DARE YOU CALL WOMEN WEAK!

I want to be with my baby, but I pick up my bag and head to work

I want to spend some time with my husband, but I prepare my kid’s uniform and school bag for the next day

I want to let my hair down and relax but the sink full of dishes is waiting for me

I want to call in sick at work but there is an important presentation with the leadership team

I want to binge watch web series but a trip to the grocery store is long due

I want to go out with my friends but there is no one to look after the house

I want to sleep in over the weekend but kids and husband have demanded a special breakfast

There is a lot that I want to do but I ALWAYS put my responsibilities first.

No – I am not seeking sympathy. I do it out of choice. I do it out of love.

WOMEN ARE STRONG ENOUGH TO CHOOSE OTHERS OVER THEIR DESIRES when
necessary.
WOMEN ARE STRONG ENOUGH TO LIVE OTHER’S DREAM
WOMEN ARE STRONG ENOUGH TO STAND UP LIKE A ROCK WHEN YOU SHATTER
DARE YOU CALL THEM A WEAKER SEX!
Women are strong, because they can continue doing selfless things for their whole life and yet not complain but dare you take them for granted.

I like how this gender equality awareness is gaining momentum these days,but few things never change because of the innate nature of the gender. I don’t mean to say that men cannot do the above things, but history is a witness to how things have always been. They still continue to be like that in most parts of the world.

But hey, let’s break the image of “Abla Naari”. Today, women are fiercely independent and they have the power to choose whether they want to do what they are expected to do. And yet they continue to choose everything else over them even today – That’s the beauty of womanhood.

Not just this, they have assumed a lot more responsibilities at domestic and career front yet they balance just everything. They are not helpless any more. They don’t need your sympathy, but yes, they do long for some respect from you. They are not a weaker sex any more. 

The first step towards gender equality is accepting that women are capable, strong and intelligent. Are we ready yet? For me, the true gender equality will set in when women are asked for their opinions in family decisions, when a husband seeks advice from his wife, when they are allowed to eat along with all the family members, when the birth of a girl is not frowned upon, when a poor father does not have to mortgage his land and house for the dowry, when girls are sent to schools along with their male siblings, when no woman is burnt alive, raped or victimised for dowry, when the girls are not traded for flesh.

Now tell me, World are we ready for #genderequality?

 

LET ME BE GOOD IN MY WAY

“Don’t climb the trees, you will break your bones and no one will marry you.  Being pretty is very important.

Learn to cook, otherwise you will bring shame to the family.  Your degrees won’t feed the hungry child.

Taking care of children is the responsibility of a mother alone.

Marriage, motherhood everything has a right age.  Everything else can wait.

Don’t laugh out loud, stop giggling. It isn’t good for your image.

Put your family first, your husband and his family is your ultimate destination. Learn to solve your issues or learn to endure.

Answering back, having strong opinions – are big NOs”

Few of the many suggestions and expert advices handed over to us from times innumerable by our well-wishers none other than our society including our own family members.  In short the onus of looking and being good, being responsible (as deemed and defined by the society) always rested on the shoulders of a woman. It doesn’t mean that man has not been assigned any responsibility.  But in comparison to those entrusted to or rather forced upon a woman they are frail and fragile. If a man is earning and feeding his family a major chunk of his duties are met. His behaviour and attitude go off the radar of questioning (not off the radar of back biting though).  And this has been the case no matter which country, which culture a woman belongs to. In fact I used to feel that societal pressure of as to how a girl or woman should look and behave is a norm in India which is predominantly a conservative and patriarchal society but when one of my readers asked to write about how girls were supposed to behave a certain way in her growing up years and might be even now and she doesn’t belong to India, few of my misconceptions cleared. http://www.corneliaweber-photography.com – reader I was referring to.

The intensity of sexism is so deep rooted.  Even the creativity of media is not left untouched by it. Few simple examples –

  • A father applies for a loan to send his son for higher studies and to marry off his daughter.  Marriage thus is the highest goal / achievement of a girl’s life.
  • A dusky coloured girl is no good. Fair complexion on the other hand is a matter of pride for the family and she is a winner already.
  • Our movies show how the protagonist will always fall for the docile and coy dame whereas the outgoing, strong, opinionated girl will always be good as his friend only.  She won’t make a good life partner.

