Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Women are humans

#BeBoldForChange is what the International Women’s Day 2017 is asking us to be. Calling on us to take a stand and work towards a better future that is not only more inclusive, but more equal and prosperous.
So, while the world is working towards adding more women to the executive boards to accelerate gender diversity, and urging more and more women to join STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, is seeking reproductive rights for women, sending more and more girls to school, fighting against female genital mutilation, and explaining consent and that a no means no - teaching men not to rape, our society is still concerned about how to marry off girls to men who will ensure the women never work for wages and spend their life rearing their in laws offspring as well as their own.
These women are being forced into unpaid labour by their own parents who think a woman’s place is in the kitchen and her life must revolve around some lazy men who cannot be taught to cook, clean, make their own bed, and take care of children. (Sometimes I wonder if they expect us to be grateful that South Asian men wash their own piss and poo). These women will end with no say of their own in matters of finance, health, housing, employment, and even child rearing.
For all the sacrifices these South Asian women will make, they will be given a lollipop in the form of “the door to heaven lies beneath the feet of a mother”, ensuring that even if they do not want to, they pop out a baby. They will be told to forget about all their dreams and aspirations of doing something more productive, and will be cajoled into taking the “natural course” of reproduction.
How many of these women will take a stand? How many of such parents who force their daughters into drudgery are around us? And how many of us will take a step to put a poke in the wheels and help the women who are being forced by their own parents into drudgery? How many of our friends will be sure of support from the community in case they runaway or divorce their abusive husbands?
Will we believe her if she said her own father abused her and her mother was an aide? Will we stand by the woman who left her husband because he raped her on the wedding night, and promise not to doubt her story just because she is a woman wearing makeup and not crying her heart out?
We have to #BeBoldForChange for ourselves, other women, and everyone else living on this planet. We have to take a stand for our own rights and for that of others. We need to stop being afraid of saying no, be it to our family, friends, colleagues. We are not born to please everyone. We are not here so our bodies can be used in bits to sell products or to make babies or save men’s honours.
We are here like other humans.
We are humans!

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