Equal. Are We?

Preethi Krishnan June 10, 2011

Image credit: Flickr@espresso marco


So, you believe in gender equality. Your blood boils when you hear about atrocities against women? You took a vow not to take dowry? Did you tell your wife, that you are flexible regarding her decision to work or not? Did you promise her that whether she works or not, you will keep a cook to reduce the drudgery in her life?

Having done the above, do you feel happy that you are a loving, egalitarian, considerate partner?

Of course, many of the above questions are addressed to men.

I must admit, the men of our times have come a long way from where they were many years back. I cannot imagine having a partner from a generation where men decided whether their wife worked or not, expected that no matter whether she worked or not, she would cook for the family and of course cook and clean well.

Certainly, things have changed. And I am thankful. As I said above, there is a consciousness among men and women that the wives are equal partners in life and many of the externally visible behaviours and activities seem to demonstrate that. Great!

However, one may have to look a little deeper to see how gender inequality plays out in our generation. In many of our lives (I mean the elite, educated, and urban amongst us) we may have to ask some uncomfortable questions to see whether we are indeed gender equal within our families. Even while I say this, I must admit that domestic violence is a fact that is prevalent across class, today. It is still a sad fact that the patriarchal system thinks that women can be controlled and “corrected” through violence and that the superiority of the male gender is reinforced through a show of strength and aggressiveness. Even when reliable statistics are hard to come by, there are a few numbers that we may need to remember. A UNICEF study quotes a 1996 survey where, up to 45% of men acknowledged physically abusing their wives in Uttar Pradesh. Kerala which ranks high regarding several gender-based statistics demonstrates a very different story in how its women are treated within the confines of the home. A study conducted by INCLEN and ICRW on domestic violence in Kerala found that as high as 62.3% and 61.61% of the women are subjected to physical torture and mental harassment. (Sakhi) A study by Sakhi Resource Centre for the Dept. of Health report 40% violence against women, with an average of 2 women patients coming every day to the Out Patient Departments (OPD’s) with injuries due to violence (Sakhi, 2004). Therefore, the urban, elite is not completely free of the most evident form of gender inequality and that has to be acknowledged even before we discuss the more subtle aspects of gender equality.

Then, why this post?

The reason being, that gender equality today seems to be defined by the minimums rather than the optimums. Moreover, many men and women seem to be uncomfortable with any conversation that revolves around women’s rights in their rather perfect world where they think they are being equal. So, if a man does not beat his wife, or does not take dowry or does not expect her to cook and clean like his mother, or is flexible enough to “let” her take her decisions regarding her work life, he feels good about himself. As I said before, I am thankful to all the men, who do at least this much. But, is this enough? Are you truly treating your partner equally?

Before we answer this question, let me elucidate the situation as it exists in our so called gender equal elite society. Take a look around at professionals. Let me begin from the corporate world. The glass ceiling is a reality across the world. The March 2009 report, Women CEOs of the Fortune 1000, published by Catalyst identified that of the Fortune 500, only 15 CEOs were women including one Indian( Indra Nooyi) and in Fortune 501-1000, there were nine women CEOs. (SHRM) India seems to be doing rather better considering that 11% of Indian CEOs are women. Having said that, one has to keep in mind that 1/3rd of these are family owned businesses. (WSJ)The reason I am talking about CEOs is to reinforce the economic inequality that exist in the “work” aspect of our community. The lower percentage of women CEOs, women managers and women’s participation in the workforce does not mean that women do not work. What is critical to acknowledge is that, this means, most of the work that women do, is either not given a financial value, is valued less or the opportunity to reach positions economically equal to men is often filled with obstacles such as double burden, stereotyped expectations and their own self image.

Women who stepped up Image credits: flickr@[fortheloveofcc](http://www.flickr.com/photos/fortheloveofcc/)

So, some simple questions I have for men are:

  • Does your wife have a lesser income than you? Why?
  • Did she choose a lesser paying job so that she can spend more time at home?
  • Did she choose not to work because both of you decided that your kids need to be brought up well in a loving family?
  • Does she miss out on being the star performer in her office, since she just cannot afford to give in that extra night outs and evenings? And because, when your child is sick, more often than not, it is she who has to take time out from work rather than you?
  • Or as a principle, did she choose a “female” oriented profession such as teaching, and social work which by itself pays less than your corporate job? (Most jobs where women dominate are seen to be much lesser paying that those dominated by men.)
  • Well, if none of the above seems to be true now, what do you foresee when she is forty? How do you see yourself, when you are forty? Is that picture, gender neutral?

The above is the case of the urban elite woman. In the unorganized sector, where more than 90% of women workers are associated, (National Commission on Enterprises in Unorganized/Informal Sector, 2006) wages are unequal by norm. Even men do not get their minimum wages. Its not just rural populations... Women in rural Karnataka make as low as 30Rs per day. In their case, not only do they have to work full-time but in many homes, the responsibility of running the family is also completely borne by the women. The extent of inequality is beyond explanation. This sentence from the book The Kite Runner always comes to my mind, when I hear their stories. The hero of the book says, "I cringed a little at the position of power I'd been granted, and all because I had won at the genetic lottery that had determined my sex." So true in our world, isn’t it?

I keep coming back to some harsh realities so that we don’t think that the fight is over. It is far from that. However, in the seemingly egalitarian world, the so called “urban educated” women should not give up the accomplishments that the women’s movement has made, if any at all.

While I have put down some facts regarding women, I certainly don’t think, men have it easy either. They don’t always have a choice in our society to follow their dreams. They too are bound by gender stereotypes where their role of a “provider” is still strong and that role comes with its expectations.

This, being the situation, how does one define gender equality in urban, elite, educated families?

First, there is a need to acknowledge that the contribution of men to a family is clearly demonstrated by their payslip. The male contribution has already been given a financial value. To me, operationalising gender equality in an urban family is about defining the financial value for the woman’s unseen, unvalued contribution to the family. It is here, that the initial few questions that I put down become important. If the wife/partner’s situation is one of those, then I would presume that her contribution is equal to that of the man. The money that the man brings in home is not just a result of his performance at work alone but a combination of his effort at work and that of his wife at home which makes it easier for him to perform. Thereby enters the tricky question of operationalising this unseen contribution of women.

I asked an unmarried friend, how he would consider sharing wealth with his wife, if she were not working? His answer was, “I would give her a credit card, so that she does not have to ask me when she wants to spent. Maybe a few years from the marriage, I might get a house in her name” It is sweet, but not enough. This is only an urban form of income control, where the man will always hold the strings to her expenses. As I said, I am thankful for such men too compared to the earlier generation where in many cases she would have to negotiate for money. Then I asked him, what stopped him from having a joint account?