This is pretty much the cycle of one impacting the other. And sadly it is still working.  Though things are changing to an extent that more and more girls are being given a chance to get educated, to voice  their opinions, to choose their career paths.  The average age at which a girl gets married is definitely getting pushed further with every passing decade. What is used to be 18 or 19 now stands at 25 -27. A welcome change giving a woman a little more opportunity to shape up things how she wants them. (* note: excuse me for bringing up “marriage” numerous times in our conversation but sadly still the parents feel it is the ultimate motto of their lives 😁).  More and more women taking up careers and  making comebacks, giving their contribution in strengthening the economy is a fresh breath of air.

But one thing really bothers me very much. The Tag of a super woman, as defined by the hypocrite side of society (read jobless neighbours, always jealous relatives, ever unsatisfied in laws)  – a woman who is educated, cooks well, earns for the family, looks great, keeps the home spotlessly clean, takes care of the kids, serves everyone in the family with a never ceasing smile on her face and most importantly she never complains or has mood offs, never says NO most importantly. Even the super man has to fight of less number of villains than donning so many hats. As a society we have to overcome our fetish for “Tags of Super”.  This could induce excruciating pain for the person (talking about every woman) with whom expectations are tied up – I meant both physically and mentally. Who are we to judge  someone’s capabilities? This is an important question to be asked at this very moment.  As a society we need to rethink our stand in matters pertaining to a woman / girl (let’s not leave boys our of this 😁):

  • Raise kids equally : it implies two things, mother and father both should be held responsible for a child’s upbringing. And kids of both the genders should be given same set of tasks at home without any bias. A boy can cook and a girl can take care of accounts. Such upbringing would ensure a complete person in the making.
  • Don’t tell your boys that boys don’t cry. Such suppression can be dangerous as they find infliction of pain on others as an outlet to their emotions. Many domestic violence cases have this psychological disorder behind them.
  • Marriage / bearing kids is not the end of the world. Stop thinking about other’s personal decisions.
  • Accept the fact that everyone have their own strengths and flaws. A fish can’t fly and and a monkey can’t swim in water. Your constant critical judgement may fail them in things they do best. They need space, so back out please.

A woman needs equal amount of respect and space as that of love. She deserves it completely, period!! And I salute to everyone who are leading the path in giving complete support to the women in their lives.

PS: I am not a supporter of third wave of (toxic) feminism that completely distorted the meaning of space and freedom for women and wrongly influencing young minds.  Boozing, doing drugs, having multiple physical relationships, using swear words, manipulating situations and using sympathy / victim card to settle scores with every man in their lives in the name of empowerment is only polluting the already fragile fabric of the society.  Empowerment is about educating and emancipation.  It’s about getting equal opportunities, equal pay, equal rights.  If something is wrong for a man it is equally wrong for a woman too, just because she does it won’t make it right.

BEING A FEMALE PROGRAMMER

Close your eyes and imagine a computer nerd staring at the screen trying to solve a problem.

..

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What did you imagine? A boy with a casual t-shirt or hoodie typing on the keyboard? I am sure most of you won’t imagine a girl. This is predominantly not because women are not talented but more because of our culture. When women express that they are programmers, the reactions would be, “Ah, she must be a genius.” There is a lot of stereotype in this one single statement. Before I dwell on that, do you know a recent study in the US showed an enrolment of women into STEM disciplines is close to 20%? Was it always like this? Well, more than the ratio, it is better to have an overall look at how women progressed in software engineering.

Have you heard about Ada Lovelace? It’s ok if you haven’t. She is the first computer programmer. I am not saying, first female programmer. Yes, people. It all started with a woman. Computers back in those days were massive, with a lot of hardware components. Assembling a computer itself was considered a tough job and is for men.  So, programming was a second-grade job. Women were also chosen candidates for that because by the talent that women posses with arts such as knitting, it was considered that they would naturally be able to perform well in writing analytical software. I am talking about the 1800s.

