Men Need to Change their Ideology too
It is a strategy based on small wins—incremental changes that have the power to transform organisations positively for both men and women
By: Dr. Narendra Malhotra
"Women are not dying because of the diseases we cannot treat; they are dying because societies have yet to make the decision that their lives are worth saving" - Prof. Fathallah
In most of our world even today there is a gender bias and a major son preference; with only two countries showing a daughter preference – Jamaica & Venezuela.
The problem of gender bias is more evident and glazing in South Asian countries especially in India.
• Males out number females at birth (1000/916)
• Female mortality is much higher as infant and child
• Level of education is lowest in Indian women as compared to the world
• There is a gender bias against women and they have no power of decision making in many cases
• Girls have less access to food and healthcare than boys
• Dowry deaths are still happening
• Women are still being abused, teased and raped
• Purdah system & child marriages are still prevalent
• Women have no chance and access to sanitation, menstrual pads, regulating their own fertility, contraception, access to health, safe delivery, etc.
• Male child is always designated as head of the family and household and natural successor and heir to all familial properties
• Only sons can pray for the release of souls of their dead parents
These and many more of such practices in India has made our society a male dominant and a son is considered as-
1. Economic utility
2. Socio-cultural utility
3. Religious utility
While daughters are considered as an economic liability due to the dowry and heavy costs of weddings.
The problem of women in India is of WEEEEP: Women, Education, Employment, Empowerment, Environment, Problem.
To make the new Indian women more literate & healthier who will tackle this WEEEP – its men also have to change their ideology, their thinking, their outlook towards women.
Men need to understand and boys need to be sensitised that right next to them is a girl who is now getting educated, employed, empowered and she needs to be nurtured to reach the top and break that glass ceiling
The Government of India, NGOs and many societies all are working overtime on the projects of educating women in India. Primary school education is free, secondary school education is free for girls or highly subsidised and lots of scholarships are available, yet we appear to have failed. She is educated now even in village but she still does not matter and she still cannot decide and her problems of W.E.E.E.E.P are still the same.
FOGSI in 2008 realised that just academics is not enough to bring about a change in MMR hence the slogan - Beti Bachao Beti Padhao was coined and was FOGSI's theme with the FOGSI daughter parked with 7 ribbons to highlight the problems of girls and women in India.
Today, we FOGSIANS feel it is a great pride that the Government of India under a very progressive forward-looking dynamic leader Shri Narendra Modiji adopted this slogan as a national movement.
So yes educate (first E) the girls we must.
These girls of India even from rural backgrounds are now clearing graduation and pursuing post-graduation courses, but very small percentage of these girls are working or get employment worth their education. Hence, the government needs to work on providing ample jobs and equal opportunity to girls and women on all posts.
Even the Indian Air Force now has women fighter pilots, albeit only a handful currently.
So, the 2nd "E" of WEEEEP has to be addressed on a war footing if we want to be near S.D.Gs till 2030.
The 3rd "E" is the environment. India still struggles with clean portable water, hunger, clean air, toilets: the list is endless. Yes, we have started on many fronts and Swachha Bharat and Toilets India are two great initiatives; but it's the people of India who need to be educated on civic sense, clean water, hand hygiene, menstrual hygiene, food hygiene, toilet hygiene and environmental hygiene.
The 4th "E" is empowerment. What is empowerment and how can we empower our women? Broadly, women empowerment means there should be no discrimination between men and women. Women when they are born in India should be able to enjoy the same social rights.
H.E.R (Health Empowerment Respect), which was the FOGSI theme of 2018, depicted that a professional organisation is so sensitive to women's need and will go all out to work with all stake holders to empower women so that she remains healthy and can work and live with respect.
The changing roles of both genders
Men need to understand and boys need to be sensitised that right next to them is a girl who is now getting educated, employed, empowered and she needs to be nurtured to reach the top and break that glass ceiling.
Men need to respect this. The traditional roles, which were taught to boys & girls – that boys are a more superior gender, needs to change. It's been grilled into the minds of both genders right since a tender age – at home, at school and by the society. This assumes that men will be aggressive and will be the earning members, while women will stay at home and produce children, cook and clean.
These roles are changing and today women are balancing career with families and are aspirants for top jobs also. However, issues like wage gap and glass ceiling are still faced by women.
Traditional roles need to be redefined now and many men have accepted this and are breaking out and accepting women as partners, but this number is less.
It took a revolution to get women where they are in business today. But now, to push hard-won gains wider and deeper, a different approach is necessary.
It is a strategy based on small wins—incremental changes that have the power to transform organisations positively for both men and women.
The perspective "Boys will be Boys" needs to be dispelled.
We now have to change our slogan too – from Beti Bachao Beti Padhao to Beti Bachao Beta Samjhao.