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International Girl Child Day: How women perpetrate patriarchy & why it has to stop

India’s gender inequality and patriarchal practices are well-known to the world. According to the United Nations, “Gender inequality is reflected in India’s low rank on the Gender Inequality Index, which is 108 out of 149 countries with a value of 0.617.” The United Nations states that India is second from bottom, just above Afghanistan, among the South Asian countries, in gender inequality.
 
The disparity in male to female sex ratio and employment rates too tell a dark story about gender inequality in this country. However, when it comes to women’s rights, most of the conversations (in various media, platforms, etc) centre around the patriarchal mindset of our men. While that is true, we often forget that women too contribute to fuelling this mindset of men in our country.
 
Some of us have had our grandmothers giving our brothers a bigger part of a Laddu while we got 1/4th of what our brothers got. Similarly, we have had instances where our grandmother treated us like lesser mortals because we were born to her daughter (who doesn’t carry the family’s lineage forward). 
 
Such cases are not rare in Indian families. What’s worst is that our own women believe or are made to believe that men will take care of our needs, they are there to protect us and that they will be the bread winners of our family while we quietly sit and do housework. 
 
We are making progress on one side, but this mindset is embedded deep in our systems, in our women too. This is gradually changing with education and with younger women getting out of their comfort zones (Read: hometowns, cities) in quest of job opportunities. However, we have a long way to go before we bring about a change in the mindsets of our own people before pointing fingers at others. 
 
For starters, gender-sensitive parenting and use of language carefully (without stereotyping) could be a saviour.
 
Hat tip to readers: Stop comparing men and women. They are different. Their capabilities are different, their strengths, different. Accept it. They are best the way they are.
 
Quoting Amartya Sen’s words from the Book Inequality Re-examined: “The question of equality arises only when you compare two entities.”
 

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