Although, we did not take the conversation further, a joint account between the husband and wife is to me one of the many ways of a gender equal urban society. I may be criticized for using a rather calculative lens to evaluate a beautiful relationship based on love. I believe in love, myself and find it so difficult to talk “finances” in a personal relationship, be it with brothers, father or partner. Of course, I have no data as to how many people currently have joint accounts. It is some of the reactions from some of my male friends and family members that force me to articulate this need clearly. Even if the wife does not work, if one acknowledges the responsibility within a marriage, as it exists today, there is the need to provide equal space in all aspects, including finances. Today, women are aware that they should have equal rights to property and therefore in many families, the house seems to be on a joint ownership. (Joint titling is still a concern in rural areas) But we said, equal, didn’t we?

Let me repeat my disclaimer again. I do think that Indian men are quite giving, and are under huge pressure to keep up their “provider” role with respect to the family. However, when divorces happen, the situation does not seem as great. Her claim to maintenance is often determined by her ability to prove the husband’s income sources. When the woman is unaware of her husband’s business dealings and sources of income, it is difficult to claim a clear 50% of his income. If his dealings involve the black market economy, it becomes almost impossible to claim her right. Moreover, today courts have no power to create obligations binding on the husband for the benefit of the wife or children. The court is seen just as a forum where un-enforced maintenance orders are given. (Agnes, 2008) Therefore, in many cases, the woman in her 40s, suddenly finds herself in a rather sorry state, where she has the responsibility of the children, without a steady flow of income to lead her life and where the possibility of a new life is also difficult. The rather elite lifestyle that she was used to, while in the marriage makes things even more difficult. My point is simple. As we build our families, we have to be conscious of what is “equal”. Equal means that everything that the man and the woman acquired after marriage and used jointly, is equally shared, not just orally but in documents. I would expect that a truly egalitarian husband would secure his wife’s future, as much as his own. The question is very simple although hard hitting. If the happily married husband and wife were to split today, what is her net worth in comparison to his?

If it is not equal, it’s just that - not equal.

References:

  1. The Situation of Women in the State: The gender paradox http://sakhikerala.org/Articles%20.html

  2. http://www.shrm.org/Research/Articles/Articles/Documents/09-0677_India_W...

  3. http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2010/11/18/which-has-more-female-ceos...

  4. Gender Based Violence In Kerala, Sakhi Resource Centre, June 2004

  5. G. Raveendran, SVR Murthy and Ajaya Kumar Naik, Redefining of Unorganized Sector in India , National Commission on Enterprises in the Unorganized/Informal Sector, India May 2006 www.mospi.gov.in/Manual%2002.doc

  6. Agnes, Flavia, “Family Courts: From the Frying Pan into the Fire?”, Women’s Studies in India, Edited by Mary.E.John 2008


Preethi Krishnan works with Best Practices Foundation

Gender equality, women's rights, Gender, Note Share this Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

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Patriarchy like Capitalism is

Patriarchy like Capitalism is a creative phenomena. In all ages it has been known to remodel to accrue its accessibility. I actually fail to understand when there is incessant acceleration and condensation of dowry practice and further reduction of it to be part of culture to normalize it, in such a situation how this can be generalized that the present day men (elite, educated and urban) are more accommodating or are sensitive towards women rights and sensibilities? By virtue of being elite, urban, educated along with other xyz identity tags can anyone attain the status of being egalitarian? I won't deny that there aren't men opposing acts of gender disparity, but as a society with various levels of stratification we are standing miles away still from that utopia.

The issues of disparity, insensitive acts against women,carelessness in deliverance of rights and justice to approximately half the population and instillation of sense of assertion, confidence and security among them which are prerequisites for any human life to live with dignity find their roots in the acquisition of space. The space which is not just physical in its construction but mental too. The fight to acquire a space for her own begins with the family system and then expands to spaces outside in the world at multiple levels. Among the elite, educated, modern calling families the consciousness of instilling assertion in the girl child is growing however it needs be scanned whether new gendered stereotypes are also not being manufactured. The need is to break the stereotypes and not letting new formed because that leads to immense social injustice whose frequency is so high that it generally does not catch the senses.

When we talk about equality, I usually think, is it a matter of give and take or is it about practicing? One may argue, that we are born in unequal situations might be in terms of economics or politics or society or scientific or psyche, therefore there is a sense of inequality in minds owing to it. But as a citizen of this country we demand institutional equality which is further hoped to percolate to inner consciousness of treating everyone equal. But does it happen? Equality as one of the tenants of constitution is lying somewhere, institutions to ensure it have been erected with the bricks of law. But the situation is adamantly at status quo. The another piece of argument is that everyone is born equal but is different. Untill, it is accepted that difference doesn't make anyone less competent but provides a diversity in the expressions, actions and thoughts which demands for tolerance, there is again less scope for equality to come forefront. For me the mix of both the arguments work. Women are born in unequal situations and are different in relation to men and similarly every women is also different from each other. Hence the arguments of patriarchy that women are less competent fall flat over here. Treating fellow individuals at par irrespective of any situation is a subjective matter. And the addressing all the citizens at par with each other by State demands objectivity in its action.

Thank you for your

Thank you for your comment.

Your first para poses some questions to me. I shall try to clarify. "how this can be generalized that the present day men (elite, educated and urban) are more accommodating or are sensitive towards women rights and sensibilities?" :

I dont think I have generalized that all men are more sensitive. In fact, I have acknowledged that domestic violence is an issue across class. Moreover, I dont think i said "By virtue of being elite, urban, educated along with other xyz identity tags can anyone attain the status of being egalitarian?" As I acknowledged in the article, I am aware that there are gross issues of domestic violence, unequal wages, double burden putting women under gross disadvantage and that Utopia is far off.

At the same time, one would have to recognise the progress that has been made. Not acknowledging that, would also be a generalization of sorts. Aren't there men, who dont take dowry, who dont beat their wives and treat women with respect? I think, they exist.

I borrow your words "Patriarchy like Capitalism is a creative phenomena" and yet one internalises it without knowing - men and women. The purpose of this article is only to ask some uncomfortable questions to some men and women, who are now in the "comfortable" zone of "minimums of gender equality" rather than the optimums, a section of society very prevalent among the urban...educated Not because of anything else but that this is a section which is aware of these debates and are aware that it is unfashionable to be anything but egalitarian. Also, because I believe a large section of readers of Bodhi would be "urban educated"

To explain the CEO

To explain the CEO conundrum:

http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/UK_study_claims_men_have_higher_average_I.Q....

