In Focus

Fighting bias across society and within homes

By Sonal Aggarwal

India is a land of contrasts and diversity. Gender discrimination and bias has plagued the nation for centuries, so much so that the world thinks India is one of the worst places to live as a woman. India is also a nation of goddess worshipers and a land where people call their country their ‘mother’ - Bharat Mata.

Image for representational purpose only
Discrimination of women is prevalent across societies and cultures all over the world. While in some tribal and indigenous groups the female has more authority and better status as compared to their male counterparts, in most modern societies, in developing and developed nations alike, women face discrimination at personal and professional fronts. Swami Vivekanand once said ‘There is no hope of rise for that family or country where there is no estimation of women, where they live in sadness’. It’s time for us to relook and reaffirm women’s correct stature in society.

Indian women are speeding ahead in every field one can think of. Science, technology, sports, armed forces, medicine, law enforcement, law, research and more. In fact, in the last decade, women marched ahead in unchartered territories that were once considered bastions of men. In redefining their roles in the society, women have come a long way ahead, treading a path that was long, arduous and full of challenges - physical, mental and societal.

Indian women have gone to space, deep-sea explorations, climbed the highest mountains, ran multi-national companies, led political parties, marched with the armed forces, flew jets and pioneered scientific research and technological developments. Women are the backbone of any society and the scaffold that holds families together.

In India, like the rest of the world, women and their role in society is a hot topic for discussion. Despite garnering support for gender equality from all quarters, including the men, a significant chunk of the male population in rural and urban India still believes that role of women has been pre-defined - to manage the household, rear children and take care of the family. Social conditioning is an important factor, so much so that majority of the women also feel they have pre-determined and fixed role to play in a family and in society.

Sadly, most women tend to underestimate their achievements and potential. A patriarchal society expects a woman to be humble and polite. Women who are aggressive, driven and ambitious are often disregarded and their achievements dismissed. That’s where the perception deeply ingrained in our mindsets must change to give women their right place.