Gender Equality Training in India

The current situation of gender equality in India reminds of a famous quote by Gloria Steinhem “We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.” How true is that? Teaching a son to live by the standards of a daughter seems like a herculean task in today’s India. Lord Krishna had declared the advent of Kalyug epochs back. But had he guessed our civilization would reach a stage where women are discriminated to such extents? Faith moves the people of India. Faith and religion are the threads of this large fabric that India is. We live by the assurance that God exists.Man and woman are both creations of God.. Then on what grounds can we discriminate one from another?

When a Hindu seeks knowledge, she prays to Goddess Saraswati. When she needs wealth, she recalls Lakshmi.When she needs strength, she seeks Goddess Kali. We can glorify a mute idol of a female, but when it comes to respecting the real flesh of a woman, why do we fall short? There cant be society without women. The entire universe is built on feminine (yin)and masculine (yang)energy. They both stand equal and complement each other.

Gender Inequality is the primary source of misery in India. If both sections of society are equally empowered,only then can India progress in social and economic terms. It’s shocking to come across people who feel gender inequality is an alien issue. Something observed only at workplaces or on television. In this respect gender equality is akin to charity, it begins at home.

Gender Inequality is when a parent treats his or her daughter differently from the son. When a girl’s outdoor excursions are limited while the son paints the city red. When a girl is taught to cook while a son is exempted from all housework. When marriage and child birth are considered the only goals for a daughter while the son must earn to support his family. Doesn’t sound like your family? Try listening to your relatives closely.

And it is not restricted to the Indian household. From actresses around the world fighting for equal paychecks to politicians and women CEOs crusading for equal leadership, gender equality is a global cause. Women are the unsung heroines who have had to struggle for voting rights, freedom of attire ,entry into temples and what not.

Thanks to social media, the one word that has touched every tongue today is ‘Feminist’. The concept of Feminism states that men and women must be treated equally. Gender must not be a basis to decide upon a person’s qualification or capacity. A huge chunk of the Indian population has misinterpreted it, thinking that a feminist is vouching to prove her superiority to a man. This has further aggravated the differences between the sexes.

Man and woman are like the two sides of the same coin. We’re so familiar with the female side of the story,lets not forget that there is another side of discrimination that isn’t given its due share. Male discrimination is the silent story. It’s a man’s plea that echoes in every cosmopolitan city of India. Why don’t men get paternity leaves from work in Indian corporates? Why don’t we focus equally on physical abuse of men? A man in India who takes up household duties and lets his wife work is mocked by the society. He is asked to wear bangles and sit at home. Whoever thought young men were the masters of their free will didn’t peek into the mind of the boy who loves to cook meals for his wife and take care of kids.But he is forced to slog in a corporate firm because he has to act ‘manly’. And above everything else, who decided that ‘boys don’t cry’? Why should men be denied the freedom of expression. While its ‘natural’ for women to cry, a man crying is considered a vulnerable weakling. It’s a social taboo for men to cry. Most of these common notions are ingrained since childhood. Indian kids have heard them umpteen times and yet with every year they seem more absurd.

An objective approach to the organization of this society involves viewing commodities (jobs, education, wages) and needs (food etc.) through gender-less vision. Men belong in the kitchen as much as women, after all food is a basic need for all. Men and women must be educated because they are citizens of the state. Men and women must be paid equally for the same amount of work, after all the work should be more important than the doer.

Eradication of gender inequality starts with the mind. The society needs to cultivate the belief that men and women are equally capable when given the same training for a specific role in life. Initiatives need to start from the grass root level. Proper education system and vocational training for women in rural areas is important. Equal job opportunities in areas such as sports, corporates etc. is an integral need today. Gender equality training in India starts with the household. Lesser restrictions on women in their homes make them self -reliant and confident. Simultaneously, it is imperative to nurture the son of the family to be sensitive to issues of both the sexes. He should be trained to be independent in every arena of life and that should include housework. Parents must learn to befriend their son and give him space to open up about his botherations. Ineffective communication between parents and their son is the reason male physical abuse goes unreported. A guy is brainwashed into believing that he’s supposed to stay strong and mentally collected all the time. He wraps his anxiety and sadness in his male ego and hopes for the incident to become a passing memory. In this country men are cultured to stifle their own cries for help.India needs laws to protect their rights in a marriage.There exist zero laws to fight male physical abuse.

“A case filed under the Domestic Violence Act almost always goes in the favor of the wife. This needs to change because in a number of cases the accusing woman is lying only to extricate financial gains out of the case.The husband and the wife need to be given equal legal support in a case of domestic violence”, says Mohit Kumar,a Legal Expert at Integrated Institute of Psychological Research and Studies (IIPRS).

While the scenario remains grim, there is always a silver lining in a dark cloud. Government initiative like the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme etc. have sensitized and provided incentives for families to encourage women to grow. A 33% reservation of seats for women in Lok Sabha came as an inspiring move for women.Social media including Facebook and Twitter are passionately promoting feminism too. Consistent efforts will bring a brighter future where all sexes are respected and people are revered irrespective of their gender.