Excerpt: The study also found that men outnumbered women in increasing numbers as intelligence levels rise. There were twice as many with IQ scores of 125, a level typical for people with first-class degrees. When scores rose to 155, a level associated with genius, there were 5.5 men for every woman

keeping my identity anonymous to prevent increase of physical abuse at home, directionally inverse from what is mentioned in Preethi's post

Ok. I am tempted to crack a

Ok. I am tempted to crack a joke in return, about men who say whatever and then add a silly joke on marriages and wives. But shall resist since you might come up with another research which says women have no sense of humour or something? By the way, did this research get published in TOI?

Thought provoking post!

Thought provoking post! Definitely, gender inequality is a prevalent issue, I agree that in the professional world there are way more men at the top than women. And for those women who are ambitious and want to make it to the top, there will be some gender biases to overcome. But many women, including myself, are simply not that ambitious. I am content to take advantage of the gender inequality that drives my husband to want to be a star performer, while I have a more cushy job that pays less but is enough for my expenses, and gives me more leisure time. Not everyone wants to be a CEO. A "female" oriented profession just might be what some women actually prefer even if they had the opportunity to got the corporate route. That said, I agree that it is important for every woman to be financially independent, and it is a good point that you raise here about ensuring that non-working wives are given their own control over finances.

On one hand, you say that its

On one hand, you say that its a thought provoking post and then also tend to get along with majoritarian idea that women prefer to accept 'female' jobs since not every one is motivated to be CEO. Idea of Equality has nothing to do with the motivation to grab the top notch but ideally has to be irrespective of it. Can you define what are 'female' jobs. I think there is need to come out of pigeonhole appartments and face the situation on the ground and pretty well it can be seen that Women do all sorts of jobs from had core labour to agricultural workers and farmers to selling goods in market to driving metros and railways to flying aircrafts and sitting in air-conditioned offices. It just boils me when I see people asking same questions again and again and entire discourse of equality just revolves around the muscle power or hegemony. I wish the readings which people do and day to day experiences they come across - all those help in developing the analytical faculty and opening of grey matter a bit. Its the easiest job to first bracket and then demean the credibility to ascertain the status quo of inequality. I wont have any problem if some one accepts graciously that he/she believes in inequality but when there is pretentiousness of being progressive and egalitarian on the surface with undercurrents of prejudices and disparity its really really fatal.

First of all, I think she was

First of all, I think she was talking about her experiences and "many" women that she knows who took that "choice". Noone here has defined "many" and therefore I dont think she generalised that too. However, it is important that her thoughts have a space in this forum without the threat of such intimidation. If your blood boils, please cool it down. Dont spurt your aggression on commentors here.

About the "female jobs", i think, the post made it clear that it was not about any particular job that women can do or not, but those professions where women were dominant were ones which were less paid. It was not that they cannot do other jobs. I quote from Nirmala Banerjee's :How real is the bogey of feminization?, "So, if women do come to replace men in the latter's jobs without a concurrent increase in the total number of jobs in a given economy, the aggregate earning of workers as class would be sharply reduced". The "female oriented jobs" usage was neither about capability nor about motivation, but the reality of the current state of gross inequality.Reading and day to day experiences would certainly ascertain that.

Now you come to an important point. Should one bracket the current unequal status and argue for a few changes here and there to maintain status quo. That is a good dilemma that you give to think about. The first scenario is to ask for a space where there are no gender stereotypes - 1. that women and men have the freedom to be homemakers, professionals, or average out of both. That there are no stereotypical expectation from one or the other to take up the role of the provider or nurturer in the family. 2. There is no violence against women anywhere - not in the family and not outside 3. Equal opportunities, equal wages and equal work for everyone. Which means, military, teaching, police, politics and corporates all have equal number of men and women working there.

I would love to ask for it all. I just think it's a long shot and that we can reach there with small wins. This post and what this lady above says is the acknowledgment of those small wins along the way.

See, I am not denying agency

See, I am not denying agency to Women. They are conscious beings and do make multitudes of choices. And my uneasy attitude was definitely against the person concerned but towards sum total of attitude of active or passive patriarchal hegemony. I too agree, its miles to cover to catch hold of that utopia and small wins are significant in oiling the flame. For the same numbers of progresses we have examples of enough numbers who take all those accomplishments with a 'for granted' attitude and are reluctant in acknowledging the sacrifices made.

I think Gramsci said somewhere – be pessimist in your analysis and optimist in your will. Moreover criticizing is not synonymous to bashing and while being pessimist I can decipher here that it means to be as critical you can since that helps in delving deep into the roots and self introspection. Every effort, attempt is welcome lest it wont make way for complacency.

I am a bit apprehensive about

I am a bit apprehensive about commenting here, because I generally agree with the tone of the article but for two things. So should I drag the comment space with the two disagreements and leave a "lasting mark", or leave this as a good article for posterity, is what bothers me.

Anyway, I cant resist :)

1) From the general tone of the article, I feel that you think that giving the wife the choice to work is part of being a just feminist. Or did I understood it wrong? If not - what's the argument for the wife not working? I mean, if the wife doesnt earn, she will always be dependent on the husband, and there will be a definite power relation.

Saying that she will do household work etc, does not make much sense, because an earning husband can always employ a servant for the same, and why would similar work by the wife valued much differently?

I mean, if the wife has to go to the husband for money for her simple individual needs, surely there's a problem?

2) About joint accounts. However, is it possible to for two independent individuals to share a bank account? How different it is this from having a joint email? Or if I understood what Virgina Woolf wrote correctly, the need for an individual (or especially a woman) to have One's own room? And especially more so about money because it forms a major part of the power relation (at a different level than emails and rooms)...

Thanks Arun

Money and power relations

Hey Arun, There is no dilemma what so ever. Disagreements are welcome. Personally, my conceptual understanding of issues has always been sharpened by such disagreements and I value them.

  1. I think, in the current status of our society, where women, in spite of working still have the major responsibility of handling home and children, it is very important for women to have the choice of whether they want to work or not. If such a choice is not placed before them, then they would be burdened. Since the middle class women do not have the burden of poverty, at least they have that choice. I think, they should exercise it. If not, I see a much more oppressive system, where women are expected to work and be the provider, take care of the children and have the responsibility of taking care of the family as well. I say this, because even in the most modern of houses, where both husband and wife are working, and with servants, a clear demarcation of work seems to be heavier towards the wife.

Then I come to your next point.Whether their not working would cause a kind of dependency which would reinforce the power relation. With the current levels of structural disadvantage for women participating in the workforce(double burden and glass ceiling issues), in some cases, women take the choice not to work. In that case, I ask for a joint account and similar systems which makes it a right for the non-working woman on the man's income. Because I believe, because a woman does not work, she should end up "asking her husband for money for all her individual needs." She does not work. But then, it is also because of her, that the husband ends up making this money. So, it is important, to transform the relationship from that of a "giver and beneficiary" to one where both have equal rights on the income that flows into the family. This will be done, when husbands realise, that the non working wife is contributing equally to the family.

