The social system of patriarchy is outdated as feudalism, but this old system of ideas won’t go away overnight. Historically, the idea of patriarchy is a cultural invention, not a natural or inevitable phenomenon. Patriarchy is an institutionalized pattern of male dominance in society, it is not based on biological differences between men and women but the stage of human development. This subordination of women is deeply entrenched in our society where women are still undervalued and provided worse jobs and wages as compared to male counterparts.
In modern society, women play a variety of important roles from birth to the grave. The status of women is described as an aggregation of the position she occupies as a vocation, daughter, wife, and mother to any part of time including the attributes attached to these positions as well as consequential expected rights and duties. Women play a significant role in everyone’s life; without women, we cannot imagine the progress of life. They are highly responsible for the successful continuation of the life of this planet. In the olden times, the role of women was limited to only wives, and mothers with responsibilities to make food, tending children, and taking care of the family members. But the condition has been improved, they have started taking part in many activities other than family and kids.
When we talk about the traditional role of women in Kashmir society, we imagine a lass with headgear performing her daily chore. It is a fact that the tradition and culture of women’s lifestyles in Kashmir have remained the same for many centuries. They were characterized by dominance and having lower social status in society, in those days, women were the victims of the widespread illiteracy, segregation, and complete denial of individuality. Socially, women suffered from the denial of freedom in their own houses and suppression, unequal, and inferior status. In traditional society, women were always considered as subordinate to male supremacy, they remained dependent on male members of the family and could not develop their personality or be independent within or outside their family.
Women in the past were in a paradoxical situation, where their role was minimal, they participated actively in social, economic, and other activities, but often were considered as inferior and subordinate to male supremacy. They were confined to work in the handicraft sector, with no formal education and social roles to be played by them in this male-dominated society. In rural areas, women worked side by side with their family members in the agricultural fields, but their contribution was never considered as substantial. Nevertheless, in both rural and urban areas women worked in and out of their homes and were socially and economically productive, but they were never appreciated for these roles.
When we talk about today’s world, we see a drastic change in our society. In Kashmir with the introduction of social reforms, works of the social sector, appearances of political consciousness, spreading of cultural awareness in which women felt concerned about their position, role, and status in and out of their family. Women, in general, developed an interest and motivation to come out of their homes for education, employment, and entertainment. Due to the rapid growth of education, modernization, urbanization, development in the field of transport and communication not only helped Kashmiri women to find themselves as per with men in the highest offices of Govt. but also opened new social norms and values for their development. The women started getting their education and showed interest in the political and professional fields. Besides, the other areas of social living, they have begun to come out of the domestic sphere and took professional roles outside their homes, this helped them to realize their potentialities, broaden their outlook and create a new meaning for themselves. The traditional role of a housewife gradually evolved into the dual and more fulfilling role of a professional working wife and housewife at the same time.
The woman in the society of Kashmir has been subjected to great pressures over the past years. Their status in socially, economically, politically, and generally in Kashmir is much higher than from past decades. A complete dramatic change has been taken place by the Govt. in the changing status of Kashmiri women after independence. Cultural and structural changes reduce the exploitation of women to a great extent and provide equality of opportunities to women in various fields. The Kashmiri women have left the secured domain of their home and are now in the battlefield of life, fully armored with their talent. Now, no area remained unconquered by Kashmiri women.
San’na Firdous is a Research Fellow