Stand up…Speak Against

Stand up…Speak Against

‘If a man asks what women have been asking for centuries, will men finally listen.’

 

Don’t be a bystander.

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Women’s Basket ball.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banasthali_Vidyapith

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjKZft5NByQ

Women’s Basket ball.

A clip from All India Inter University Women’s basket ball tournament. It was held at Banasthali University in Rajasthan. The A grade Accrediated autonomous women’s university. It is located 40 kms from Jaipur in Rajasthan and is known for women empowerment and its Panchmukhi shiksha – aesthetic, moral, physical, academic, mental development. The university is spread across 950 acres and houses around 20,000 girls. It is truly a pioneer in the field of women’s education.

Ambiguity of a vision

Women’s issue can’t be seen or understood in isolation. There are number of socio cultural factors which shape it. A right understanding can be achieved only by viewing it in the context, as a whole.

Society sometimes presents a picture of paradox. I was reading the Times of India, two days back.  I was struck by one of its inner page, which forced me to contemplate on what’s going on in Indian society. The page had many news items, but as far as I remember, there were four news items which attracted my attention.

Three of them presented a picture of grass root reality in India and were depressing. But there was also a piece which celebrated a woman’s achievement. Not just her achievement but women’s achievement. Along with it the achievement of the society, as both are no different from each other. They go hand in hand. A society can’t afford to develop in a real sense if it leaves one of its genders behind in the whole process. A nation is made by its citizens and women constitute fifty percent of its population.

Coming back to the newspaper page let me tell you specifically what the news items were all about. On the top of the page was a picture of a young woman carrying a helmet in her hand, wearing an air force suit and coming out of an aircraft. The lady was Saina nehwal. The Indian badminton player who won bronze in the recent London Olympics. The photograph was clicked at Air force academy, Dudigal. It’s located in the outskirts of Hyderabad, the southern Indian city. The occasion was the closing ceremony of inter-squadron sports championship at the academy where she was a chief guest. She made news by flying in air force’s Kiran MK-1 trainer aircraft.  Surely it was news to be celebrated. To show the world that we give equal opportunity to women to excel.

The question to be raised is that is there discrimination among women on the basis of their status in the society. I am neither against Saina nor honorable Pratibha Patil, the ex-president of India, who too was in news for boarding in an aircraft. The point which I wish to make is that, it is good that woman is able to climb the stairs of success in society but seeing it one should not think that there is gender equality.

The proof is the other three news items, surrounding the celebratory piece in the newspaper. I will just mention the headlines and the place. They are as follows:

  • Ø Father friend rapes child [Chandigarh]
  • Ø Man rapes, kills adopted kid [Indore]
  • Ø Two identified in gang rape case in Jharkhand [Rohtak]

Now what does this news items portray. But this is what is happening at the local level. Much of which might be going uninformed, unreported because of the fear of the same society. The society which makes one its victim and then torments the person throughout the life for the crime which one had not committed, by its continuous comments. I think the message which the patriarchy tries to deliver is that it’s a crime to be of the other sex. The answer to which, the future will show..

Women in sports

There has never been a time  from the dawn of human civilization to the present when women have been involved in sports, as participants and as spectators but not as much as men have.  Are sports then a ‘male domain’ , a ‘masculine preserve’ ? Are the women in sports ‘unwelcome intruders’ ?

In a conservative society like India, married and unmarried women have to face objections and controversies while pursuing career in sports. Even if they win they are not given the due credit for their work as compared to men. The Indian women’s hockey team won a championship but was not given any monetary reward. [The Times of India, 21january,2010. Over the ILO’s report]. Though socio cultural factors account for gender differences, but this mindset is not only limited to India, but is sensed throughout the whole world.

Advertisements in sports section deal with commodities like shaving products, auto tyres, clothing and other items whose purchase is ordinarily decided by men. But the question stands still, that why such huge difference prevails ande still uncurbed. The following reasons may be a contributor :

1] It has been found by studies that female athletes are likely to be more aggressive than the women engaged in non competitive forms of recreation.

2] In 1890’s, even the medical experts debated on the issue that whether tough exercises endangered a girl’s capacity to conceive and bear children.

3] Sports historian such as Hening Eichberg and various feminist scholars used to say that menstruation, pregnancy, child birth, lactation and menopause create a different mindset for women.

But the times are changing now. 1920’s and 1930’s are regarded as ‘the golden era osf sports’. Even in 1895, Bergman ostenberg [of physical training college] who is known as female Darwinist commented that- “I try to train my girls to help raise their own sex and so to accelerate the progress of the race….for unless the women are strong, healthy, pure and true how can the race progress ? ”

Besides these reasons, a suburban wife in her thirties and forties is expected to remain physically attractive and sports are seen as a medium to stay fit . Nowadays more and more middle class wives and mothers are participating in sports as compared to their earlier generations. studies also show that those women  participate more in sports who have the same family background and thus more talent is coming out.

The exploitation of female athletes for the enjoyment of the spectator, commercial advantage is being checked strictly by various women’s divisions organizations and feminist groups. In these positive changes the role played by media cant be neglected . Women sports magazines publication number is increasing day by day, as well as the broadcasting time of women sports is also increased as compared to the past.

Apart from serving as sports staff, women have also succeeded as observers, writers and interviewers according to their abilities. Thus women must be freed from their cultural constraints in order to finally realize their potential.

Resource:

Women sports [Author : Allen Guttmann]

Emotional intelligence [Author : Daniel Goleman]