I think it is possible for two people to share a bank account. There are people who do that too. Of course, that was just an indicative example. What I mean is, even if the wife is not working, create systems that shall make the family income her "right" and not an act of benevolence from the husband. Power relations have many other aspects to it, and i think this is one important part.

I think it is impossible for

I think it is impossible for educated women in a modern society to sit at home and do household chores. A housewife can never earn the respect a working wife gets, and hence a role in making decisions. Sitting at home only makes her thoughts petty and herself sad. The reverse is also true, a petty housewife will be a headache for an intelligent man, and he will not get a partner, but a silly housewife who always worries about mundane chores. Like you said, there would a double burden, but the argument we should have is not to give the women the choice of not working and instead doing the menial work at home, but instead, allowing the women to work, and share the chores at home. My familiarity with feminist literature is poor, but I think Friedan's Feminine Mystique talks about the Happy Housewife Heroines and the problems with that argument. If you are familiar with this line of argument, please put forward why do you think it is problematic.

Why joint accounts will not be a solution? The woman will buy something, and she will have to explain why she bought it to the man who put the money into the account. She wants to buy a copy of Feminine Mystique, and the man will say - "dont buy it with my money, earn for yourself if you want that kinda useless stuff" :) If you think it is a rare scenario, I guarantee that it is not, observing the personal experiences of almost everyone in the family proves that you have to earn for yourself to have your freedom.

"This will be done, when

"This will be done, when husbands realise, that the non working wife is contributing equally to the family." Such magnanimity is an impossible dream IMHO. The partner who earns will certainly make the major decisions. And like I said, one can always employ a servant in our country (if they are in a financial position to keep the wife at home), and hence the husband will only think of such work as menial unimportant work (which is quite true - these are the mundane everyday things we all have to do, nothing romantic about it).

I have a wrong order of

I have a wrong order of sentences resulting in a confusion about what is the problematic argument that Feminine Mystique talks about, sorry about that, but I guess you can find it from that context what I really wanted to say.

Arun, first of all there is

Arun, first of all there is need to decide if household chors are petty and menial jobs and futile for their existence in this society? Well, Atleast the states with best standards of life i.e. Scandinavian countries dont think so. Thats why there is provision of issuance of wages to house wives. Back at home, in the state of Kerala too a legislation on similar lines is pending in the state of Kerala to get nod from State Assembly.

Now, why household work should be considered valuable, I think Preethi has well pondered over it her article. Yet let me elaborate it a bit. See, like ensuring education, employment and health facilities to every citizen by the state are considered to contribute to the lubrication of the economic productivity, similar is the case with household chores. Ofcourse, it has been the fruit of consistent efforts of women rights movement in the west that the states have realised the contribution of household work in the economy. Every activity taking place in the society has political and economic relevance.

Rest, your apprehension the while 'sitting' at home and doing 'menial' jobs a woman tend to prove unequal partner to 'intelligent' man. Be cautious with the words you use. It gives me impression as if intelligence is the domain of men only. In my comments above I did mention that every woman is different and so are men. And so is the difference in man and woman but does that difference amounts to inequality or diversity that depends upon the behavioural make-up of the person. In any relationship, one should expect only that much from the other being which you yourself are capable of giving or doing.

And, yes idea of having joint

And, yes idea of having joint bank accounts I find quite pushy. Being in conjugal relation doesn't mean that any individual just abandons every piece of individual identity. I can vividly imagine a blooming love in a relation while both individuals are assertive and take there identities sincerely and respect each other. Whether, a woman works or not but she can always have her own account and can maintain it as she wishes. And if the concern behind, promotion of joint accounts is to ensure security to woman, I doubt it acts as any safety valve. If some one has to commit treachery, person would surely find out the ways. There are enough examples especially the people involved in any kind of illegal acts where there are accounts are or have been jointly owned but maintained by men only and on being caught wives have been implicated for no reason. I personally don't find it a very promising step and will surely not like to have for myself in any case.

As I said, joint accounts is

As I said, joint accounts is just one example that I saw many couples follow. But tell me something, when we say that the wife has equal rights on the family income, that, to me, means access and equal control. How does she exercise control if she is not even aware of the family income? At the same time, the argument is not about joint account, but to operationalise equal rights over family income. Of course, I am not saying that even this would ensure realignment of power relations within the family. I say this, because one hears about many women who are abandoned/divorced in their mid-forties and then a long drawn fight happens on what is due to them. Since nothing, is in their name legally, and because they really have no clue on the family income, they are left in a sorry state. Its not about joint account per se but to ensure legal systems to create joint ownership over family income. Even if the state defines a particular wage for household work, I doubt if it would be ever close to what a man earns.

I have nothing against space!!! And really I am sure there are issues with the joint account system too... but just that, it would certainly bring in a culture of joint ownership of the family income.

Preethi, let me attract your

Preethi, let me attract your attention towards 'property right for women'. If I am understanding well, you and I and many more woman out there would like women to be as much assertive, confident and economically secure as prerequisites of ascending steps of dignified life.. right? In the society of ours a son is right from birth is nurtured to become self reliant, provider, aggressive, confident or perhaps over-confident at the cost of many sensitive values and emotional quotient(i don't have statistics to provide, but it can be take case specific too). While a daughter is groomed to be demure, non-assertive, (aggressive??? no..no.. never - though I dont stand for it either, just in relative degree)and with all those qualities that can be helpful in her becoming good housewife but devoid of any property right. While the son is made conscious of monetary matters of family and taught how to manage it, daughter is dissuaded from doing so. Ironically this isn't the story of only poor household, I am sure, but of middle class, urban spaces inhabiting families. This is a treachery been committed against women and still continuing. If suppose women do get property right, the take it as benevolence of father or brothers. I ask when society gives all the chances to a young man to become self reliant, then why not a women. Rather then hoping from my partner, I would ask my family where I have take birth to ensure a basic economic platform that my brother or cousins get by default. And perhaps it stands valid for any women born in family with decent financial status.

What's the proportion of

What's the proportion of working women to housewives in Scandinavian countries? It is unthinkable for an educated woman from Sweden to sit at home and cook for the man! They want to go out and do interesting jobs!

Now, once such a revolution has been achieved, let's suppose there's a case for one to do more - like in Sweden, where they pay a small sum for either parent who decides to stay at home (I am interested in seeing statistics of how many are taking it?). Also, Sweden does it does not by itself mean that it is the right way :)

In any case, the condition in India is vastly different, and women who do not earn will have to be at the kindness of the husband. By supporting women staying at home and not working, one is merely playing into the hands of patriarchy. With economic independence, at least there will be a choice for personal independence.

