What inspired me to write this article was an interview of Malala Yusafzai taken by Emma Watson and the relevance that one interview, that was taken long back, has now.
Malala Yusafzai is a young woman of 18, who went against the wishes of the Taliban and did not succumb to the intended attacks by them, caused due to her influence in protesting for the basic right of education of women in Pakistan. She is a student and an activist who dreams of ensuring education for all the women and children in the world.
On the opposite chair was Emma Watson. An actor, model and an activist too, she launched her campaign called ‘HeForShe’ at the United Nations and extended a formal invitation to the men to participate in the conversations of gender equality. She did so, for it is the gender stereotypes that abstains men from contributing to the gender equality movement.
These young ladies, in not more than 24 minutes, convinced me that the need for awareness, the need for knowledge and the need for change is very intense in our world.
Why should India be left behind in this movement? With a literacy rate of 74%, we’re quite behind the rest of the world average of 84%. Everyone has the freedom and right to get educated. Everyone deserves to be treated and respected like a human, irrespective of their gender.
Following Gandhi’s mantra of “be the change you wish to see”, here I am doing my bit to educate people about feminism. For feminism is a seriously misunderstood term here in India and the sooner people realize its true meaning, the better it is.
First thing is first. The word ‘feminism’ being closely related to the word ‘feminine’ has the potential to be misconstrued. Feminism is not about “don’t tell me what I can and cannot be because I’m an empowered woman”, rather it is about “let’s support each other in a world that considers women inferior to men and be equal, at every step” and “help me in my safety from those who think they have a physical authority over me”. Feminism doesn’t aim at dominating men in the name of female rights; it aims at practicing equality on humanitarian grounds.
“We all have to work together. That’s how change will come”-Malala Yusufzai
History is the proof that females have been victims of oppression at the hands of men. Is the situation same today? Not everywhere, but in most of the places it is. We are in the year 2015, but some men do not allow their daughters to get educated beyond a certain standard. In some places women are just not permitted to go to schools. They are expected to act in a certain manner and dress in a certain way and go out and come back at a certain time. This is where the men are needed so that they can raise their voice along with the women who have been protesting for their rights since many years. The men are welcome to take part in empowering women on the grounds of equality.
Its not just women, men are the victims of gender stereotyping too. They are always expected to be emotionally strong and financially independent from a very young age itself, which is a source of immense pressure for them. Why shouldn’t women share the pressure of earning money, if any, with men? Why should men suppress their sensitive aspects? Instead, both sexes are part of the human race and sensitivity and strength are both a part of being human.
To conclude I quote Emma Watson:
“Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.”
About The Author
Currently pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from MCM DAV College. An avid reader with an immense love for dancing. I enjoy music, poetry and art