TALKING TO ‘EMPOWERED INDIAN WOMEN’ ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
It is the International Women’s Day - a day for us to celebrate women all over the world, and why not? We have made huge progress in overcoming age-old gender biases. Violence against the Indian woman is being addressed, and women are turning up in increasing numbers to vote (Bihar saw an increase from 42% to 57% in the last Assembly Elections*). Our Prime Minister recently pointed out that we need to move towards “women-led development” rather than just “women’s development.”
With so much going on with women’s empowerment in India, how do women look at being empowered? We spoke to a few women who have managed to go beyond gender stereotypes, and here’s what they shared with us.
1. An entrepreneur, and a dynamic addition to Bangalore’s thriving start-up scene
Nayantara Kochhar strongly advocates self-dependence and confidence when it comes to being empowered. She believes that our society is changing, and there is a positive tide turning things around. While there have been instances where people have assumed her choices as being “typically what a woman would do,” she has not seen them as setbacks, but as challenges and situations to overcome. This leads us to ask- what is stopping more women like Nayantara from taking charge of their own lives?
2. A software developer making a name for herself in a male-dominated field
When women go out into the world to achieve success and run their own lives they are seen as a threat to the men there. We have to ask what it is within our society that feels threatened by an empowered woman.
3. A housewife looking to get back to work
As a stay at home mother who eventually aims to get back into dentistry, she often has people trying to discourage her from those plans.The gender bias is particularly strong at places where men are considered as breadwinners and women as homemakers.
4. A Psychologist and consultant
She is fully aware of the absurdity of the situation - that in spite of being an accomplished and strong person, she is questioned by random people about her ability to drive, solely because of her gender. Regardless of how empowered she feels because of her qualifications and profession, her gender becomes a defining factor and her sole identity while she drives.
Does our attitude towards women drivers empower them, or does it make it more difficult for them to be self-dependent?
5. A firebrand activist and a feminist voice
Sonam speaks to the core of what women are still struggling with today. There are successful and empowered women out there in the world, but there is a huge segment of society which still sees these women as threats and views them as “spoilt” or “modern” - which becomes their antithesis to what an ideal Indian woman should be.
We are at a point in history where we have overcome gender biases which the previous generations fought, and we are now seeing the birth of a new set of biases - biases which define how an empowered woman should be, and exactly how empowered she can be. What good are opportunities if they do not enable women to get out of the confines of gender bias? It’s time we paused to reflect to think if we are really moving towards women’s empowerment, or if we are just drifting towards a different kind of gender bias. Has the status of women in India truly changed?
This International Women’s Day, let’s take a step back and reconsider what gender empowerment actually means, and how we can achieve it.
In a country where, child sex ratio has declined from 945 in 1991 to 914 in 2011, the significance of the National Girl Child Day, observed and commemorated on 24th of January every year, cannot be overemphasised. Subsequently, the observance of this day, earmarked for raising awareness abo...
Shock and shame – this is how most women in south Asia remember the onset of their menstrual cycle, and it changes their world entirely. The greatest irony is that menstruation is absolutely essential for survival and perpetuation of humankind, but most societies don’t want to d...
One woman dies every hour due to dowry harassment in India. * The anti-dowry harassment law (498A) has helped women gain confidence to come and report domestic abuse, but there has been an increasing anger towards it. As the debate continues on the use and misuse of it, we decided to as...
Select categoryWomen empowerment and issues How acts and laws work Elections Know your Police Current Issues Expert Speak Budget
Meet the man who is riding across India for a cause – to call an end to crimes against women. Since March,...
It's hard not to bring up the depiction of women in media when we speak of ending violence against women. T...
I am Pooja Chopra. I am a model, actress and a survivor. I think my story has been told many times. How my ...