Menials jobs are menial, they are not creative or interesting. Their economic and creative value is limited. Period. They need to be done, and they need to be shared. If there's a campaign in America (or Sweden) saying that being a housewife and mother of 6 kids are qualifications of running for President, I aint gonna buy it even if you say that it is coming from the West so it must be right. The West has their own problems, its no perfect world.

First, let me make it clear

First, let me make it clear its not about encouraging a women to remain at home and not to go out and do job. Its about creating situations where she makes her choice. Nor has it been proposed that west is perfect and doesnt have its problems. Every society has to analyse what works for it and what not though taking cues is not a bad idea either. you might like to go through this http://www.idebate.org/debatabase/topic_details.php?topicID=726

I surely don't have any statistical data to update you about the situation in Sweden. Yet, I tend to think should the things in society be decided according to the wish of majority or what does the majority do?

I find it difficult to accept that a working woman is liberated from the clutches of patriarchy. Have working men been able to free himself from bug of patriarchy? Proletariat alone cannot bring or sustain socialism/ communism so is the fact that to diffuse the influence of imperialism both imperial powers and colonies will have to work together. It really needs lot of brainstorming and acceptance of responsibility on both sides.

From your reply I am really tempted to discuss the relevance of marriage, motherhood and the entire gamut of package of nurturing image or role of women.

I did not mean working women

I did not mean working women is liberated from clutches of patriarchy, but only that economic independence is a basic requirement.

I wonder why should women be given a freedom of not working, while men should always work. The Swedish law is gender neutral as far as I understand, but here we are only discussing women!Why?

But what I find even more dangerous than such a theoretical debate is, given such an option, the patriarchal values suddenly resurface, and suddenly there's an image of a good women who takes care of the house while there's the women who is loosing her femininity by choosing to compete in a man's world. The image is exploited by popular entertainment and marketing ad nauseum, and soon it is the prominent image, and people soon start aspiring to that.

An example of a colleague when I was in Bangalore, who said whose wife who was an MBA quit her job because she was "not getting time for cooking", comes to mind. What would happen to her sitting at their lonely home in Bangalore? The husband is working day and night like anyone in IT industry, and it is Bangalore and its difficult to have friends unless you work or is highly sociable (the class stink of the word sociable! ). Was it her choice? I mean, she chose it herself, probably he didnt force her, but couldnt there have been a better solution? What will happen to her life, what if the husband leaves her after a few years, when it will be too difficult to get her job back? Why did she have to sacrifice it in the first place? Why couldnt they share cooking duties, or even eat out, or employ a servant (I know this is not a politically correct solution, but consider it vis-a-vis what happened to her).

I will read the link you gave.

Arun, very pertinent

Arun, very pertinent questions. And I agree with you broadly. I too think why we cannot have gender neutral society. Its quite same as asking why we cannot have caste neutral society. Why all these questions of gender, caste are looming after all? What is the need of discourse around these uncomfortable questions? Why cannot people just take the responsibility of their acts? This takes me to a hard core reality that I am a woman, independent, happens to be politically and socially conscious and take my role as an individual very seriously. I meet many men everyday, inspite of neutrality being practiced by me in every possible sense, I hardly come across men who dont see with the coloured lens of prejudices. I am assertive so can set the things straight many times. But this kind of attitude I have developed irrespective of the geniality of society. At the same time I meet every day many women who struggle, some succeed so fail. You are a women, you dont need to utter it out. Its on your forehead. We wont be talking about gender issues in this tone perhaps when men would also start understanding that issues are gender are not issues pertaining to women but concerning them too.

Regarding your friends' dilemma - if both were earning, I am sure they could afford a cook. some how I am not able to digest that the woman decided to leave job just because she did not get time to cook food, that she was so very fond of having food self prepared food.

Work and home

@Arun

Think, Anon covered a large part of the household work aspect of a woman's responsibilities. Also, I dont know why a housewife should be considered be dumb and petty. She is not working, thats all. It does not even mean that she is not educated. As you very well know, many women stop working after many years of valuable work experience, so that they can take care of their kids. In general, I am very uncomfortable to push a single agenda that women have to work. The organization I work with, also conducts livelihood training for women in rural Karnataka. With their businesses, they make from 500-5000 per month, a majority of women in 1500Rs range. Some men and youth who go through the programme make much more. When we ask women if they can spend more time at business, and thus make more money, they respond, this is all the time that they can provide for the business. Any more time, would only kill them. So, while I understand what you say, I am only thinking which is the easier win. To make men take equal responsibility of household, change stereotypical notions etc OR argue for equal rights on the family income - of course, leveraging the "provider" stereotype of most men and the "i am egalitarian" statement of urban educated men ;-). I chose the latter. But you certainly make me think.

Sitting at home stagnates the

Sitting at home stagnates the mind, makes one lionize simple things at household work that otherwise would have gone uncared, makes one dependent totally on the man, waiting for him to come back in the evening. And in our Indian scenario, it is almost impossible to make friends being a housewife (except neighborhood women). Whereas he has all the fun, friends, money, freedom. Please read the link I gave, it has some stuff about this - about why shopping gets exaggerated, etc.

Your narration about the women in rural Karnataka - well I will contradict: if you look at a construction site, or cultivation in a paddy field, or a cashew-nut factory, you see women working the whole day, right? The poor almost always have no choice about women not working. They have to rush back to work a few days after child bearing - otherwise they will starve. Only when people become middle class, such notions come up.

Ya read the link. Thanks for

Ya read the link. Thanks for that. It it not to romanticize the house wife but in the current state, it is difficult to romanticize the tired working woman too. As i wrote in the comment to ayyapadas, I think I was more concerned about the security aspect of the woman in status quo of her even when she is not working.

I tend to agree with Arun

I tend to agree with Arun over the issue of work. I mean, in a "modern" middle class family half the "inequality" gets removed when there is no complete dependency on each other in financial matters. That is a hard fact and it goes as much with any other kind of relationship (except may be between parents and young children).

The question of "joint bank accounts" etc. should arise only if the suggestion to quit work is from the husband's side and the woman decides in favour of it. I am not against it, but I do not find the need compelling enough or that it could actually solve the problem. For record, my family holds a joint account (mother, father, myself and brother) and it had been like that ever since I remember... And BTW, my mother is a working woman too. But I do not find it compelling to have a joint account with my wife other than for some practical purposes like housing loan or something( for we both will be working anyway). Relatively better parity in my family (with respect to gender) is because as long as I can remember, my father (whenever home) used to cook, do the dishes or even clean the home... and he taught us that looking after own home is "own duty" (not like a woman's job or man's job)... and hence I'm quite comfortable with all the "house jobs"... The point I do not get is doesn't it suffice that somebody (whoever is free) does it?

