Saturday, 2 March, 2024

Empowering Women


Sunil Paudel


Our society often relegates women to a lesser position compared to their male counterparts and overlooks their importance, role and contribution.
Looked upon as a commodity to fulfil males' desire, the majority of women have been confined to the four-wall of their houses. The patriarchal culture has virtually rendered them into the second-class citizens citing women's 'deficiencies' as a birth gift.
Women are feeble physically, but in contemporary society, they are not slighter than any males in carrying out a task that calls for talent, knowledge and power of logic.
Though women have a distinct body that leads to physical activities different from males, our society requires assigning them an equal position at par with males.
However, our society continues to segregate them. For example, women receive wages and benefits less than their male counterparts do, even though they undertake hard works. We notice such bias in practically all social aspects, which has become a dominating social ideology.
Despite being admired, women are increasingly victimised by so-called male prejudices. Women's condition in society is viewed from the vantage of a hitherto unrecognised and invisible minority. The activities of women are subordinated by the gender concept and affected by other stratification systems, such as class, race, enforced heterosexuality and geographic diversity and inequality.
A superstitious ideology has strengthened as per which our society holds women liable for several 'inappropriate behaviours'. Social actions are a male-oriented role. However, the superstitious ideology needs to replaced by more open and modern thought to build a peaceful situation in society.
The social status of our sisters, daughters, mothers and wives can only be called pitiable. In the far-western region, society perpetrates social injustices against women. During the menstruation cycle, they are kept out of the house and are compelled to stay separately under a miserable, makeshift shed. This practice of banishing women during menstruation is called 'Chhaupadi' System.
If a woman is poor and her appearance is not neat and charming as others are, many people may term her a witch. As long as superstitious beliefs hold sway in society, our women are bound to suffer. Such a misconception perpetuates because of one-sided superstitious notion prevalent in our society.
Meanwhile, the gender-based discrimination sheds light on the plight of women belonging to all races and cultures. Some prevailing cultural rituals, which our society follows as social phenomena, propagate prejudices against our women.
Nepal is an under-developed country, where many live under the poverty line and face scarcity of several kinds. Many members of our society do not have a satisfactory level of literacy. We must improve this situation to herald a fresh beginning. Our society should mobilise educated people to make illiterates literate ones and needs to bestow equal rights to our women folks, which will help promote the overall position and prestige.
During the mid-19th century, a revolution helped women raise voice against prevailing intolerance against them. This revolution helped secure women's representation in political, religion, and social-cultural fields.
Sexual abuses and exploitation in the male-dominated world is the dominant factor that has negated an equal rank for our women. The feminist revolution had put forth the rationale to analyse gender exploitation, discrimination, domination and so on. With such scrutiny, gender discrimination becomes brief and the evolution of the feminist empiricism and feminist standpoint to control the patriarchal conceptions is guaranteed.
The same helps dismantle the narrative knowledge. In the 19th century, there appeared the class, race, culture and gender theory. The patriarchal concept serves as a dogma that should end if our women are to savour equal status.
As a perceptive being, women are no weaker than males, but existing patriarchy sees them being dominated. Society should bring this prevailing thought of patriarchy to an end and revise all factual premises, cultural phenomena, and prescriptions for granting our woman an equal position. Becasue, with their intellect and capacity of logical thinking, our women can tackle things that men can.
Equality help maintains unity and peaceful situation in society. Women are important representatives of our society, which should treat them equally, at every social level and activity, because they are an integral part of our society.
Men and women are two sides of a coin. We should honour the collective relationship to make our society peaceful and our culture, history, economy and religion harmonious. If women gain equal freedom and opportunities, they become the source of inventive ideas and innovative production.
There should not be any trace of oppression against our women groups who should not be made the means of fulfilling men’s aspirations. If women receive equal power, they can make wonders that help ensure understanding and reconciliation in society.
The current inequality in the Nepali culture is because of the prevailing degree of the patriarchal mentality, and discrimination against women is a man-made concept, which requires to be replaced by a new conception to herald a new era. Men and women are equal and should enjoy all kinds of rights. There should not be any hint of unfairness. Only then our society can bask in an amicable atmosphere, making society more dynamic than ever before.

(Paudel is a language translator at a publication house)