Do women really have choice? Musings on 70th Independence day

Choice. Choice has always been a luxury that we all yearn for, and we all get pretty disappointed when we are denied choice. Every day, we take multiple decisions based on choice. This same choice is used when we take bigger or important decisions, like what to study, or what career to pursue. While most of us take this choice as granted, we have a large group of people within the society who yearn for such a freedom. Women. The women we depend on, the women we trust, the women who are precious to us are usually denied the choice or freedom to choose what they want or what they want to do.

When we rob women of the freedom to choose what they want to do with their life, we are essentially putting a cap into their vast resource of talents, and stopping them from spreading their wings and fly. It is generally accepted that women are hard workers. They are actually great multi taskers. A mother, in a day, takes on various positions.  She acts as a chef, doctor, judge, police, interior designer and the overall engine of the house. These are the type of people that are needed in our society, the “we can do” ones, and the ones who never hesitate from a challenge. Women are self-sacrificing, and they show this spirit in whatever they do in connection with their family.

This does not mean that all our women stay only at home, taking care of their families. Many brave women manage the stress and chaos of work and home, managing them harmoniously. Many women, having decided to spend most of their time with their family, work from home, and also manage things seamlessly. But, even they, our working women class, are also underestimated.

What do I mean? Here is a situation. A working couple, who have a child, live together. And one day, the wife receives a promotion, and it involves a transfer to a faraway town. The husband works in another company, and he is settled in that city. Please do note that this promotion is a crucial turn in the wife’s career. What do you think happens? Forget so-called “progressive couples” and “forward thinking families”. What do you think an average Indian couple will do? The wife would have to cancel the promotion, or will have to leave the job. This is what happens to our women today. When they are already progressing well and doing good at their jobs, they are forced to push aside their dreams and anticipations for their families. Though you might not find most of them complaining about it, it is beneficial for us to think from time to time on what if the same happened to us?

Even during the beginning of the career, a girl is usually accustomed to join the job, her parents have already decided for her. Cultural values and traditions have hindered the freedom of our women folk to decide for themselves. Although surprisingly men have been exempted from such an atrocity, it is saddening when religion is used as an excuse to hide the limelight from women. History has also shown that such atrocities and more were shown towards women, usually in the basis of flimsy reasons, or on the reason of religion.

But there is not much need for us to look back at the past and whine. It is time for us look at the present and treat our dear women the way they should be, and to plan for the future and teach our children a pattern for them to follow in their time.

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