The issues related to women discrimination and harassment have occupied center stage for quite some time now. The conceptualization of Gender Equality is witnessing numerous dynamic modifications which are taking place rapidly. Though we are vociferously talking about this topic every now and then, most of us are still oblivious to the proper definition of this concept. According to United Nations, Gender Equality refers to “the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men and girls and boys. Equality does not mean that women and men will become the same but that women’s and men’s rights, responsibilities, and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female.”
We all are well aware that women have been suppressed in our society and are still facing a lot of hurdles and obstacles in their path to success. They have been shackled by the walls of stereotypes and are struggling to break free. But a sad fact is that, this issue has assumed a distorted understanding which is being reiterated again and again by a certain class of pseudo-intellectuals (a person who pretends to be of greater intelligence than he or she in fact is.) with most of them sharing a common feature of . Surprisingly, we have forgotten to take into account the stereotypes and the burdens surrounding men. Most of us aren’t talking about attaining equality anymore but giving a ‘distinct’ set of rights to the women. Doesn’t this kill the notion of Gender Equality right then and there?
A World Health Organization survey done in 2011 reports that almost in every country, the suicide rate of men is higher than those of women, including India. Discussions exploring its factors are scare and rare. Therefore, let’s just find out the reason behind this trend.
From the very moment a boy is born, it is forcibly stuffed into his mind that he must become an engineer, doctor or the least an architect to have a ‘solid’ career in order to support his family when he grows up. If the interest of the boy lies in more creative spheres like that of being a writer, musician or an actor he would be a subject of embarrassment for the family, a magnet of zillion questions from relatives and the target of countless social slings and arrows. Some boys of steely conviction don a mask of epitomized tolerance and move ahead to turn their dreams into reality. Many of them give up in mid-way and are married off while a handful of them achieve their goals. Women have also been the victim of these circumstances since ages but accepting and vouching for both the genders would be a great step towards Gender Equality.
We all are baffled by the idea that a man cannot and should not cry. Even if his once happy marriage is falling apart, he is not supposed to cry, if his mother or father dies, he is supposed to stay strong, support his family and not cry, if he is subjected to the constant stripping of his dignity by his boss, he is definitely not supposed to cry! It is cruel to expect such a thing from a human species member. He has as much right to express his grief as a woman does, but somehow society finds this a little bizarre!
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 has also seen huge misuse by females and their relatives to settle cores with the husband. Several husbands have spent days in jails on false complaints by their wives. The law gives a certain edge to women over men which is not right at all.
There are many more examples where men do suffer discrimination but usually they suffer in silence in order to conform to the stereotypical arrangement of the society. The piled-up frustration due to career, marital problems, wife-mother tussles, financial burdens, peer group pressure, children etc. explode in such a way that does not look and sound pleasant to others, epically to women.
Therefore, it is extremely pertinent to talk about equality between both men and women in the true sense and not just about the progress of anyone’s echelon.
“You don’t have to be anti-man to be pro-woman”
–Jane Galvin Lewis