Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Gender Equality - Equality in decision making or only Equality in pay?

Tho' I always say that women should have economic independence, for me gender equality does not necessarily mean equal pay for equal work. Perhaps because I have not been a career woman. Perhaps, this is taking equality to another dimension. But equality, for me, means the feeling of equal status, equal importance in life, equality in making decisions. Equality need'nt be overt and apparent. If it is conveyed by actions, it’s fine. Like for a housewife, if she has a share in decision making for the family; the husband, or family elders consider and value her opinions, it is equality for me. In our society, some inequality is inevitable. In family life, a father always rules over the household, his wife and kids are under his thumb. His brothers and sisters, all generally follow his wishes. Even when the son marries, and is living with his wife in the same house, they obey him. BUT, if the father is not there, in most cases it is the mother who rules. This is OUR way of life. There automatically becomes a hierarchy of importance in a family, either because of earning capacity, seniority, or being more learned, or more loving. Whatever.

For a career woman, equal work, equal pay must be a very important factor. Also equal opportunities. It is demanded as a right. But equally, we are very happy in places where we get some extra benefits. As at ticket windows, a special line for women; in public transport, reserved seats for women etc. Instead of this, why not separate queues for senior citizens, or for those people with babies? It is done in foreign airlines. While boarding the aircraft, they call out first for people on wheel chairs, then senior citizens, and those with babies, then according to rows.

In truth, in practical life, women are the more dominant sex. The husband just earns a living. It’s the wife who decides what is eaten at home, where the kids will study, what they are taught, which girl her son will marry, the father has very little interest in these things. And if ever the wishes of the father and mother clash, the wife generally manages to do as she wants. This is in the affluent, as well as the poor classes. It’s only the middle class, where the women are a bit under the thumb of their husbands. But the situation here too is improving, as girls have started working. And standing up for their rights.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Great decisions by the Supreme Court on illegal religious structures and honour killings

Today’s Times of India carries a report of a heartening decision by the Supreme Court – that while taking action against illegal and unauthorised religious structures on public land, there will be no discrimination between a temple or a mosque. (Demolish illegal temple, mosque alike, says SC). All demolitions will be carried out irrespective of whether it is of a mosque or a temple, a gurudwara or a church. All religions preach goodness, and love and consideration for our fellow men. Unfortunately, many have begun exploitation in the name of religion – and grabbing public land can only be considered this. And then going to court and pleading that this be allowed is only an attempt to try and prove that Wrong is Right since it is in the garb of religion.  

And I recall my very first post on this blog when I had commented upon the need for illegal structures being treated as illegal structures with no discrimination in the name of religion. (Media and Demolition of illegal structures). One strong reaction of an ordinary citizen has been upheld by our highest court. This appears to be a strong sign of true secularism.

Another good and right decision is on honour killings – the Hindustan Times in its editorial has aptly said – the very term honour killings is an oxymoron.(Any murder is a murder)

Looking at some recent judgements of our Supreme Court – our country is surely emerging from its chrysalis.