Yesterday my friend and I decided to head to the city for a long pending visit to a bookstore to buy some books on Hindi poetry and fiction. Being a long ride into the city, we decided to take the train to avoid the rush hour road traffic. The ride in the train, the shopping part, the tea break and the ride back home on the train was nothing short of an experience for a person like me who hardly travels anywhere in the city. My work place being hardly five minutes away from home, my need to travel within the city is very limited.
The first thing that hit me was the sheer number of working women taking the train to commute on a daily basis and the second thing was the look on their faces…tired, drained with a distant look on their faces. Most of them carried a lunch bag along with a handbag or a backpack. They must have left their homes early after making everyone’s breakfast and lunch and not to mention packing off their kids to schools.
I started wondering what could be going on in their minds at that moment; are they looking forward to going home and resting their worn-out bodies and minds or are they mentally planning the sequence of events that would follow and that needs to be taken care of when they reach home? From planning dinner to cleaning-up and enquiring about their kids school work and homework; and all this as soon as they reach home without a minute’s rest. Will any of them have a support system at home? Will their husbands’ share the load of work at the home-front equally, now that the woman is also working outside home? Lots of questions…
Women’s day had come and gone! We all rejoiced, sent a truck load of “Happy women’s day” messages talking about how saintly and sacrificial woman are and that gives us such immense happiness and high; but think about it for a moment…isn’t it a trap to showcase women and put them on such a high pedestal that it becomes an unachievable goal for every woman?
We are forever running an imaginary race and for what? For the title of superwoman? A woman with ten hands, delicately balancing all her roles with aplomb…
I think it’s time we all should collectively say “No Thank You”.
We talk about women empowerment, women being financially independent, women having a nice job outside home. A nice job that helps them get back home on time to cook a wonderful meal for the family; Help kids with homework, assignments, projects and exam prep; and still be able to earn a handsome pay check at the end of the month for the work they do outside the house.
Wow great! We are living the dream!
Yeah right. Living the dream alright…But whose dream? Society’s dream? Parent’s dream? In-law’s dream? Maybe. But definitely not our dream…
Becoming a career woman doesn’t automatically translate to empowered women.
Actually this whole woman empowerment view is lopsided. We want woman to get a job outside home and all, but we won’t change a thing about her role at home front. And what about the role of men in this? They are comfortably playing the same role they had been playing since cavemen’s time.
The societal mentality says men being breadwinners are entitled to come home and relax. So what happens when women become breadwinners? When do they get to relax? What happens to the amount of work that needs to be done inside the house when both are playing the role of a breadwinner? Now that it’s a shared responsibility, isn’t it necessary that the workload at home be shared too?
But we have conveniently forgotten about that in our blindfolded race for women empowerment. The picture painted about an empowered woman is of the one who has balanced the act of being a super successful career woman while smoothly running a household without a hitch. And as a result the so called empowered woman is limping to the winning goal post with her battered superwoman cape dragging along by her side.
How can this ever be empowerment of women? It will take time to change the norms and make a society ready to see men and women as equals.
I don’t want the superwoman crown or the title. I would rather be a woman with flaws and inadequacies.
I withdraw from this race, I am not participating. I truly urge all of you to withdraw from this competition too.
Please don’t fall for it. It’s a trap.
We cannot expect change if we don’t start changing. It has to begin with us. That’s when we can call ourselves truly empowered.
Not until then…