While we treat ourselves with hypocrisy, can we demand that men do away with the bigotry in our society?

Is it time Indian women redefined gender equality
Voices Monday, August 24, 2015 - 12:42
Written by  Punarvasu

The modern Indian woman is increasingly vocal in voicing her protest against the prevalent sexism in the country. Time and again, we highlight the imbalance of gender power and bemoan the discrimination meted out against us, at every step, from our houses to our offices and most definitely in more public sphere like roads, transport systems and restaurants. 

But are there biases in our society that work in our favour and do we, then, conveniently take the perks handed to us without question or complain? And if so, aren't we all guilty of convenient sexism? Some may argue that our society is still heavily tilted towards the male population in many ways and little perks that women get are like a drop in an ocean.  But from a macro perspective, doesn’t it defeat the whole concept of gender equality? 

We fight vociferously when a man occupies the seat reserved for women in public transport but it’s completely alright when we occupy the ones reserved for senior citizens. 

We speak of being treated equally, and even as we rant to our dates about how we are looked down as the weaker sex, we expect him to pay the bills and ensure that he drops us back home.  Pubs and clubs which make couples and 'stags' shell out an arm and a leg as cover charge for entry allow single women free of cost. The logic might actually be debasing women by treating them as commodities, using them as baits to entice men. 

Successful, prosperous women often, while looking for a partner or spouse, hope to and sometimes insist on  man who earns at least as much, preferably more. While the male ego could be a contributor to this attitude, it has definitely been internalised by most women. 

The society too, in some small ways and some more significant ones hesitate while applying certain yardsticks to us. In many places where women security is not employed, women don’t get frisked and even checked. Cant women very well be threats or carry object that can be threats? How many times do we complain that our bags are not checked? Even in Karnataka state secretariat, Vidhan Souda, while women's bags are scanned, because if the availability of women security at the scanners, at the various entrances, women are allowed without being frisked..

In the same breath that we speak of gender equality, we ask for quota. The Women's Reservation Bill which proposes to earmark 33% of seats in Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women is seen as a path-breaking, women-empowering move. But doesn't quota trounce merit and defeat equality, yet again? Even in the recent BBMP elections, the reserved seats were mostly filled by women who were proxies for their husbands, further demeaning the merit of the woman candidate. If there is a lady, who is capable, won't she be able to win purely on her eligibility even against other men?

While we treat ourselves with such hypocrisy, can we demand that men do away with the bigotry in our society? I'm not just talking about the Saas-bahu soaps where a woman is another woman's strongest enemy, but even in real life, we women tend to treat ourselves with kid gloves and expect to be viewed as strong peers. While we dream of and clamour for an egalitarian society, charity should begin at home, and we should redefine gender equality.