Moving beyond the stereotypical gender binaries

Moving beyond the stereotypical gender binaries

The supreme power has created this beautiful world where infinite unrelated creations co-exist. These creations range from simple microscopic to complex macroscopic entities which are thought to have evolved in a progressive manner. Every creation, whether living or non-living, has been fabricated in such a way that apart from its own relevance, it has some sort of influence on the surrounding creations as well. This influence leads to various interactions among the creations, which are crucial for the stability and continuity of their being on the earth. At the top of this progressive genesis human beings have been placed and are regarded as the most complex, highly evolved and efficient living beings on the planet earth. This efficiency pertains to their complex physical, biological, social, spiritual, and intellectual properties.
Human beings have been created in pairs as men and women for the continuity of their race on earth. Women comprise an equally essential part of the society. A woman is like a bloom when she is daughter, half of the faith of her husband when she is wife, and the whole paradise is considered to be under her feet when she is mother.
Although the general principles are same and equal for both men and women, yet they have been appraised with different physical and psychological characteristics. For example, women are physically and emotionally weaker than men. It’s natural for a women to be emotionally weak as she faces numerous changes in her body and mind at various stages of her life. This emotional weakness is infact the biggest strength of the women to make the interactions beautiful and more stable, the principle that nature wants. Women are capable of bearing all the responsibilities with patience and affection. The differences between men and women are natural and intentionally created by the creator.
Unfortunately, human beings have failed to understand this difference. They have correlated this aspect with the weakness of women in every sphere, the biggest misunderstanding. This misconception has given birth to numerous ill practices in human society, like, harassment, defamation, domestic violence, deprivation of women rights, etc.
Religiously as well as connotationally, women have been honoured equally. In Hinduism, women are worshiped in the form of many deities as a sign of huge respect. In Islam, women have been considered equal in status to that of men. To showcase their status and guide about their rights, a complete chapter (Surah-An-Nissa; Nissa means “women”) in Quran has been dedicated to them.
Indian Constitution also guarantees various fundamental rights to women, such as, equality before law in Article 14, no discrimination by the state in Article 15(1), and equal opportunities in matters of public employment in Article 16. Article 15(3) also gives power to the state for making special provisions for the welfare of women and children. Besides, directive principles of state policy mentioned in the part IV of the constitution guide the legislature while making laws and policies for the people. They emphasise on providing equal opportunities to women and equal pay for equal work in Article 39(d), security of just and human conditions, and maternity relief in Article 42, and deny the practices that are derogatory to women under article 51(A) (e). Apart from this, numerous laws and commissions have been framed to give equal rights to all the citizens irrespective of their religion, race, cast and gender. Various policies have been included to make the genders equal in work, payment, dignity, efficiency and so on.
Despite all the religious and constitutional liberties and equal status, women have been suffering throughout. The era we are living in is highly advanced in terms of infrastructure and technology, however, our mentality towards gender has not changed much. Women are being raped, harassed for dowry, harassed at workplaces and treated as inferior to men. Although various laws have been framed to tackle these evil practices, like, section 375 of IPC against rape; the protection of women from domestic violence Act, 2005; the Dowry prohibition Act 1961 and 498A of Indian Panel Code against other types of violence, yet the crimes are rising day by day. According to the annual report of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 2019, 32033 rape cases were registered in India, with an average of 88 cases per day. And unfortunately, rapes of minors are increasing.
In short, we are turning against nature and the creations of the creator. By downgrading one of the most important and influential creations, we are destabilising the entire ecosystem. History is witness that women have competed and excelled in all the spheres. For example, Indira Gandhi, the first woman Prime Minister of India; Kiran Bedi, the first woman IPS officer; Kalpana Chawla, Saina Nehwal, Sania Mirza, Arundhati Roy, Pratibha Patil, Sushma Swaraj and Sumitra Mahajan, all have excelled in their respective fields. In view of the rising crimes against women and considering their efficiency in various fields, it is mandatory to remove the gender barriers for empowering women.
Education is the best way to solve this problem. It is mandatory to frame the policies in relation to women’s welfare. Apart from emphasising on women’s education, courses related to women’s dignity and rights should be added at the primary and secondary level of education system to inculcate respect and affection in the minds of children from tender age. Seminars and webinars should be organised to discuss women-related issues and derive solutions thereafter.
50% of the global as well as Indian population comprises of women. Most of the women as housewives are unpaid workers. Besides, the ones working outside are also not being paid by the rule “Equal pay for equal work”. It has been currently estimated that Indian GDP can rise up to 3% if women are given proper working rights.
Every individual is emotionally linked to one or the other religion. Religion teaches about the basic, moral and social rights of a living being. Connecting to the real religious values can help transform the society.
We need women at the decision-making table to frame various policies. While women are in various fields, still the ratio in decision-making is quite less. Parliament has given 33% reservation to women. This figure should be hiked to 50%. Only 14% of women are in politics and hence in policy making.
Proper implementation of laws is mandatory to exercise the already framed laws. However, new and strong laws need to be enacted in favour of women which must increase the punishment to criminals. Land rights should be given to women in the same way as that to men.
Every individual must understand the importance and rights of fellow individuals. Till the time society does not show sensitivity, these issues cannot be solved by mere framing and implementation of laws. Society needs to understand that we all are the creations of the one Creator and have to return to Him one day. Therefore, our mentality should be “Live and Let others live with Dignity and Rights”.
Conclusively, to make earth a better place to live in, move beyond the gender stereotypical binaries. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1,3,5,8 and 10 framed by United Nations to be accomplished by 2030, it is essential to move beyond the gender gaps and remove ill practices against women, half of the global population.

The writer is a PhD scholar at Department of Botany, University of Jammu. aroosamattoo655@gmail.com

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