The Flip Side... Care To Think???


Tanya S Gaurav
Doctoral Researcher
Banasthali Vidyapith

While carrying out a survey for my research paper I realized the kind of a vicious circle our society has put its women and in turn itself into. God designed man as the bread-earner and woman as the home-maker in order to maintain a balance in everyday life and within each system/sub-system. It was even perfect as per today's management principles like delegation, division of labor and decentralization. It nowhere meant that one of the genders became more or less important as per the jobs/tasks that they were handling or any one particular gender had better access to a better life, education, lifestyle, freedom of choice etc. Neither of the two roles were meant or supposed to be more or less important. Basic level of education and exposure were meant to be the same for both. Like the man faced challenges in order to earn a living, the woman faced challenges in maintaining relationships, social obligations, raising kids etc. So, when a man and a woman came together, they formed a cohesive system which was complete in every way, lived a satisfactory life, where there was time for kids, relatives, socializing, vacations etc. Under the above scenario it was meant to be understood that both the roles demanded and commanded due respect and acknowledgement.

There could be families or social set-ups where the income of one member was not enough could be for any reason. It could be an ailment, loans, education, inadequate salary/skill set or just simple a different philosophy or a school of thought that demanded women to work as well. In that case, the respective systems could devise a way to work as a dual-career family. And there were always means to manage the same with cooperating spouses, families, social-setups and on a large the organizations.

None of the above ever implied or meant that women did not have the right to explore themselves beyond the roles assigned to them on the basis of their gender. Across all periods of time one can see that as and when there has been a need for a woman to step up and pursue a career, she has done so with utmost commitment, honesty and yielded results as well. Whether or not there is a need, any particular social/family set-up cannot take the right of making one's own choices or taking one's own decisions.

Then, like everyone knows, people at a large can distort anything and everything as per their convenience.

In our society, this balance of roles instead of being respected was distorted. Girls were expected to study less, do courses through correspondence, not take up demanding and challenging subjects/careers, not explore their hobbies or interests and finally before they could realize, the right to make their own choices slipped out of their hands. Knowingly unknowingly consciously sub-consciously the men and the society started to dominate and oppress its women. Women were looked down upon as the weaker sex who constantly needed support and were always dependent on the men folk for their survival. The first thing a typical society would think of on the arrival of a girl child would be eventually her marriage. "Being settled" became synonymous to "being married", needless to say that the definitions were different for the boys. Her bringing up was done keeping marriage, household in mind. Boys and girls were raised differently, taught different stuff, even daily jobs were segregated into "what women do" and "what men do". The whole man-woman concept was distorted.

There were always families which gave wings to their daughters and their dreams. Though this was absolutely normal, but because the society had formed its own do's and don'ts these families and the respective girls were termed "rebellious", ironic as it may seem. The percentages of these families were also very low. Before anyone could realize the concept of "working women" became a topic of debate across the world. This in turn led to a societal pressure to "work" or "not to work". To work became a sign of intelligence and competency rather than a personal choice and also became highly gender-centric. As if, running a home and raising kids required no competency at all. Women, consciously sub-consciously were made to suffer from an identity crisis. Who's identity was actually at stake, its well known to all!!! People didn't want to get out of the comfort zone of their thought processes n hence the social chaos. All this brought no good to anyone, no man, no woman, no organization and no society. It's a price everyone paid n still pays for not having taken the concept of working women naturally. The term "working woman" confuses me, never heard of a "working man"!!!

This chaos went to the next level when "working" became more than just a priority or a matter of choice for women. It became a point of self-worth, self-concept, identity, competence etc. Families and females were ready to pay any price for it. Whether or not an individual had a professional drive, everyone was all out to explore/derive and bring it out and stretch it to any level. As if, there was appoint to be proved. With time, some were forced to prove a point, some became rebellious and were constantly on appoint-proving spree and many just simply blindly followed without a strong view of their own. What point, it remains ambiguous to me!!!

Other issues which surfaced and affected the society at large were/are Delayed marriages, marital issues, adjustment issues, lack of interdependence within families, parenthood issues, lack of patience/perseverance while raising kids and managing families/relationships, unrealistic expectations from self and others, health issues (special emphasis on female health) etc.

To make matters worse, consumerism and technology played up leading to unending desires and a financially unplanned way of living. Everyone wants everything. Everyone wants huge sums of money to spend on themselves. No one wants to wait, budget or put themselves behind. People are ready to trade their real world for their virtual world, real relations for virtual ones, and unfortunately, real self for a virtual self.

The deeper I think; I realize that men and women were created and are in every way equal. Broadly, both are born, both go to school, both go to college, both make careers, both have duties to fulfill, both marry, both can drive, both can fly and so on !!! There is no way in which both are different except one- the biological difference made by god and nature itself, one which completes and merges the balance of our existence. And that is for a reason, a reason which benefits all families across the world, all societies and all organizations, a process, which gives a family its progeny and a country its youth. And above all this, it's nature's law. It must be respected for what it is. It can and should never be a reason for being judgmental about a particular gender. It just doesn't make sense that ways!!! Any policies or support systems that help a woman tide over her child bearing/rearing phase must in in-built in every family, society and organizations rather than being highlighted or outlined!!! Shouldn't it be just understood!!! What's the big deal???

Isn't it hard to imagine the flip side a time when women, in order to be professional, not wanting career breaks, to earn, to be self-reliant, to be at par with the men folk etc. decide not to bear children!!! Will that answer gender equality??? I don't think so!!! Families and societies would end, the youth of the country would diminish, and above all Mother Nature would be tampered with the repercussions of which would be catastrophic which no mankind would be able to mend!!!

I would like to emphasize that this article is my personal viewpoint. No where do I intend to demean any particular gender or social set-up. This article has been written in an attempt to understand the importance of balance for everyone, everywhere and in every way because everything has a flip side and balance in life is the only way to sustain!!!

Tanya S Gaurav
Doctoral Researcher
Banasthali Vidyapith

Source: E-mail February 10, 2015


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