There are as many opinions as people
SOCIETY BY FAZL ILLAHI
We saw women empowerment day being celebrated across the valley some time back. Emancipated ones, as they call themselves, participated in programs with all zeal. On such occasions, usually, we come across opinions of the people who would fight tooth and nail against such a movement. They feel the movement primarily west sponsored to enslave other cultures. We, according to them, are aping the west. For the pro-empowerment people it is just the breaking of age-old shackles. Whatever the case, there are merits staying home and contributing, and, as I see, positives when you venture out solely out of genuine need, and drive to contribute in a judicious way.
Women empowerment is mired in confusion, at least in our part of the world. There are as many opinions as people. From school days, we have been hearing Napoleon verdict: ďgive me good mothers I will give you good nation.Ē We would parrot these lines in debates and symposia as children, and same is true today. Why Napoleon said this I donít know, but at least one thing is clear that his life would have been moulded by his mother. We donít mean he caught aggression virus from his mother, but his overall personality could have been shaped by his mother, aggression and dominance being a part of it. One more thing is clear from his statement which points to the fact that those days children were kept all day, as we know, in the custody of mothers who stayed back home. So it was natural that childís behaviour, for his most part, reflected his motherís persona. Donít you now allege me of male chauvinism when I use ďheĒ to represent both gender. This is just for economy of words. We, again in school, came across one more statement, this time from Jawaharlal Nehru: ďIf you educate a man, you are educating an individual; if you educate a woman you are educating a family.Ē We here deduce same as in case of Napoleon. These statements, of Napoleon and Nehru, highlight the role of women in better upbringing of children, yet they operate under a condition that women stay home, otherwise fathers could become equal contenders to the feat. This is one side of the story.
Today, as we see, women working shoulder to shoulder with men, second to none, as we hear every now and then. We never intend to contend this, if they feel like to work, they must, may be after weighing alternatives between work and home. As both, husband and wife, go on to work, given the economic necessities of the present day world, where we could tolerate to die of hunger rather than tolerate to die of amenities, which are mostly instruments of ostentation than means of comfort. I have many instances where we buy many gadgets which are never put to use before they become redundant. Mind you, this is a savings era, where you spend as well as save for the rainy day. So, many a time, it probably becomes urgent for both to work. Doing this, here we tend to hold one end, lose the second that is child upbringing, which now, after both parents prefer to work, is outsourced to a crŤche, a modern mother alternate- crŤche or crush- you decide. If this is the obtaining situation then where is the good mother of Napoleon and family educator of Nehru to be found today. This is not the question facing women only but men too. Women cannot be singled out. Afterall, women donít go out to work for fun, but to make ends meet.
One more dimension. Education is enlightenment that only an ignorant will deny. Education fights ignorance, prejudice, and superstition. It is as true for men as women. Anti-empowerment people too donít hesitate in this. But here is the irrational they pose, subsequently. They say: ďEducate them (women) in sciences, arts, commerce, in any field you like, and give them high education. Restrict them to homes afterwards as they are more suited to domestic work than market jobs.Ē If this was the case then why educate them to this level at the first place. Restrict them all through. You first allow them high education then confine them to homes. We know today that most of the education that is given in schools and colleges is directed towards some vocation. It was preferable then to teach them home science only. Among anti-empowerment people are others who although donít approve women working, but prefer marrying them only, as we understand, due to economic reasons. They are husbands of womenís earnings only. They would like their women to earn by being on leave from job permanently. They want to have the cake and eat it too. Their marriage is more economics than union of souls.
Till now we saw the issue from other than womanís spectacle. Now we will see their perspective. I am sure most of the women who work here are in a quandary, at least as I have seen them. Many of them, may be a good number if not most, are unhappy working. They will tell you how much appropriate it was for them to stay back home. Their feeling is that they neither belong to home nor their work place. This definitely speaks volumes about them and their motivation to work. They donít want to work outside, but they are working- what do you construe out of this?
One more class, if I remember properly, lives on this planet. They are intelligent, industrious, and capable- worthy of working side by side and motivated too. They also suffer a problem; they would like to force men to submit and yield before them, unnecessarily. They are fit at work, unfit at home.
The author is teaches at Govt. College of Education, Srinagar. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lastupdate on : Sat, 31 Mar 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 31 Mar 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 1 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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