The article “A woman ambassador’s cause” (Oct. 28) by V.R. Krishna Iyer pays well-deserved tributes to C.B. Muthamma, India’s first woman ambassador. India needs more of Muthammas and Krishna Iyers to ensure gender justice which, even after six decades of independence, remains a goal to be achieved in the true sense.
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It is hard to imagine now that there was once a rule disallowing women from becoming ambassadors. That Muthamma was a revolutionary is evident but one wonders when we will see the end to social practices which discriminate on the grounds of religion, gender and caste.
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Be it a posting in the foreign services or the appointment of a woman as a priest in a remote Madurai village temple — as in Pinniyakkal’s case — gender prejudice is all-pervasive. B.T. Ranadive, the veteran Marxist and trade union leader, used to point out that even in organisations where women outnumber men, there is little representation for them in the governing body.
It is common to see mass rallies attended by innumerable women being addressed by a battery of male speakers. Despite cosmetic change in modern lifestyle, the underlying male-dominant character is still intact. Only a determined all-round attack at the root of prejudice will bring about a change.
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Justice Iyer’s write-up made interesting, exciting and absorbing reading. More than Muthamma’s effort, it was his path-breaking judgment that upheld gender justice and produced India’s first woman ambassador. But for him, the brilliance of a genius would not have seen the light of day.