Saturday, March 8, 2014
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY- Post-1 -WOMAN'S ROLE IN ENSURING WOMAN'S RIGHTS
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
International women’s Day is celebrated on 8th, March of every year. This year’s theme set by the UN head Quarters is - “Equality for women is progress for all”.
UN Women has launched #HeforShe – a new equality branding campaign, in which men all over the world are encouraged to speak out against the inequalities faced by women and girls.
About International Women’s Day
The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March during the International Women’s Year 1975. Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.
The UNO has been striving a lot for bringing in Gender Justice across the world :
Let us take a look at the UN Themes for the International women’s Day in the Past :
Year UN Theme
1996 Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future
1997 Women and the Peace Table
1998 Women and Human Rights
1999 World Free of Violence Against Women
2000 Women Uniting for Peace
2001 Women and Peace: Women Managing Conflicts
2002 Afghan Women Today: Realities and Opportunities
2003 Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals
2004 Women and HIV/AIDS
2005 Gender Equality Beyond 2005; Building a More Secure Future
2006 Women in Decision-making
2007 Ending Impunity for Violence Against Women and Girls
2008 Investing in Women and Girls
2009 Women and Men United to End Violence Against Women and Girls
2010 Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All
2011 Equal Access to Education, Training, and Science and Technology: Pathway to Decent Work for Women
2012 Empower Rural Women, End Poverty and Hunger
2013 A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence Against Women
2014 Equality for Women is Progress for All
Different Countries have different levels of real, practically existing, women’s rights. In general, poorer, more uneducated countries have lesser women’s rights. Though Muslims will vociferously protest, Islamic countries certainly have lesser women’s rights than non-islamic countries. But, women activists are rising and fighting for their rights.
Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan is a shining example of this fight for women’s rights in Pakistan. She was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by the Taliban for advocating for girls' education. But, she survived and her spirit in fighting for her rights goes far beyond any fears of attack by the Taliban or by the Pak clerics/clergy.
Taslima Nasrin is a Bangladeshi woman writer who is also fighting – equally energetically – for women’s rights. She became the target for attacks by fundamentalist Muslims in Bangladesh for her 1993 novel Lajja, or Shame, in which she describes how a Hindu family is persecuted by Muslims. This publication changed her life and career dramatically. In India, a Muslim cleric offered a bounty of Rs.5 lakhs for anyone who beheads her. Many fundamentalist Islamic organizations violently protested against her. But, her spirit remains unfazed. It is a shame that India failed to warn her baiters and punish for abetting a heinous crime like Murder of this brave lady. My observation is - women’s activists in India also fail to protect her rights. In general, women are afraid of Islamic fundamentalists , including their clergy - in voicing support for achieving equal rights for Muslim women on par with other non-Muslim women, leave aside on par with Muslim men. There are many other Muslim women who are fighting for their rights in Bangladesh, but periodically, there is also uprising of fundamentalists to suppress their rights, forcefully and violently as well.
In India, crimes against women have been rising at an alarming rate. Bad Education and bad social and Political environment is at the core of all this mess. There is almost no day on which a rape or a gang rape does not occur in some part of India – in fact, in many parts of India. Rapes of small children to very old women – are all occurring in different parts of India. Rapes apart, Eve-teasing is too very common at Bus stops, inside Buses and trains and at Parks and other public places. Domestic violence is also common in many states. Dowry menace still exists in many states.
In my view, the solution does not lie in making more and more stringent laws, but in making our Education more ethical, more value-based and more character-inculcating. Today, India is imparting a most character-less education and that is at the root of all the evils of India, including the crimes against women. Without enriching education with ethics, morals, character, courage and nationalism, whatever else we teach – will make our children mindless robots. And, that is what is happening.
Women and men should make the governments at the centre and states to make this happen.
The very institution of caste would have vanished from India, without pain to any one, if only our Education keeps this as a Goal.
All crimes against women would vanish, if only our education keeps this as a goal.
The mother-in-law vs Daughter-in-law paradox would never be there, if only women know how to love their daughters-in-law and mothers-in-law. And, this could be easily achieved through proper education.
Today, we always insist on rights – but never teach responsibilities and do not insist on responsibilities. This is the major cause of all of our ills.
Mother-in-law has certain responsibilities- mainly to love and care for the D-in-law also, like she does for her own son, and she must also to strive for closeness of the son and the d-i-law.
D-i-law also has certain responsibilities – chiefly to take at least 50% of the aged/ageing M-i-law’s burden on to herself and also not to create distance between the mother and the son. When we talk of women’s rights, these aspects come first and foremost. If these aspects are taken care of, there is no dowry problem, there is no domestic violence and the home is just the place where women will be most happy. No laws are required and no police man or judge is required to regulate the Home. Indian Police is the most unsuitable organization, for entering our homes to settle home-disputes.
There should be a social, Quasi judicial organization to settle our internal disputes by suitable counseling. Instead, today, horrendous things are happening. On the one side, torturing the d-i-law/wife is still there in many states. On the other hand, unscrupulous d-i-laws are increasing in number who lodge false complaints against all in-laws and put them in Police custody. I don’t understand how we can believe the d-i-law so blindly and put all i-laws in Police custody / jail? In all such cases, counseling and ascertaining of facts by a social, Quasi-judicial, impartial organization, whose aim should be to restore cordiality in the home among all – must be the ideal, first step. Police should not be allowed to enter into homes in such disputes.
Women must realize that daughter in law and mother in law are both women and both have their rights and responsibilities. Your son only, is your daughter-in-law’s husband. Just as you love your son, you have a responsibility to ensure his character and value system. You must ensure that he loves and cares for his wife. The D-i-law must also realize that the son must continue to love his mother and care for her.
D-i-law must integrate herself totally into her new home. Then only, most problems of women will vanish. This system has sound logic and reasoning behind it. If women look from the view point of the eldest woman in the family, from the view point of the mother in the family, this logic will be amply clear. But, at the same time, the new family must quickly welcome and adopt the D-i-law into their family. Woman has this capability of assimilating herself into her husband’s family inbuilt in her. This was always happening in the earlier days. It is in recent decades that this adoption process is suffering serious problems. This capability is not there in the man. If he goes into a new family, he will not only be a fish out of water there, but, there will be problems in his relationships with the women in the new family and also with the men in the family. I do not want to go in greater detail on this – but the existing system of d-i-law being well adopted in the new family is the best and only solution.
This solves many of women’s problems easily and smoothly. In the next post, I shall deal with man’s rile on women’s problems.