You need no rocket science to understand that even after so many years of suffering, women are still considered as the oppressed sex in society. This oppression began way back in history but it is still one of the most critical and discussed issues around the world. In India, there are many issues revolving around women be it work, independence, freedom of choice and lifestyle, but the fight to live everyday seems like just another day for her. But, what if the tables are reversed, what if it is not a woman who is terrified to walk alone in the night, just what if?
Today, there is no doubt that women in our country are considered as strong, independent individuals because of their will to strive but one can also not notice the little things that seem easy and fun for others are huge roadblocks she struggles to see past. Around the world there is still so much to be done in terms of women rights and equality. There is plenty of room for clichés in work pay, prejudice, gender bias, inequality etc, but do we hear about these issues? How many of these issues are vocalized, when we look around it feels like these issues where a part of history and everything seems fine but, when one patiently considers and give it a thought these issues seem like every day struggles. So, let us understand and see how will the world seem if the tables where reversed?
Identity: It is something that women have been fighting for decades. She is either referred to as someone’s daughter, wife, mother or grandmother. Her independence is just for her and not for the society to acclaim and acknowledge it. Her identity is not a responsibility to maintain, but a debatable issue that she has no right on.
What if, men suffered with this identity crisis? Would it be acceptable for them to live with just being someone’s son, husband, father and grandfather. For instance, their name, are they willing and ready to change their last name after marriage as done by a woman, if not, then why do they expect the same from her?
Work Pay: Gender pay gap in India as per an estimation of 2013 was 24.81%. The report by the World Economic Forum highlighted that in the corporate sector, a woman is paid only one-third of what a man is paid in the same position. That is not the end, in addition to unequal pay there is also the problem of unequal representation, while women constitute almost half of the Indian population their representation is the work force is only one-fourth when compared.
What if the ratios were reversed, would it be gone unnoticed to witness that half of the Indian population constituting of men would be either paid less than a women in the same position or represented less in the work force. The answer is but obvious that it will not be unnoticed and immediate changes would be made. But, to imagine a day like this is only an answer enough to understand the criticality of the situation.
Catcalling:Compared to others issues one may think this one is not a big deal, but to live through it is every day is as scary as anything else. But, one may suggest ignoring it with a roll of an eye. But, it is severe to understand that catcalling is not a laughing issue and can lead to many serious problems. A few years back there was a video that went viral when a woman in New York filmed herself walking around the city, she was catcalled a total of 100 times in 10 hours. A simple reason the video went viral soon was because presumably a lot of women could relate. If you are thinking that it was in New York, then you are not taking a walk in your own locality to notice it happening to your sisters, daughters, and other women in your locality.
Now, what if the situation was reversed and instead of women, men are being catcalled? The situation seems a little hilarious because one can rarely imagine Indian women using that slang, but imaging costs you nothing, does it? Last year Yash Raj Films released a web series called “A man’s world” which is a true synopsis of this reversed scenario. What is considered as a little fun without harm is not fun for others, especially those being harassed in the name of catcalling.
Freedom of choice and lifestyle: Any crime committed against women is often measured as her fault, as she was not dressed properly, her language, she posture was inviting and etc. However these self-proclaimed committees in our society fail to understand that nothing a woman does is inviting. If she is dressed in a shorts or a skirt it is her choice of clothing, if she is using a certain offensive slang then it is her choice of communication, if she chooses a field considered as male dominated, then it is her personal choice of a career. Nothing in this world is gender specific and the gap built is because as a community we refuse to give women their share of rights.
What if, men were objectified for wearing certain type of clothing. Would it still be considered as offensive and inviting for women to do with them as they please because men gave an open invitation by the way they dressed. No, because as an Indian society we would never imagine to fault our men. Women can be termed as slut, whore etc but a man is just a man.
-L Pavani Kodati