Women's Equality Day: Equal Society Is A Distant Dream, These Incidents Are A Proof

If we want to keep moving towards achieving the goal of an equal society, we need to look hard at these five incidents and ask- why do we continue to fail women?

Avishka Tandon
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women's equality day 2022
Women's Equality Day is celebrated every year on August 26 to commemorate the day in 1920 when women in the United States were given the right to vote. On this day in 1920, Bainbridge Colby, the Secretary of State signed the proclamation to prohibit the federal government from exercising gender discrimination when it came to voting rights. For the rest of the world too, this day is a reminder to commit to eradicating inequality. But many recent incidents have proven that both in developed and developing nations, this journey is far from over.

A lot has been achieved globally, in terms of attaining gender equality. However, there are many reasons why we can't "celebrate" this day just yet. Especially when crimes and discrimination against women continue to raise their ugly head time and again. 11 men who gangraped a woman in our country were granted remission and thus were able to walk free on India's 75th Independence Day no less. The Prime Minister of one of the most developed countries in the world was publicly shamed and pushed into taking a drug test simply because she partied with her friends. The two extremes and everything in between needs our urgent attention.

If we want to keep moving towards achieving the goal of an equal society, we need to look hard at these five incidents, and many more like them, and ask ourselves, what could have been done to avoid them? How can we do better in future?

Women's Equality Day 2022: Incidents That Remind Us We Still Have A Long Way To Go

Early Release Of Bilkis Bano Case Convicts

Bilkis Bano was not only gangraped during 2002 communal riots of Gujarat, 14 of her family members were killed by eleven men. The convicts were sentenced to life imprisonment in January 2008. However, in August 2022, all the convicts were set free under the remission policy of the Gujarat government, after completing 14 years of their sentence.

The released convicts were welcomed with garlands and fed sweets- an act which raised questions on women safety and rights in India. Speaking on their release, Bilkis Bano said in a statement that it had left her "numb" and "bereft of words". She further asked, "How can justice for a woman end like this? I trusted the highest courts in our land." Just when will our administration and judiciary stop letting women down?


Suggested Reading: Brahmins With Good Sanskar: CK Raulji Clarifies Bilkis Bano Case Convicts Comment

Dhanashree Verma Getting Hate For Dropping Her Husband's Surname

Dhanashree Verma is an choreographer married to Indian cricketer Yuzvendra Chahal. Recently, she dropped her husband's surname from her social media name which not only raised divorce speculations but led to a hate campaign against Verma. Users called her gold digger, cheater and even compared her individual popularity to that of her husband.

A woman's surname is her choice and whether she wants to add her husband's name to it or not is completely her decision. Also, there are two people in a relationship and it could be anyone responsible for a rift in relation but the society still blames women for everything. When will women have equality in relationships?


Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin Criticised For Party Video

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin recently got involved in a controversy when a personal video of her partying with her friends got leaked and she started receiving criticism for it. The 36-year-old is a young woman, apart from being a global leader, and thus she has every right to lead her personal life the way she wants.

While society turns a blind eye at problematic behaviour of many male politicians, Marin was called unprofessional largely because she was a woman in power and thus was expected to behave a certain way. When will these double standards end? When will men and women in leadership positions be judged on basis of similar parameters?

Kerala Court's Comment On Sexual Harassment

Kerala's Kozhikode Sessions Court was recently hearing a sexual harassment case against Civic Chandran, a 74-year-old social activist. The court accepted the bail plea of the accused and said that the sexual harassment case is invalid as the complainant herself was wearing provocative clothes. The judge hearing the case made many  observations about the accused's age, health condition, physical disabilities, the survivor's dress, height etc., which  had led him to conclude that he could not have forced a woman on his lap and pressed her breast.

It is 2022, and survivors of sexual crimes still have to endure dress shaming and character assassination. Belief in men comes easily to our society, and even when it doesn't their predatory behaviour is glossed over with claims like "men will be men." When will dress shaming of women stop? When will society start holding men accountable?


Tennis Star Serena Williams' Comment On Parenthood

Tennis icon Serena Williams recently revealed how she had a tough time choosing between her career and motherhood. Williams was a guest at actor and Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle's latest podcast Archetype where she revealed that she delayed her pregnancy to focus on her career. She said that a female player has to abandon her career or take a break after becoming a mother whereas male players are still out there playing all their lives even after embracing fatherhood.

This showed how parenthood has different meaning for men and women. Since childcare duties continue to fall largely on women, it is their careers that have to take the brunt while dads continue to work as if nothing has changed in their lives. When will inequality in parenting change? When will we stop applauding men for doing bare minimum childcare duties?

Views expressed are the author's own.

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