How about Margaret Hamiton? She is a computer pioneer who actually coined the term “software engineering.” Her software, Apollo Guide Computer in the Apollo Space Program sent humans to the moon. If any software engineer feels proud to call himself so, it is because she described herself as a software engineer. She gave an identity to the work she was doing. Margaret is an inspiration to many, and I am one of them.

There is a long list of inspiring female programmers, and they do perform well in what they chose. In fact, there were quite a few books written on women who excel in STEM, and I would recommend those books to everyone.  Nowadays, we see women doing quite well in a variety of mathematical, analytical, and engineering disciplines. So, the question is, why is the percentage of women so low who pursue an education in STEM? And the percentage reduces more and more as they progress in their careers.

Male dominance – This is the case in all disciplines but more so in STEM where girls are treated as if they don’t belong. As a woman, you might have to prove yourself more than a man does. The solutions proposed by a woman gets scrutinized more. I won’t deny it. I have found myself in situations where I had to defend more than needed. The same coming from a male counterpart would not be questioned as much. Also, as a woman, we may not be able to be part of all the tea table talks or casual gatherings beyond work. This is negative at times because some of the discussions and sometimes even decisions happen over these informal talks. 

A pre-perceived notion about women in tech – Many not only think women can’t code, but they are somehow inferior to men when it comes to being technically geeky. Looking at the accomplishments women have made ever since computers came into existence, this sounds untrue. Personally, I have women around me who are as geeky as men and spend hours without interruption when a challenge is thrown at them. So, there is interest and dedication as well.

Apart from these, there are other disparities. Women are paid less compared to men of the same caliber, it is often a daunting task to prove yourself over and over again and also not having the flexibility to work from anywhere. Big tech companies and even small company employers are actively considering ways to bridge these gaps.

So, should women learn to code? Absolutely. For a second, forget all the stereotypic thoughts. How would you feel about finding a solution to a problem no one ever did? Would you have an adrenaline rush to be able to build whatever you want? Cool, then programming is for you. Having said that, I won’t say it is a bed of roses. You are going to have moments where you end up questioning yourself, “Am I good at this? Maybe, this is not for me”. Worry not, you are not alone. A lot of men also have the same feelings. Fear is built into us and is not gender-specific. Programming is not just analytical or logical, it is a creative form, and we women are great with creative stuff.

Working your way up can be a little tricky. Find a women mentor, because she has been there and done that. It might be easier for a women mentor to understand your state of mind. Having said that, some men are great mentors, and they really understand what we go through as women, acknowledge it, and can provide a helping hand in overcoming the hurdles. A small secret, it is easier to convince someone with good code because it cannot be influenced by anyone while it runs!!

Make friends with women who are coders. There are quite a few groups, meetups that happen where women in technology come together. These are great platforms to find someone who you can share your achievements and frustrations. Also, you would get to learn about various new technologies and meet technologists who are pioneers in those areas.

Gone are those days where people say, women who are pretty cannot code, and who can code are not pretty. I am both pretty and can code, do you have any problem with that should precisely be our attitude, and there would be no looking back.

Go out, girls, have fun coding!!!

WHAT HAVE I DONE ABOUT SOCIAL JUSTICE IN A PERSONAL LEVEL?

It took around 6 months for me to learn Bengali. As I slowly tried to pick up few words, I was amazed to hear them using Onyay (injustice) for a wrong doing. For example, to say – “I have wronged you, please forgive me” they say, “I have done injustice, please forgive me”. And I quite admired the use of the word injustice in the place of wrong doing. Wrong doing sounds casual whereas the word injustice explains the gravity of the matter.

My point here by saying this is, not exercising justice or doing injustice is a character deeply rooted within us because of our sinful nature. God is a God of Justice and He always cares for the poor and needy. He is always keen and interested in human beings needing social justice. But unfortunately, we human, on the contrary being bestowed with various responsibilities to do justice, fail to do so. Because of our fallen nature and selfishness, we struggle to do justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.

