When women talk, men are heard – but hopefully not for long

Published: September 20, 2016

India’s daughters have long been discriminated against. They are taught to be subservient, docile, and self-sacrificing and the whole social structure is designed to keep them suppressed.

The parents of girls take it for granted that they have to pay for dowry and carry the burden of a lavish wedding where the groom’s family can make unreasonable demands and expect them to be fulfilled. No questions asked.

It is also considered normal that the girl will give up everything to go live with and serve her husband’s family. With such thoughts so deeply embedded in the social psyche, it is no surprise that women continue to be second-class citizens.

Such an environment ends up promoting all kinds of prejudices and stereotypes that hold women back from fulfilling their potential. Sadly, it’s not the “others” who impose these restrictions on women, but their own families. With a complete absence of any support, it is no surprise that many women choose to succumb to societal norms and ultimately make a compromise to sacrifice their aspirations and abilities.

Over the years, many efforts have been made to change the mind-set and empower women. Some of these efforts have yielded results and without doubt, women in India today are far ahead from where they were just a few years ago. However, in a country as vast and varied as India, there is still a long way to go before women can truly be considered equal and enfranchised.

The good thing is that the effort persists and is gaining critical mass. Many celebrities have lent their weight to the cause, and in an icon crazy country like India, their words make an impact. This latest video featuring Amitabh Bachchan once again draws the viewer’s attention towards all the deep-seated prejudices against women that society accepts so casually.

It is a laudable effort and Mr Bachchan’s baritone adds greater gravitas to a serious issue. It is a clever ploy to use the ultimate patriarch’s commanding presence to try and break the stranglehold of patriarchy. After all, if Amitabh Bachchan is saying something, many are likely to believe that there probably is some substance to it.

Therefore not only does it encourage women to find their own voice, it also compels men to give their prejudices more than a fleeting thought. A solitary video or campaign cannot change an entire society overnight, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. Many small steps are needed for all of India’s daughters to be free to pursue their dreams and achieve their fullest potential.

It is one more brick in the wall, and with due apologies to Pink Floyd, this is one bit of education we do need!

Amit Nangia

Amit Nangia

The author is a learning and development professional with a background in finance and human resources that informs his commentaries on geopolitical and socioeconomic trends. He tweets as @amitnangia06 (twitter.com/amitnangia06)

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