We all have grown up in a highly patriarchal society where both men and women are conditioned to be misogynists. While some women have to fight hard for equal rights in their own houses, others continue to live in subjugation.

Often women in rural areas are much more liberated but don’t have a voice, said activist Rana Safvi at a recent discussion. Urban women have a voice but aren’t so liberated, she added.

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Not about rich or poor

Shethepeople.tv founder Shaili Chopra said, “It is not about rich or poor. I’ve come to realize you could be really rich but completely poor when it comes to having equal rights. Someone else could be financially poor, but very vehement and feminist. So all pre-conceived notions of what women really are and their abilities are completely shattered for me as somebody who read something in history books or heard something from other forums till about five years ago when social media started throwing these ideas up and we started pushing the envelope about two years ago.”

Beena Pallical of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights feels even in cities, women don’t have voices, so it’s vain to go to the hinterland. “A lot of times when we talk about strength, we forget to talk about the third gender and what that means to be. They are further marginalised and oppressed in the larger agenda.”

“We have to ensure that we have to empower that last woman who is cleaning your streets, coming to your house and cleaning it and taking care of your kids etc. constructing these cities. Those are the women we need to build strengths of remember when we talk about rights and causes,” – Beena Pallical

She added, “India is definitely bleeding. We don’t want to have constructive arguments and dialogues, especially for Dalit women. If something happens to them, then even filing an FIR is such a difficult issue. We have to have spaces that are inclusive and welcoming.”

Lack support system

Pallical made a strong point about sisterhood and how women lack the support system where they can discuss issues in their own families. “Women fail other women when they talk about harassment and molestation in families,” stressed both Safvi and Pallical.

Pallical called the women who clean our streets and our building as the last women standing as they are the ones upholding democracy. “We have to ensure that we have to empower that last woman who is cleaning your streets, coming to your house and cleaning it and taking care of your kids etc. Those are the women we need to build strengths of when we talk about rights and causes.”

We have had waves of feminism pass by and we have greatly benefited from them. But even after years of struggle, there are countless women who are living their lives without freedom of expression. How crazy, right? Wrong. It is the duty of every woman to lift another and empower her. Invest time and effort in making one’s life better.

More Stories by Poorvi Gupta

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