“She is level-headed and opinionated!”
“She is a feminist!”
I have to say, when it is needed, I have spoken out loud and talked about my opinion though it has created repercussions both at personal and professional level. I have been stereotyped as someone who is ‘outspoken and rude’!
It happened when I took up public health after doing bachelors in Dentistry, despite my family’s wishes for me to continue it and run my own clinic. It happened when I raised my voice on unequal pay scale at office for same positions and prevailing gender bias. It happened when I fought for ‘price for marriage’ and rose against the concept of dowry. It happens all the time when I have to defend myself whenever I disagree to follow the ‘norms of society’ set for a woman.
“A woman should not work late at night; a woman should only wear certain type of clothes; a woman should not drink alcohol or smoke; a woman should not have male friends once she is married; a woman should do as her husband says or if he ‘permits’; a woman has no life after divorce, she should continue living with her husband no matter what; a woman has no right to property, she is a liability”.
THE LIST OF WHAT A WOMAN SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT DO IS NEVER ENDING!
I have had to speak out quite loudly against ‘gender-based harassment’ at workplace. Just because I am a woman really does not mean that you have the right to belittle me, or making me feel like I have achieved something out of favors by men or by pleasing them or I am not good enough to lead a task just because I am a woman! This happens often in my job and many women face the same issue, and I have had to be strictly vocal about it. People will mistreat you if you take injustice lying down!
MY RAISED VOICE HAS HELPED!
It has made it possible for me to reach new heights in my career and getting promotions much before men in my office. If you deserve something, if you have worked hard for it, you should not remain silent just because you are a woman!
When you raise your voice, you make yourself known, and people know that there is someone who will not back down, who will not be silent. That is why I believe that raising your voice is a good thing. It helps people see others’ point of view, and make sure that they know why there is a need to speak up, especially against injustice.
Most of the time oppression against women start in their own families and are in-built in women. Indian women prefer to depend on their male members for financial and safety measures. Emotional and financial dependence of women gives birth to egoistic tendencies in men with negative mindset. They start imposing their decisions on wife and other female members of the family.
Even the most ambitious women face the injustice at workplace almost at every stage, employers hesitate to hire young women fearing potential pregnancy, if they do get hired the pay scale is always less than males, they fall much behind their male counter-parts after marriage due to responsibilities of family, many women drop out to raise children. Working women, especially in rural areas are monetarily and physically exploited by men either due to inaccessibility to credit sources or due to lack of laws to help protect them. Women also fall victim to social evils like infanticide, inhuman treatment to widows, especially in Northern India, Bengal and Rajasthan or polygamy in southern parts of India.
Women have faced tremendous injustice over the years, often due to women’s own lack of courage to face situation. Instead of silently bearing all the atrocities perpetrated against us, women should raise their voice against injustice; create awareness amongst women about their rights. Women should channelize their efforts by forming women groups, linking the disadvantaged to NGOs and legal firms and getting heard, by writing and publishing articles, organizing workshops and seminars.
MAKE VOICELESSNESS LOSE ITS WICKED GRASP, GET YOURSELF HEARD!