Remember, when we were first introduced to the term ‘gender equality’ back in primary school! We learnt how both the genders are equal and deserve equal treatment in every aspect of life. Growing up, we started hearing speeches about it, people having intense discussions about it, and we realized that it is indeed a serious social issue and began having more concern towards the subject.
Considering the growing liberty and development in the mental sets of people today and all the awareness related to women’s rights in the society, it’s easy to conclude that yes, gender equality is existent and females these days are entitled to a say in the society and in their lives. However, the question arises, are we really promoting gender equality or simply using the concept to satisfy our greed for women empowerment and social change?
Because, despite all that we learn in schools and colleges, what we actually see and observe around us sometimes seems to be completely antithetical to what we are supposed to learn morally. Take it this way, when we learn about a particular procedure from our books and then later observe it happening in reality, it justifies all that we learned and in turn, embeds it into our concrete memory. That is observational learning giving validation to educational learning.
The same way, if on one hand, we learn about gender equality, its importance and implication in books and through some media platforms while on the other hand, we observe actions and examples all around us, on an everyday basis that contradict it all making people like us question what is right and who they are supposed to follow. And, that’s where begins the birth of another generation who learn to twist the whole concept of gender equality into something solely guided by their society.
So, regardless of the growing awareness that’s been enforced in our society regarding gender equality, it seems like an empty box simply decorated with a colourful cloth from the outside. Changes are taking place, but at the same time, gender discrimination is being facilitated discreetly.
Here’s how! Although, females are now given the liberty to study further and flourish in the careers of their choice to most extent, at the same time, trivial yet important factors like marriage and lifestyle are shoved off their platter. If a woman is doing too well for herself or earning more than her partner, the comparison steps in. In turn, kicking off all the gender equality that the society has been boasting of lately.
The same society that encourages women to accomplish in their careers and aim for financial independence these days, also wants to restrict women to household chores and child-rearing because men are the original bread-earners according to the hypocritical mindsets of the society.
Then comes in the social stratification in this country, where every social status implies different forms of gender discrimination. Where in the lower classes, education to females is still an issue, in middle and upper classes, although female education is not a target of discrimination, other muted forms of restrictions still prevail.
These are the kind of things that happen around us all the time and most of us can’t help but adopt the new ideology contradicting what we’ve been learning from our books. And, clearly, it’s not even our fault because what we observe is what we learn which is now becoming our major concern. Because, as long as this continues, there’s no hope of giving the coming generations an ideal mentor and role model in that context.
Also, since we’re talking about gender equality, I’d like to break the mental frame most of us hold that gender equality is majorly focused on women empowerment. Since it’s about equality, it should be a fair game for both the genders. Having said that, most women take an advantage of the society’s concern for gender equality to rely completely and financially on their partners to an extent of pressurizing them.
But then, that’s what we’ve been taught and following since ages. Men are the bread earners, women are the homemakers. And, if we’re trying to break all the stereotypes regarding women’s role in life, why turn it the other way and thrive back in the set faulty roles?
If it’s really all about equality, then both the genders need to take equally and also give equally to the society.