By Dr. Saba Taj
The current world demands empowerment of women on the basis of gender equality and equal rights in social as well as cultural domains. They want right to speak, to dress, to work like men, etc. In general equal means identical. Giving identical rights to men and women is gender justice. But the question arises: is giving rights equal to man’s enough for women? And why are we demanding it?
UNICEF defines gender equality as “women and men, and girls and boys, enjoy the same rights, resources, opportunities and protections.
Giving rights equal to man’s is not enough for women. God has created men and women differently, both physiologically and psychologically, and assigned them different tasks to do. Man has to bear the burden of earning livelihood for the whole family and on the other hand, woman has to shoulder the great responsibility to give birth, to reproduce and to continue the life on earth. How can a woman bear the burden of earning livelihood while she is in labour or while she is on her pregnancy phase? Similarly, motherhood of women is irreplaceable. Giving women equal rights to work like a man’s will be injustice to women; it is endangered for womanhood.
Women need more rights and facilities than men. They should get more opportunities in education, career and other fields. Further gender equality should not mean equal treatment for men and women. The condition of women in today’s world is very pathetic as they have to bear double burden to prove themselves to be equal to the man and to get equal opportunity. On one hand, they have to manage motherhood and monthly cycle; on the other, they have to compete with men who are physically stronger and also don’t have to bear the pain of giving birth, challenges to raise the children and ups and downs of hormones.
In the name of gender equality women are forced to take extra responsibilities and play double role in the society. In the society rather than celebrating womanhood the qualities of being a woman are considered signs of weakness.
Finally, demanding equality with man or being like a man is murder of womanhood or end of gender. Demanding rights equal to man’s is neutralising the concept of gender. A woman should be valued in her field, she should get her own rights rather than asking rights equal to the man’s. Women should ask their own rights, not just equal but more chance to access resources, education and career. They should get more opportunities to participate in economic and decision-making fields. The women’s status and value cannot be measured by comparing with man’s. Women cannot be only valued by their performance in male-dominating fields rather they should be valued in their own fields, for which God has created them. Comparing women with men is injustice to women as both of them have been created in a unique way to perform their respective duties. The uniqueness of woman is her strength; thus she should not be considered weak part of society.
Actually women upliftment is accepting and following something which allow or accept women with all their feminine characters and giving them their own rights to live freely with dignity in the society. Islam is a religion which gives women their own rights in personal life as well as in society. Islam doesn’t talk about gender equality but it treats both men and women equally without comparing genders.
In conclusion, on the occasion of Woman’s Day women should ask for their own rights; they should ask the freedom to celebrate womanhood without being forced to perform in male domains.
Women should be judged or valued by the tasks assigned to them by God. Hence, the concept of gender equality holds no water. We as women deserve much more than gender equality. Women should be valued equally in society as well as in the religious domain without compromising with their womanhood.
[The writer is Administrator and Educational Consultant, M M Model School, Kolkata, West Bengal]