“Don’t let their lives begin, before it even begins.”
Right across the world, girls have been given inferior status compared to men throughout history. We, as a growing society, tend to forget that women bear children & nurse infants. Women often work in the house while men work outside. Women have always contributed to the economic and social life of a country. As homemakers and mothers, they do invaluable work, it is very difficult to measure the true value of their efforts.
But, is it relevant in today’s changing world?
Today, women are no less than men and are working hard to pursue their dreams. The gender roles are being changed, if not reversed. Women in most of the towns and urban areas live a better life in terms of personal fulfillment. It is the rural India where women are yet to enforce their identity.
Let us try to know more about this issue.
In India, girls have faced discrimination since ancient times. The birth of a daughter was considered less auspicious than the birth of a son. Since societies all over the world were patrilineal, preference has been given to the male child for the continuity of family Lineage. It was desirable to educate boys whereas girls had no legal status, no right to property and they were subjected to several evil practices.
The main duty of girls in society was to get married & give birth to children and to look after the home. No freedom was given to make decisions even related to their own lives.
There exist certain norms and values that determine roles expected from boys and girls in the family. These norms & values are associated with prejudices. As children grow up, they start believing that boys do not cry because they are brave and crying is the sign of weakness and if he cries, others will laugh at him. There are some more stereotypes like- boys are strong, boys are good at sports, girls are soft spoken and gentle, girls are good at cooking, girls are emotional and so on…
RIGHT TO LIVE
Instances of female infanticide and female feticide are quite common. Mortality rate of the girl child is higher than that of the boy child in the same age group. This is not due to poverty or biological reasons, actually preference for boys lead to discrimination in the treatment of girls as they were denied equality in terms of food, basic health, and even care by parents. These evil practices are responsible for a decline in sex ratio.
ROLE OF SOCIAL REFORMERS
Some social & religious reformers have made efforts to improve the condition of girls in India. Read on!
1)Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar who founded many educational institutions for girls’ education.
2)Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan who adopts abandoned infants, acid attack victims, rape victims, and whores as his foster daughters; gets them medically treated and married willfully. He has founded several educational institutes also.
3)Sir Syed Ahmed Khan condemned parda system and polygamy in the Muslim society and advocated education for Muslim girls.
The government has also enacted many initiatives to improve the conditions for girl child. But government alone will not be able to change the status of girls. Change in the attitude and norms of the society is equally essential. So, let us all contribute, and change ourselves for the better, and then reach out to the world! 🙂