In our country, women have always been considered as embodiment of goddess Lakshmi, Saraswathi and Durga. It shows that women of today has come of age, so to say, and wants to lead a dignified life of equality with men. Mahatma Gandhi has once declared: ‘Women are the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacities. She has a right to participate in every minute detail of the activities of man and she has an equal right of freedom and liberty with him. She is entitled to a supreme place in her own sphere of activity as man is in his.’ The Indian woman has played a silent, self-effacing role to sustain Indian civilization down the ages. Traditionally, women, since the times of Manu, have been more treated like chattel. They have no property right; their rights to education have seldom gone beyond learning the three R’s and recitation of scriptures. Their existence has been confined to mere household chores around the clock, and their general well being has been taken granted in this country. However her status has undergone significant improvement since independence. Women’s welfare is now a prominent feature in all our plans. Right from Mahatma Gandhi down to the present leadership, all our leaders have always insisted on education and equal rights for the women in India. It is heartening to note that today we have in India educated ladies who are very keen on taking up all types of work, including administrative positions. Women now accompany our exploration teams to the Antarctica.
We are surprised to see the wonderful and accurate work women are doing in offices, such as typists, clerks, call center executives, receptionists and officers. They are more sincere towards work compared to male counterparts. They are quick to understand and very efficient in the performance. They have won accolades from their superiors in whatever capacity they have worked. They are competiting for IAS, IPS, state administrative services and other examinations held by UPSC, SSC and many other fields of life. Today we have women as Magistrates, Judges and Police Officers who are coolheaded, dispassionate, objective and impartial.
Today the role of men and women in our society is both collaborative and supplementary. The myth of male superiority is only a distortion that came in the wake of growing male domination. It is a paradox that there should be an increase in crimes against women, especially in the face of spectacular strides being made by them in various walks of life. Emancipation of women has occupied an important place in the scheme for social reforms undertaken in this country, in the later half of the 19th century. During the last five decades women have been entered in increasing numbers into salaried and remunerative occupations as well as professions which are previously the exclusive preserve of men. Today we find the difference that while women in former days worked along with men in the fields, now they work in factories or offices. Women are going to play major part in social transformation of our country. No more women is just going to play the role of home makers but now they are also going to take care of their career also and also work towards growth in positions in career.
Our society still feels that women should only take care of household chores despite doing professional work; most of them are doing this. Is it fair? We need to change our mentality and men and boys need to start helping their mother, sister, wife or daughter in household chores. Women also have right to be equally ambitious about their career and fulfill their dreams and need not sacrifice every time. If a woman gets certain responsibility, she takes care of it better. Today women and girls working is not fashion but the need of a society. Women also need to contribute to finance of the family and for also living better standard of life. I am surprised, why women are happy with 33% reservation in parliament? Why not fifty percent and there should be equality. Women like Kiran Bedi, Kiran Mazumdar, Kalpana Chawla, Sania Mirza, Sheila Dixit etc have made us proud with their immense contribution in their respective fields and to the society. At the end, I salute women of our country but also like to add that Indian women are most beautiful in world and you can’t stop flirting them.
Today’s women is going to be doing more of multitasking managing career, home and also having their own social life. With Women working and men helping them in home will change lot of old social stigmas. Women will also make decisions on buying a land, flat, four wheeler or any Insurance policy. Women are no longer lifeless, inanimate objects. They have struggled hard to establish an identity of their own. They are liberal and possess strength enough to dream of a brave new world. It reminds one of Lord Bryon who said
‘There is a tide in the affairs of women, god knows nowhere!’
In the present chaotic world, only women can handle the situation and do it in a better and more systematic manner. Women must be allowed to express and assert their identity and actively participate in all spheres of activity. But with more and more women working, Family, which was the nucleus of Indian life, will become still narrower in its definition and scope. Members of a family will be devoid of affection and compassion for one another. After a decade or so, test tube babies will come to occupy a considerable proportion of our population. Cooking of fresh food will probably be rare because mothers won’t feel the need to cook food for the family at the appointed hour. In spite of so many laws, women will still continue to live under the stress and strain of male domination that manifests itself in the form of various kinds of hardships and indignities meted out to them.
Finally to quote Miss Universe 1994 and actress Sushimita sen, ‘Women in India have now become more aware of their rights as individuals and is now opting for higher positions at work, at the same time being a perfect housewife at home. This, then, is the stage at which women have reached today – thanks to their struggle for equality and, more importantly, because of the situation we have landed ourselves into with men at the helm of affairs’. Superstition and myths about women must be tested on the touchstone of rationality and an equal status be accorded to them in society. Once this is done, the world will certainly be a better place to live in.