All through the week my co-writers have raised issues concerning social justice by giving so many examples and narrating different case studies of social injustice that has been taking place in our country and abroad. But I want to think differently. I want to take up the responsibility on myself. I want to ask myself, whether I have looked into the matter of social justice when I was given an opportunity? What have I done to bring social justice or justice in the life of a particular person?

Blaming the government and the political leaders is very easy. Going in a procession protesting against a law or injustice is easier. But have I shown mercy to the person desperately needing my mercy at a particular time? Or have I thought that this is mine, my family needs this, I can’t give it to someone else, outsider? Trust me, by doing so, I blocked the process of distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society, in the life of a person.

When I exercise justice in my daily life, it will spread to my family members, then my community, then it will spread to the country at large. Let me give you an example… Let’s think about the pre-independence era when all the Indians were under the British rule, losing all our rights. If the freedom fighters would not have come forward in the fear of being beaten and killed then we would not have seen independence today and would not have celebrated 71st Republic day this year on 26th January 2020, which is tomorrow. If they would not have selflessly stood against the social injustice in their personal lives, they could not have spread the fire of social justice across the country.

If I am unable to bring justice in my family then how can I expect it in the bigger sphere, like in the society or country?

In closing, I want to quote two scripture portion where we are commanded to do justice…

Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

If we just follow this in our daily life we will surely see justice happening all around.

Stay Blessed!

JUSTICE FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVES…

A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Slavery is founded in the selfishness of man’s nature – opposition to it is his love of justice. These principles are an eternal antagonism; and when brought into collision so fiercely, as slavery extension brings them, shocks and throes and convulsions must ceaselessly follow.

Abraham Lincoln

In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.

Albert Einstein

Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.

Helen Keller

Justice that love gives is a surrender, justice that law gives is a punishment.

Mahatma Gandhi

DON’T WE DESERVE GOOD LEADERS?

In 2015, I came across a very stupid statement by a person from political fraternity.  He said, “Chinese food, jeans and mobile phones are the reasons behind increasing sexual violence/ rapes in India“. That had me in splits 🤣. On another occasion a head of regional political party said “boys will be boys“, following the increasing rate of sexual crimes. That was cringeworthy and repulsive but not “just it”.  Unfortunately a never ending string of such hateful, controversial, insensitive and senseless comments blaming the victims rather than the culprits are a part and parcel of the politician resumes in India. And our politicians make good comedians too 😁. Let me quote few more politicians (funny statements) before I put across my agenda to pen this article:

“Rings could be banned as if it goes missing, it might cause unnecessary problems. Flowers, I am sure, would not be banned. Anklets should be banned, they can affect boys’ studies and concentration, the clinking sound of anklets distracts boys.” “Civil and not mechanical engineers should apply for civil services.” 

“Darwin’s theory of evolution is scientifically wrong… nobody including our ancestors have said in written or oral that they saw an ape turning into a man.”

“You will get jaundice if you attend rallies of other parties.” 

(Source: different news papers)

They are just very few drops from the murky waters (better read gutters as in that of drainage systems) of ignorance and stupidity our politicians are diving and swimming in.  From outraging the modesty of a woman with their below the belt comments to making a complete fool of themselves with their idiotic statements our politicians have done everything.

So coming to my purpose of writing this article – vent out my frustration, can’t state out more elaborately than this. We are a country of population of over 130 billion who believe in the constitution of our country that confers it the power of democracy.  It awarded us the right to choose among the candidates to be our representatives on national and international podiums and these are the people we chose?

It would be very interesting to know that in India if you are planning to apply for the least possible office job in any government department the candidate must have minimum set of educational qualifications, aptitude, age bar is set after which you are not eligible to apply and a plethora of different examinations to filter the right person for the right job. It’s for the  entry level I am talking about. I myself have given examinations (that I flunked to say the least 🤣). But the handful people we chose to be our leaders – have we ever checked their credentials to be in that position we put them in?

