above the stereotypical notions of the society. I tip my hat to their audacity.
Having said this, I do not intend to rage a war of men against women. We are not competing with each other. All I want to say is, God has made us human beings and given us unique abilities. Let's utilise that. We must be considerate towards each other's needs. It is the only way we can lead a peaceful and respectful life.