Now, I do not think it is always the "wife cooks and husband reads newspaper" kind of family structure that is emerging. I agree that there are quite many issues which people have yet not been sensitized.... Also, the ideas we are discussing might only be relevant to 1/8th of the total women population... for the rest 7/8th things are not as simple as even "institutionalized" gender equality will not suffice .... (and at that point I agree and appreciate the drift of your article)....

On the flip side, in general, an "urban educated and aware women" too should shred the image that a "nice guy" is the one who would offer a seat to a lone young lady standing in a bus... Not that this is a very important social contract, but symbollically it shows the substance! ........... Accepting "chivalry" when it is convenient and demanding equality does not go hand in hand. i.e. I respect a woman who would rather gracefully protest a "chivalrous" behavior but demand a rightful position when not offered....

As one of the commentators

As one of the commentators said above, I would love it if all families were as you mention with the husband and wife sharing work equally so that each of them could choose whether to work or not. Even today, among working couples, I hear the husband say, I "help" out! Now, in an increasingly consumerist world, couples want everything. They want the three bedroom flat, the BMWs, and every electronic gadget on earth AND a good family life. And therefore the pressure to earn more. Earning more in a corporate job, means travel, odd hours and being available 24/7 - a reason why many women were not able to reach higher positions as much as men could. In this scenario, the stereotypes were reinforced.

Let me clarify the position of this article. It is more from the point of view of security and protection, rather than about changing power relations in an existing marriage. I talk about security first, because to me survival becomes the first priority. Thus, for me, in the current status quo situation, I dont want women to get a raw deal, after they have given up quite a bit in their lives for the sake of the family. Property rights and having a clear understanding of the husband's income then becomes important to me.

All that you say, is what i would like too. Just that, since that is not happening now, let me atleast make it a secure journey.

Then about the taking the seat in the bus! :)

Ask the assholes who try to touch all the women in the safety of a dark theatre or a public bus to stop, and I shall stop taking seats from nice guys Ask the guy who dares to brush his private parts on vulnerable women in the crowded train to stop, and I shall stop taking seats from nice guys Ask the guy who dared to rape a poor little girl on her way home from work in a train to stop, and I shall stop taking seats from nice guys. Ask those men who think they can "handle" a girl, if she does not conform to their notion of culture to stop, and I shall stop taking seats from nice guys (have you seen nayagan)

I dont even get "equal" when I get the equal. I have to take more than equal at times to balance the loss and I will.

Comment drafted earlier!

I posted the comment which was drafted and saved in the afternoon (3:00 P.M. IST)... So please ignore the incongruities with respect to the ongoing discussion..... :D

OOps! :) Comment written

OOps! :) Comment written before reading this comment. So ignore if i pointed incongruities ;-)

There are points where

There are points where reasonable arguments would stop blowing any sand and would invariably give way to a kind of "primitive reaction" (for lack of a better word).... I did not want this to happen.. But now that you have taken a liberty, let me take the liberty to see through this piece of the argument.

"Ask the assholes who try to touch all the women in the safety of a dark theatre or a public bus to stop, and I shall stop taking seats from nice guys Ask the guy who dares to brush his private parts on vulnerable women in the crowded train to stop, and I shall stop taking seats from nice guys Ask the guy who dared to rape a poor little girl on her way home from work in a train to stop, and I shall stop taking seats from nice guys. Ask those men who think they can "handle" a girl, if she does not conform to their notion of culture to stop, and I shall stop taking seats from nice guys (have you seen nayagan)" ---

  1. Do I see an "I" in each of those statements? So does that imply that you think "I made a personal remark about YOU"? Come on, we hardly know each other and it was too "insensitive" and trivial to take it personal.

  2. The ones you have mentioned are assholes or worse than that... And they do exist! Did I even suggest that such people do not exist or condone such a behaviour? Does the existence or non-existence of such people put a different complexion up on the actual question at hand? If you were putting it as an "argument" -i.e. because perverts exist, women should rather take the seats offered by "chivalrous" strangers - we need to analyse it deeper.

Now, Preethi... I have an experience to share which you can take the liberty to see through or ignore and my point was precisely related to that.

Three years back two people were walking across a busy and crowded street in outskirts of Kolkata. It was about 7:30 P.M. or so, and they thought that they should rather return to the institute where they were studying. But the only vehicle to the next local train station were autorickshaws- and "highly efficient ones" for that matter, which wouldn't move without having exactly 6 people in it! That means 3 in the back and 3 in the front! With 2 men and a woman already occupying the "better seats" (in the back)what would one have done? The man could be a "caring lover" and wait for another auto (which might not be any better) or could request one of the male passengers to move to the front (along with him).. Should he have done that?

What the heck will happen if the young girl sit beside the driver? I know that is not "gentlemanly"according to the laid down conventions!!! But that is just enough. They were late in the queue and all people had equally important businesses back at home.

You know what, the man trusted his lover, and he knew that one wrong move from the driver or any fellow passenger would mean a slap and he would intervene.. In short, he had complete confidence in his lover... and he wasn't bothered about the chivalrous behaviour. She could very well travel like him (at least in most circumstances)... You could call it insensitivity, but for me giving a seat to an elderly lady or man, or a woman with a little child, is a matter of social concern, but not to a young and capable lady. It is simply unnecessary chivalry; and I hate it. I wouldn't even take a seat from a student whom I taught if I am capable of standing by my foot!

If you believe that you are weak, nothing will help you from escaping from it.

Well.. yes, this may not apply to all situations. But the jist of my argument is that assertion of rights are essential, but so are living up to the responsibilities ... And herein, I do not mean women do not do that or that they do it lesser than men. The remark was only intended at a kind of behaviour which may or may not be applicable to everybody. You could very well point out such mannerisms from men. When you are discussing a point about gender equality, you should also be aware that it also mean changing certain stereotypes... And personally, I do not like to find it as "yes" on family issues and "no" when it is public domain issues.

I still dont understand why

I still dont understand why this is primitive, but still.... 1. I did not think you made a personal remark 2. I do think, when a woman is traveling, she need not wait for the earlier said instances to happen. Of course, for me, security is the most important thing for me. This does not mean that the person should not raise her voice, if her body gets violated. But as long as the world consists of perverts, I will take advantage of my rights over the ladies seats and even shout at men sitting in them. By that logic, reservations for women is a sign of weakness, ladies seats is a sign of weakness and what not.