Comically, ironically and sadly for a person to be a politician in India there are no set of qualifications that they must possess.  We have school dropouts as our leaders, the list is so long that I am unable to mention it in this small article 😛 . Few of them never even went to school to begin with. What a shame! On contrary the ability to mobilise the mob mentality, criminal background, nepotism, talking big (only talking mind you 😁), pulling wool out of innocent voters in the name of decade(s) old issues of poverty & unemployment – these are the qualifications that makes out a great recipe for a great politician in India. Livid ? But that’s the truth.

Over 70 years many regulations imposed and passed as laws but one law (or set of laws) that I would recommend or say love to see being reinforced : Transparency as to what is your qualification to lead us:

  • Graduation is the minimum educational requirement for anyone willing to contest elections
  • Minimum age bar be 25 and retirement at the age of 65. We need young blood and ideas to come in and contribute. Interesting fact: Finland has the youngest prime minister –  Sanna Marin, 34 years old where as…. just fill in the blanks 😁
  • No criminal record. No person holding even single criminal case against him/ her should be allowed to enter the assembly. They should have the same parameters of judging just as any other person vying for a government job is judged upon.
  • VIP culture should be done away with – I know I am wishing too much 😁.
  • Surnames shouldn’t be the passport for wishful portfolios without any proven track record of work. Kingdoms and dynasties are gone but trails are still lingering on. Political clout is just another business for decades now. Proven track record of work at grass root levels should be made mandatory.  It would only infuse confidence of people  about their leadership and future.
  • Do away with undue subsidies and freebies. Every hike in salary politicians demand for they should be made accountable for it’s out of the taxes we pay they are getting paid.

Though these points seem superficial for a country like India but completely need of the hour. Our politicians (majority) are smart (read scrupulous) enough to divide us and make us concentrate on issues other than development or even instigate hate.  And in this process they are steering clear of any accountability.  And when questioned they either play blame game or have another controversy ready to heat up the TRP markets.  Also given that India is being looked upon by the world don’t we deserve good leaders who work with clear conscience and talk some sense. What say?

BRIBE, THE GREATEST CHALLENGE AGAINST JUSTICE

The moment a child is born, he or she is taught about what is good and what is bad. The child gets to know various things from its parents and teachers. Once the child is old enough to gain knowledge on its own through various mediums he or she comes to know of various laws and rules. This happens with all of us. While growing in maturity, we get exposed to things that are acceptable and unacceptable in our society. But then, what goes wrong when someone commits a heinous crime just to satisfy his or her ego. 

The incident which I am going to mention in this story, happened a few years ago in my hometown. Property dispute is not an alien concept in this country. People are often seen fighting with each other and conspiring to shun down their opponents. In my neighboring village two families were involved in a similar case. They were trying their best to win the case and satisfy their so-called reputation. Now let us call the families as family 1 and family 2. The head of the family 2 decided of doing something that would teach a life lesson to family 1. For this, they kidnapped the youngest boy of family 1 and killed him mercilessly. The mother, on the other hand, was searching for her son like anything. Her instincts told her something is not right as nobody couldn’t find her son. 

Four days later, the corpse was found near the village pond and the parents cried bitterly feeling traumatized. For them, their whole world literally went upside down. But for family 2, it was a gala time as they had taught a lesson to their opponent.

Anyways, a case was registered as family 1 had doubts on family 2. But then family 2 took the help of influential people in the area. The case was eventually closed and family 1 was given some bribe to shut their mouth. The whole village was shocked by this incident. The conclusion was when we came to know, ‘the entire system is corrupt‘. The policemen too knew that family 2 plotted the murder  and should have been punished. But they went on to settle the case by accepting bribe from them. 

Think about a scenario where every single case is dealt in such a manner. No doubt we have an impressive judiciary system with laws to curb criminal activities but what’s the point when one can use their influence and money to challenge the judiciary system and bent the law for themselves… Is the law and judiciary system so weak that money and influence can overpower it and let the culprit roam freely? People may think that it is better to let bygones be bygones. But is this right? There are several cases in our country that are manipulated and closed with the power of money. No wonder ours is an independent nation and is developing at a fast pace, but then there are still some dark areas upon which we need to focus.  

Friends! This hush money is standing as a wall against justice, which we all need to break with force. Are you ready to do so?