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The decade of women

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In the past 10 years, women came together to stand up for what they believed in

The UN declared 1975 to 1985 the decade for women and focused its efforts on policies to empower them. However, the past decade was when women came together themselves to stand up for what they believed in. In the 10 years just gone by, women empowered themselves.

The movies started to reflect this change. Women did not need a hero to rescue them. Vidya Balan’s Kahaani, Tapsee Pannu’s Pink, Alia Bhatt’s Raazi, Deepika Padukone’s Piku and many more such films showed that women are not damsels in distress looking for a knight. Most women do not, however, find themselves entangled in spy operations to save the country or go on a manhunt for the husband’s murderer. The challenges women face in day-to-day life are much more mundane, but take a toll on them just the same.

As Priyanka Chopra in Dil Dhadakne Do, women struggle to establish their identity in a world run by men. Deepika Padukone in Piku cares more for others than her, and Vidya Balan in Mission Mangal faces problems balancing professional and personal lives when the family fails to cooperate. Yes, women in the past decade have come together to stand up for what they believe in, but their efforts fall short when changing the people closest to them.

A girl interested in automobiles might be asked not to take up mechanical engineering because the course involves heavy lifting and working with machinery. Job offers from far-off cities are often rejected because staying close to family is a key factor when choosing jobs. Long hours are still a no-no, because returning home after dark is a safety hazard. These are rules that we have trouble reasoning against, because for every reassuring word we utter to our parents, there is a gruesome crime against women they can give as an example to counter us.

Let us not forget that friends still have to be chosen with the utmost care because they undergo parental scrutiny. Last but not the least, marriage is still the key event in a woman’s life around which society forces her to form all her life choices.

The position of women in society is complex to analyse. While we are worshipped on the one hand, we are the victims of horrifying crimes on the other. India has women in power at the local, State and national levels headlining policy change. However, India is also home to girls who are married off while they are still children and have no say even on their own life. In the scales of justice, we have equal voting rights on one side and unheard voices on the other.

Every woman has challenges of her own and experiences that are unique. Trying to generalise them only reduces their importance. But we as a society seem to find refuge in comparing our problems to those of others. If our troubles are less intense than those faced by another, we consider ourselves privileged. It is an attitude that has helped us move forward. It is an attitude that has also prevented us from standing up for the small things in life. We need to learn to shout if our opinions are not heard, prove we are capable when we are questioned, fight when are attacked and stand up when we fall. We might lose some battles in the way, but we have to fight to win the war.

kavyasree0710@gmail.com

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 6:43:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/the-decade-of-women/article30544016.ece

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