Do you think, the women who take up offered seats in the bus will not travel in your above said situation, because of "moral" issues? I dont think so! In the example that you gave above, I find it funny that you used the word, "trusted his lover"...!!!! Trusted his lover, for what? Noone is talking about trust between people you know. When you have experiences of perverts in public transportation, chances are you would not wait till it happens in your future. My instinct, as a woman, is to be suspicious of the stranger. Does not mean that one will not foster friendships? We have all sat and traveled with strange men. Believe me. But with years of these bizarre experiences, at least I have trained myself to act rude and tough with strange men initially. It has nothing to do with not trusting men or anything. So, if someone takes a seat offered to them, I would not mind. I know she knows what is most important to her at that point.

Also, when women travel alone and take up seats offered to them, dont think they are absolving themselves from all responsibilities to stand up for their rights. In the 100 situations, of traveling alone with strange men and perverts, they might get offered seats 5 times, maybe! I am talking about public transport in India. Why would I ask any woman to not take that offer, because in the 95 times she is fighting for a space, shouting at perverts and what not!

Point very well made Preethi.

Point very well made Preethi.

Missing the point

I still find you missing the point. Before getting into that, just one think to clear up..

", I find it funny that you used the word, "trusted his lover"...!!!! Trusted his lover, for what? Noone is talking about trust between people you know."-- Well, I found this response quite funny for that was good example of reading something out of the context. The word trust was not used in the sense one had confidence in the other's loyalty, it was used to convey the idea that he had trust in her judgment.

Coming to the point, my concern was more about the "idea of a nice guy"-- like the one honourable knight at arms from the 14th century-- than whether or not you accept a seat. When you demand that feminine stereotypes should be remoulded, so should the male stereotypes be. And that is a matter of fairness.

However oxymoron it might sound, there can exist a well mannered and caring "religious bigot" (there might even be a nice Talibani), there could even exist an anti-feudal zamindar. If you choose to be anti religious bigotry and anti-feudalism, and then take the help of a nice bigot or feudalist in their turf, you are indirectly promoting the idea they are representing. A person could be good or bad irrespective of the idea he/she/it represents. When you claim to stand against patriarchy, you ought to know that the basis of the idea of chivalry itself is patriarchy, and a very acute form of it for that matter. And I was not very particular about accepting a harmless seat.

Now your argument about why shouldn't you accept a seat if statistically speaking 95% of the times you are at the receiving end itself speaks a kind of loose conviction. I could argue that I have been a victim of adverse circumstances many a times in my life. I have been harassed by authorities demanding bribes for my legitimate rights. But if I accept a bribe (from a wealthy person who is willing to pay) stating that as a reason, what kind of moral fabric am I made of? May be I have 100 reasons as 'justifications'; may be the bribe was just to push a file and it might not adversely affect general public; may be, I am even financially vulnerable.... but still, I am playing accomplice to a very rotten mentality.

I am not saying that you shouldn't be concerned about security. My point was about not promoting a chivalrous behaviour. It does not go with the equality you are (rightfully) demanding. And it is my observation that quite a number of women do promote chivalry when it is advantageous, while complain about the patriarchy and other systems that puts them 'unequal'. In short it looks awkward when one promotes the idea of a 'chivalrous knight' helping a 'damsel in distress' on one hand and then conduct a symposium on 'coming out of the kitchen'...

I think, i get the basic

I think, i get the basic disconnect between our arguments. Since it was a matter of contention globally, there is no surprise. I must confess, at this point I am deeply influenced by a grassroots women's movement named Huairou Commission- the story of their evolution is itself inspiring -http://www.huairou.org/history. This movement began as a response to the global women's movement that did not seem to include grassroots women and were not taking the issues of the grassroots into consideration - like water, food, livelihoods etc. So when the Beijing Conference was happening, GROOTS International organized a Grassroots Tent as a space for grassroots women’s organizations to gather and share their issues. The other super-coalition members joined GROOTS in the tent, located in the civil society village in Huairou, a suburb of Beijing.

A question of radical feminism not really addressing issues of grassroots women.

I say this because, I want you to understand the dilemma in my mind, even when I argue with you. Personally, I get you. I know, like it was said in one of the comments, we may even need to question the institution of marriage, the assumptions in them, the need for exclusive relationships and many more questions like that.

It is here, that I come to an important point, of my position as a woman as on today.
Because, I know that I have evolved my notions on gender equality from the time that I left home for studies and work. At the risk of being called an elite, I have to admit that my life changed in the post graduation institute that I went to. These days, I work with a feminist boss and my work involves a lot of "conversations" on my rights. You cannot imagine how life has changed for me. The reason I am telling you this, is that - I acknowledge that I have just been plain lucky. To have gone to the colleges that I did, to have not got married at an early age like many of my friends did and to have had the opportunity of working with a feminist boss. If another woman had these opportunities, she would say all the things that I did- that I agree with all that you say about marriage and so on. However, if today, I find a woman sitting in front of me, making plans for dowry for her marriage, I dont think I have the right to look down upon her nor to call her weak. If she was talking to a feminist every day, she could say similar things as me, when it came to dowry. I am very conscious of that game of chance which finally made me say "no man shall marry me for dowry". I say this because security, the perception of insecurity and food is not the same as the idealogical question of bribe. Bribe is just an easy way of getting things done. Poverty in combination with the safety issues of being a woman, is about life itself. If a woman had to take the choice of accepting the offer of a lift vis-a-vis getting raped, i would not really point fingers at her for taking the offer. Now, even if the "fear of getting raped" was just simple fear, I would not be surprised if it had its roots in many years of internalised suppression which never had the opportunity of being questioned. Without offering the opportunity of exploring her assumptions(and to even recognise them), it is too early to tell someone that you are not feminist enough. This is where I totally get Ardra's idea of an evolving feminist. Also because I know that I too have some assumptions in my head which are waiting to be broken, even today.

Essentially, I think I touch upon two aspects of your "damsel in distress " argument. Either, it is a question of plain safety, security and survival OR it is a question of several years of internalised gender assumptions. For the first, I have no right to impose my idealism on her. She has to survive. Period. For the second, I could help question her assumptions, but even while doing so, I shall be very conscious of the opportunities that i might have had that she did not, and the fact that i am also in a similar journey of evolution as she is. So, neither do I find it awkward or hypocritical.

PS: Since the time, I was poked in a mumbai train in a general compartment, I would take the offer of a seat from a man in a crowded train. I would take the offer of lift from a man in Delhi, if I did not have a car. I may not wear a revealing dress in a known dangerous area.

PS2: Here too, one can be radical. I think, a collective voice may question assumptions like the slut walking in London.

Fair enough. I get the drift

Fair enough.

I get the drift of your thoughts. People are generally victims of their circumstances and I consider myself lucky in a lot of different aspects pertaining to life (parental approach, good friends and intellectual companions, inspiring teachers, being introduced to reading books at a relatively early age etc). And yes, there is no way one can impose his/her/it's convinced ideals up on others too.

