Position, Authority and Prestige

To the best of my knowledge this theme is not a conclusive treatment to the disease, however, it is a supportive plan which can be successful only when it is adapted supported by all of us.

Though we believe that the world has changed its norms and that old faulty practices have diminished, but unfortunately gender bias is still a very big issue. It has variegated interpretations and people differ about its definitions. Primarily gender bias is all about the differences in the position, authority and prestige women and men have in societies.

Women constitute about half of the global population, but unluckily they are placed at various disadvantageous positions due to gender bias. They have been the victims of violence and exploitation by the male dominated society.

In many parts of the world women are still regarded as second class citizens. In some cases she is subjected to all kinds of humiliation, discrimination, violence and also denied various opportunities in different spheres of life. Even in the twenty first century, she is not being given equal opportunities and rights as compared to her male counterparts, women have been deprived even from their basic human rights.

As we all know that family is the first social institution, but unfortunately in some cases  it proves to be the cradle of these contentions; like it is very sad that a woman has been given a rather subordinate role to play even in her own home. Her major concern is expected to be catering to the comforts of the family as a dutiful daughter, loving mother, obedient daughter- in- law and faithful  wife and  I don’t think there is any harm in playing any of the above roles but it should be her choice what  she wants to.

Likewise  our society  has been  playing a negative role for eons as it inculcates in the mind of people that a son means a sort of insurance as he will inherit his father’s property and will get a job so that he can support his family. There are various other factors which are responsible for the gender bias like dowry system, female infanticide and sex selective abortions even sex trafficking; and the list is endless especially in patriarchal societies.

Gender bias cannot be fully eliminated merely by the legal and administrative measures. The educated people especially youth should develop a concept of gender-equal society; a society where everyone can be themselves despite their gender.

Everyone should try to understand that true feminism doesn’t imply the superiority of women over men but the equal status of both. Further achieving gender equality requires engagement of everyone be it women and men, young boys and girls, it is everyone’s  responsibility.

Above all we require some attitudinal changes on the part of both men and women. Awakening of the collective conscience is the need of the day. Change of heart, attitude and of course mindset, is what is needed. The emphasis should not be on “relief and rescue” but on “independence and empowerment”.

In a nutshell there is a need for change in perception towards women. The human society would be most advantaged only if women are treated equally and are not deprived of their basic rights. Meanwhile, girl education is breaking the pattern of gender bias only because they were given those opportunities to some extent but still gender equality seems to be a far distant dream.

Dr. Carol S. Dweck  is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading researchers in the fields of personality, social psychology and developmental psychology, in her book Mindset, clearly mentioned that in order to bring any positive change in the society, we need to shift from fixed mindset to growth mindset. And I think this is the only way forward. Ultimately, a growth mindset allows people to carry forth not judgments and bitterness, but new understanding .

Every  gender is a  beautiful creation of Almighty with certain amazing qualities. We are all beautiful in our own ways,  made by the creator so instead of looking for weakness in  each other we must try to find strengths in one another.

Let us all hope for a society where women are not discriminated against and everyone understands that “it is woman who keeps the race going on and we should never consider woman a second class citizen because it is  a woman who is the centre of the universe”.

Lastly I wish to live in a world where women don’t have to simply survive but thrive with dignity and equal opportunities and rights.

Aafiya Hamid is a Research Scholar, Department of Education, University of Kashmir, Hazratbal.