THE NEED FOR FEMINISM IN THIS “MODERN ERA”
Author: Dishna Wilson, IV year of B.A.,LL.B.(Hons.) from SRM School of Law, SRM University, Tamil Nadu
I would like to start this article by stating down the definition of feminism, “The advocacy of women’s right based on EQUALITY OF ALL SEXES.”It was so necessary to put forth this definition because I have heard a lot of questions, “What is the need for feminism?”, “Aren’t women safe now?”, “Women are getting a lot of opportunities, then what’s the need for this melodrama?” etc
Hence this article is going to focus on a detailed discussion on the need for feminism in this era and also in India. First of all just because social media exhibits few women who are independent, and have the freedom to choose what they want in their life doesn’t mean EVERYBODY HAS PRIVILEGES. India has a population of 135.26 crores, among which 48% are women. At least 5 women are being raped every single day India.[i] We have numerous laws for the protection of women and empowerment of women. Protection of women from domestic violence act 2003, special marriage act 1954, dowry prohibition act 1961, maternity benefit act 1861 etc. the question is about the efficiency of the implementation of these acts. Feminism is not about demeaning men or declaring them inferior. It is not worshipping women or considering them to be one step ahead of men, it is just about equality.
Focusing on career opportunities that are gender-biased, SudhaMurtyan engineering teacher, an author also a social worker was a victim of gender-biased career. She chose mechanical engineering and was judged based on physical fitness. Even now professions such as law, mechatronics, and mechanical engineering aren’t considered for “women”. Even now a few educated people consider women to be better housewives rather than the employed individual. Some researchers also state that being a homemaker is equal to doing two jobs per day. In terms of a working woman, they earn only 60% of the salary earned by their male colleague. Hence equal pay for equal work was implemented. India’s economy would rise by 23% if women had equal opportunity to work. In our country, unfortunately, only 11.2% of woman become board members, rest all are dominated by men.[ii]
India is a country which is bound to a lot of beautiful yet unwanted “traditions”. Ironically the world has progressed so much that we have flying cars and covid-19 vaccine, yet we still see menstruation as a taboo. Even now during the menstrual cycle, women cannot enter the kitchen or temple or anywhere that is considered to be “pure”. They are treated as untouchables during this time of the month. Covering sanitary pads in a newspaper then again covering it with a black garbage bag even in 2020 is the answer to the question why do you need feminism in India? Lack of sex education might be the reason young men or adults tend to ask “Aren’t you used to this period pain that you get every month?” Funny how getting slapped on your face every month, doesn’t reduce the pain next time you receive it.
Just because when you look around and see a few women in your class or workplace projecting their voice doesn’t mean everybody is getting a chance. Women are always considered as a weaker section of the society, even though they are the ones who look after an entire family and don't even complain about it (not comparing with men, obviously some men understand and do their work with equal responsibility).
The dressing is a choice, she was raped because she was wearing a short skirt, she was raped because she was wearing tight jeans etc. No, SHE WAS RAPED BECAUSE OF A FEW MEN WHO COULDN’T CONTROL THE RISE OF SEXUAL HORMONES IN THEIR BODY.
We need feminism because marital rape is still an exemption from section 375 of Indian Penal Code 1860. The meaning of “consent” is taken so much for granted that it is normalised to have sex with your husband even if the wife doesn’t want to. People often tend to forget that sex is based on mutual consent.
The main factor for the growth of the patriarchal system is what we implement in our children. Even today women are only considered as sexual objects or their only task in life is to marry. Talking about marriage, even in the elite and educated class dowry system still exists. It is normalized so much that people below the poverty line should even think about selling their only shelter or property to marry off their daughters. Section 304 B, talks about dowry death. Dowry is considered to be an amount or property or anything valuable for covering up the “defects” a woman has. India has a trend were at least 20 women suicide or die due to the constant torture of demanding dowry from husband and in-laws.[iii]Without even trying to understand the benefits everybody would receive if the same amount of money is used to educate the child. Changes should begin from parenting, parents should accept the fact that marriage is not the only option and daughters aren’t a liability. A woman can feel complete even if she doesn’t marry or become a mother. SOMETHING’S ARE A CHOICE. They should also teach their son’s that it is okay to be emotional and empathetic.
The world is not what we see through a few pages on Instagram or Twitter, India is definitely beyond that. Social activism and creating awareness programmes will be necessary till every woman feels safe in this world. All that we are asking for is to treat the woman as normal human beings. Creating a safe and better place to live in is a basic right of every citizen.
Let’s not restrict their wings and their desire to fly. CHANGES CAN BE BROUGHT UPON IF WE DECIDE, just like the way we ended sati. Let’s start from our homes, stricter laws with lesser loopholes, and speedy judicial system can bring changes in the system. And hence let’s raise our toast to a better and safe world.
Dishna Wilson, currently a student who is pursuing 4 th year in B.A.,LL.B.(Hons.) in SRM Law School, Tamil Nadu. My research interest includes Human rights, Women and children, International Relations, and Intellectual Property Rights. As an aspiring lawyer I would love to publish a few articles related to law or the current socio-economic system.