The comparison with the case of bribery was anecdotal, but again there is a point there. I admit that the issues related to "security" and "survival" are much more harsh realities, or let us say much more statistically significant vulnerability (to put it crudely). Yet, there is a moral premise that one need to define for an ideology. You could, or rather should, be able to say that while accepting a generous offer of a seat is fine in the Indian public transport system, another example like "accepting the offer of a boyfriend to pay your mobile bill when you can afford it is not" (I know it is a silly example, but an example nevertheless!)....

Now, the disconnect between ideal case and reality is not particular about feminist movement itself. All ideologies have such dilemma pertaining to the 'course need to be taken' and the 'course ought to be taken' at many a points. It is indeed a moral dilemma. But the reason why I made a point about "promoting chivalry" (not to be mistaken with accepting it when your existence depends on it), is because of a glaring gap in the argument about equality in house hold aspects that you were making- or at least I found it so.

Think one level further, when you argue for demolishing the "female stereotype", it immediately imply breaking the "male stereotype" too since both are intertwined. That would probably mean a father who might give the same toys to both a little girl and a little boy (if I borrow my fiance's words- not someone who would buy a ball to a little boy and a doll to a little girl); that might mean somebody who wouldn't pierce the ears of the little girl at a young age for ceremonial reasons; also somebody who do not care to "respect" women (like "yathra naaryashu poojyathee, ramanthe tathtra devathaa ha") but treat people gender neutral. That would mean "fair" but never giving ANY preferential treatment... Sure, there could be need based positive reservations (i.e. with respect to power relations and its manifestations)!!

I agree that we live in a very unequal society and some kinds of "preferential treatments" might be required to introduce justice and parity. Yet, at the bottom line you need to make it clear that your standpoint is that "we can stand on both feet provided you give the same kind of ground you are standing at". And as much as I could read, it was more in the line of "we need a different ground"..... Or, were I wrong?

Point taken

I am certainly saying, "we can stand on both feet provided you give the same kind of ground you are standing at". I just feel the same kind of ground is far off, as on today. There is no doubt about the responsibilities that one needs to take while seeking rights. And am completely with you, when you say that the stereotypes for men also need to be broken down and that I did not focus on it at all in this post. Or even on the responsibilities of women. Point taken :)

Good Article.

Good ponints.

letme point out some more areas where people actually think that they are liberal and supports equality, but still being partial.

  1. its a common misunderstanding that, in a marriage, man needs to be older than women. Not even same age. There will be silly reasons to support such as a more matured male will lead to happy married life etc. I care to differ. There is a hell lot of politics involved here. I leave it for the readers to decide what are those.

  2. If one of the parents need to sit at home, leaving the career, to look after the kids it has to be the female. i dont see a reason for this as well.

  3. Men allowing their wives to work or allowing the female to decide whether they should work or not are in support of equality. I care to differ with them as well. Where does this qn of allowing or allowing to decide come from? It's every individual's right to decide their profession. Noone needs to give them that freedom. :)

I agree with you when you say that if women are not given the freedom to choose whether to work or not it can lead to a situation where female will have to work at office as well as work at home. double burden. But what I think is that we should implement stuff such as paternal leaves etc and each individual no matter male or female should participate in family related responsibilites not as part time help, but in full. Its not always women's resbonsibilty to carry family related workload. Each individual - no matter male or female - should have a career and should take up family responsibilites. no choice here please.

let me quote your own words, "If it is not equal, it’s just that - not equal."

Totally agree on the paternal

Totally agree on the paternal leaves part. I guess Norway has some interesting legislation where men are forced to take paternity leaves. "At the moment, the government covers 100 per cent of salary for 46 weeks, or 80 per cent for 56 weeks. Of that time, nine weeks are reserved for mothers and ten weeks for the father, with the rest of the time transferable between partners." : http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/05/norway-government...

sthree samathvam

sthree samathvam,..., sthree samathvam ennu ivar urakke vilichu parayum. Ennitto, adukkalayile gas cylinder kaaliyaayi kazhiyumpol melottu nokki nilkum!!

ee comment idaaan anonymous

ee comment idaaan anonymous aayi idunaathinekaal melottu nokki nikkunna sthreekal ethra bedam

Dont know who you are talking

Dont know who you are talking about, but when a gas cylinder is empty, my grandmother who didnt study beyond high school will get out the kitchen, go to the nearest place with a telephone and make a phone call. It is as simple, you can tell the who you were talking about about this :)

Also, when the guy comes with the gas to our house, to move it from the front of the house to the kitchen, it used to be me and my mother doing it (this was when I was a kid, ever since I went away from home, my sister took my place), because my father was afraid it will break his bones :)

:) play the bowl, not the

:) play the bowl, not the bowler.

Its a good article , i must

Its a good article , i must agree.
Indian men ,like you said have come a long way especially the so called elite. We still have a long way to go for us to claim that we are equals .

I agree on most of issues discussed in this article ,to name a few your thoughts on domestic violence , financials which is very prevalent even in urban froward class.

But we are forgetting the main reason for this inequality during our adult life is because we were never treated equals when we were children. Positive discrimination is universal problem with a girl child ,she is treated special ;inculcating a sense of vulnerability in her . who says she likes pink color ,why is that you give her a barbie ,why can she not play football at the age of 3? why a mother says do not cry like a girl?

Is it all so true?

Well, let me first comment that the article did indeed have some good hard hitting truths. I think I myself have to rethink my ideologies somewhere.
But then, it saddens me that this article is dealing only with financial equality, in the pretext of equality? Is equality only about the money you have in the account? Is there not something about the respect we have for each other?
Well, may be I am expressing a very personal view here. But I feel that equality means the freedom to make decisions, with equal liberty. And for that, financial independence or dependence for that matter, though has a role, is not as much as a hindrance. For example, in office, there are superiors/ managers who have the authority to take decisions while there are subordinates who cant, because there are differences in the authority vested in them. Thats not that good an example, but it reflects that decisions are forced on someone from someone higher up in position. But in society, if everyone can take (man or woman) their on decisions, thats freedom to decide and when that happens, there is equality. Equality of decision making, which eventually I feel is equality in the holistic sense.
Let me just put a point across. What do you feel of the reservation for ladies? From posts in services to even seats in public buses? Is there equality? Why dont we have seats reserved for men, women and some general seats? That should be equality, in the true sense. Well,I dont personally advocate men, women and general seats, but that was just for an argument to know your view.

പ്രതികരണങ്ങള്‍

#41. :) play the bowl, not the bowler., Anonymous, 5 years ago