Post by on Wednesday, March 9, 2022
March 8 was celebrated as International Women’s Day (IWD) across the world, J&K UT being no exception. This year the theme given by UN is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”. Over the years, it has become customary for people to debate on issues pertaining to women on the International Women’s Day. Some cite achievements of women in different fields of life while others talk and write about their plight. With it the question of gender equity has once again come to the fore. Admittedly, there are some genuine concerns related to gender equity and women empowerment which have not received the kind of attention they deserve. With threadbare discussions and debates at hand, it seems there can be no magic wand to wish away the problems women have been facing. J&K UT is not immune to some of these problems and looking the other way in the given circumstances is equivalent to conceding to defeat. With many of the deep-rooted women issues intricately woven in the social fabric, the government alone cannot do much. We have more than often seen cries for women empowerment end up with demands of reservation. Special policies and plans have been devised, yet the progress has been so slow as to render the exercise futile and meaningless. Besides, reservations is not an answer to most problems faced by the women in the valley. Take example of this issue – women harassment. While we can have a slew of laws and svelte social mores, it does not necessarily prevent it. The law only fixes the aberration post incident, may act as a deterrent too, but it does not lift the woman in a manner that she equals the man. Even on equality, people have reservations, citing references from an ideal way of life bound in defined traditions and customs. Nevertheless, there is one point that is often missed – how much has the society changed and whether certain traditions and customs should cede to the new conditions in the changed society? The government may increase the number of police officers, strengthen the security net, let women represent in more institutions, have severe laws to stop incidents like acid throwing, harassment or abuse on roads or in public transport, tighten the noose on dowry, domestic or any other violence to victimize women –the problems still can’t be wished away, unless and until man willingly gives woman her rightful space. Solution may lie in the deconstruction of the entire socio-psychology and addressing the issues at different societal levels.