We Need To Unshackle Our Women

NAINA SINGH

A recent survey by Nielson revealed that Indian women are the most stressed out in the world – 87 percent of our women feel stressed out most of the time! This statistic itself caused me to stress out. Even in the workaholic America, only 53 per cent of women feel stressed.

What are we doing to our women? I may be biased, but Indian women are the most beautiful in the world. As mothers, sisters, daughters, colleagues, wives and girlfriends, we love them. Can you imagine life without these ladies? It would be a universe full of messy, aggressive and egomaniacal males running the world, trying to outdo each other for no particular reason. There would be body odour, socks on the floor and nothing in the fridge to eat. The entertainment industry would die. Who wants to watch movies without actresses?

Children would be neglected and turn into drug addicts and psychopaths by the age of ten. Soon, all male world leaders would lose their tempers at the slightest provocation and bomb the guts out of each other’s countries. In short, without women and their sanity, the world would perish.

Yet, look at how we Indians, a land of spiritual people treat them. At an extreme, we abort girls before they are born, neglect their upbringing, torture them, rape them and honour kill them. Of course, these criminal acts are performed by a tiny minority. However, a majority of us are involved in lesser crimes. We judge our women, expect too much out of them, don’t give them space, and suffocate their individuality. Imagine, if you did this to men, wouldn’t they get stressed out?

At a broader level, this isn’t just about our women. We Indians have a habit of exploiting anyone without power. As a flip side, we are suckers for anyone with power. We look up to the corrupt politicians, keep voting them back and feel they are entitled to loot us silly, just because they are in power.

In fact, we love power so much that when the power comes to a woman, we automatically begin to regard her well, too. Goddesses, female politicians, senior mothers in a household with a firm grip on family power – they all get our respect. Anyone else doesn’t.

Women have to become more ambitious, dream bigger and have a fire in their bellies. Perhaps because of the way the Indian society is structured, our women are not encouraged to be as ambitious as men. However, for their own sake and the nation’s sake, all Indian youth must have ambitions and aspirations to do well and reach their maximum potential in life.

Many Indian women have done much better than men. Women can be truly capable and talented as men are and sometimes, even more so. And yet, when a woman sacrifices her dreams and career for a man, it is expected of her. It is time that all this changes. Indian men need to keep their dominating, inflated male egos aside and assist them in their dreams. After all, a woman’s life is not all about making hot chapattis and spending her entire life in the kitchen.

In some ways, women endure disguised slavery. In the civilized, developed world, where women have choices, they do not choose to live like this. We need to be more comfortable with the idea of an Indian woman expressing herself. We think we care for them, but we suffocate them in the name of security, safety, morality, tradition, or culture.

Ask some questions. Where have we gone wrong in our traditions and what do we need to change? We need to unshackle our women. As a woman, it is very important to feel empowered. She needs to be capable, independent and career oriented. Being successful and strong is what will make Indian men respect women more. Help them play their part. Don’t just tolerate, but accept and celebrate our successful women. They take our homes ahead and our countries forward. Every girl deserves a journey of self-discovery. Let’s present a better India for our little girls.