Adjust kar lo. How often have you heard this phrase? In our society, girls are taught that adjusting is a virtue. A woman who adjusts to the changes happening in life is a ‘good woman’ while the one who refuses to do so is ‘rude’ and ‘bad’.
While adjustment might be important in some situations but it is never right in the case where adjusting will mean undermining your self-respect and agency. And women in our society are expected to do just that. They are expected to adjust in a situation that requires stern opposition. They are expected to adjust when they should voice out their resistance.
Adjust kar lo: How society expects women to adjust to have a safe life
Just yesterday, the domestic help in my house told us how her newly married daughter is being subjected to cruelty at her marital house. Her drunkard husband beats her and her greedy in-laws have snatched all her jewellery. But never once did the mother talk about divorce or police complaints. She shed tears at the ill fate of her daughter but did not think about changing it by being her support. Adjust karna padta hai is all she said to put an end to the entire discussion. Because if a woman doesn’t adjust in a marriage, she will lose the name of husband that ensures security and reputation.
Women in our society are expected to adjust not only in abusive and unhappy marriages but also while exercising their basic rights. Many families prioritise the education of the sons in the house over the daughters. They send their sons to good schools while the daughters have to be satisfied with a small school, home education or no education at all. Even if women get educated, they are expected to adjust to lower salaries than men, adjust to the demands of the parents who want them to return home before 7 and adjust to the demands of their in-laws who want them to quit the job after marriage.
Basically, a woman’s life in our society is all about making adjustments if they want a safe and secured life. If girls have the freedom to be educated, they will have to adjust and let their parents choose the groom. If they have the freedom to be employed, they will have to adjust and let others decide the right field of career. If women have the freedom to speak up, they will have to adjust to the lack of safety and respect.
For how long will women make adjustments?
But how long are we going to force women to adjust? Why is making adjustments the necessity for women to live a safe life? And what is the guarantee that women will be safe if they adjust? Why don’t we question the mindset that makes the country unsafe for women? Why don’t we question the families that humiliate and oppress their women?
Why don’t we find a constructive solution to deal with gender inequality rather than expecting women to step back from building their own lives? How long before we understand that women have the right to live on their own accord? Why should women make adjustments in exercising their basic rights? Do we ask men to adjust while exercising their rights? Shouldn’t the government and other stakeholders ensure that women’s rights are not violated?
It is high time now that we stop asking women to adjust. To be free and safe is the right of every woman. Today women are increasingly recognising their rights and refusing to give them up. So now stop shaming women who refuse to adjust. Because they are not being rude. They are just being themselves- strong and unapologetic. Adjust kar lo? Not anymore!
Views expressed are author’s own