Womanhood, patriarchy and stride towards equality
Women who constitute almost or more than half of the globe’s population, have been playing multiple roles since the time immemorial. Of course, their roles vary according to the surrounding and context. Before being betrothed, most of them play the role of a docile daughter and obedient sister, carrying out most of the household chores unhesitantly, and if they turn out to be the eldest sibling, and if they have working mothers, they experience the pain of parenthood in their tender age as they are solely responsible for the wellbeing of their younger siblings and are always hovering around them to make sure about their safety and feeding them timely. Daughters have been proven to be acknowledging the hardship of their parents and always provide their supportive hands in managing the household, as parents always have high expectations from their growing daughters, regarding their share of work in the household both in their presence or if they are out for earning. To add more, many girls have spoiled their studies and performed poorly in the schools not because they ignore their studies, rather due to excessive workload at home especially in the rural parts that hinders their day to day study hours. Of course, even in the urban settings, very few sons may be spotted in the kitchen doing cooking, fetching water, cleaning the house etc. But daughters manage to do most of such chores automatically as if it’s ingrained in their genes.
It’s all part of our socialization process in most of the traditional and stereotypical society that teaches much different values to sons and daughters. As Tennyson has quoted, “Man for the field and woman for the hearth”, “Man for the sword and for the needle she”, “Man with the head and woman with the heart: Man to command and woman to obey; All else confusion”. This is how we have been socialized, all the exterior and value adding work for males and female members to stay indoors and remain submissive. Despite high pitched slogans by different women and feminist groups worldwide, we are yet to find any reflective changes in most of the women’s life in the conservative traditional societies.
The masses of women clamouring and chanting slogans for equality may disgruntle the world of men who proudly say “You are entitled 33% reservations in almost every sphere including politics, why aren’t you grabbing it?” However, the sad story lies in the fact that even 33% premise doesn’t get fulfilled most of the time. Are women really showing their cold shoulder towards politics and development affairs, or the truth is something else? The reason is- they receive completely different socialization since their upbringing.
In our kind of society, girls are still considered vulnerable and delicate, whereas boys receive the tag of Macho man. Androgenous girls with masculine boldness are often criticized and looked down upon, while those girls adhering to their typical gender roles are much revered and seen positively. This stereotypical mindset often obstructs our young girls from crossing their gender based boundary.
So it is a high time we bring rigorous change in the mentality of our so called cultured and richly flavored society, and socialize both our sons and daughters not differently but instilling them with the same values and moral duties. It is quite indispensable to convey the crucial message that household chores are not the women’s department, rather to be carried out together. Providing equal avenues will surely bring noticeable transformation in women’s lives and will help to accelerate their number in all the professional and development spheres. Instead of looking for the proper grooms for their grown up daughters, parents need to motivate them and inculcate the values like self-reliance, self-sustenance and high self-esteem that make them know their strengths, challenge their weaknesses, and feel good about themselves and their life.