Literally gender equality, also known as sex equality, gender egalitarianism, sexual equality, or equality of the genders, is the view that everyone should receive equal treatment and not be discriminated against based on their gender. This is one of the objectives of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which seeks to create equality in law and in social situations, such as in democratic activities and securing equal pay for equal work. This is one of the objectives of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which seeks to create equality in law and in social situations, such as in democratic activities and securing equal pay for equal work. Though many educationists and intellectuals have aired their views on the subject matter, asserting that there should be no differentiation between men and women whether it is the gender role which is a set of societal norms dictating what types of behaviors are generally considered acceptable, appropriate, or desirable for a person based on their actual or perceived sex or sexuality, there still remain some core conclusive facts to be accepted universally. An early advocate for gender equality was Christine de Pizan, who in her 1405 book The Book of the City of Ladies wrote that the oppression of women is founded on irrational prejudice, pointing out numerous advances in society probably created by women. As a group, the Shakers, an evangelical group which practiced segregation of the sexes and strict celibacy, were early practitioners of gender equality. Shakers maintained the same pattern of gender-balanced leadership for more than 200 years. They also promoted equality by working together with other women’s rights advocates. Debates and threadbare discussions on the subject had begun to reverberate, taking cognizance of the brunt women face in the name of gender inequality. Already women were the victims of being feminine in nature, a blatant misconception which seem to get used to it. Say it by nature or misconstrued obligations women are confined mostly to household works, looking after their children and families. But all thanks to the changing times and power of education that such stereotypes on gender have been deliberated and dissected to clear the surrounding misconception. A highly contentious issue relating to gender equality is the role of women in religiously oriented societies. In many Muslim countries, women are ill-treated and deprived of their basic rights. Women are relegated to secondary status as illustrated by Quranic verse 4:34 which says “Allah has made men superior to women because men spend their wealth to support them. Therefore, virtuous women are obedient, and they are to guard their unseen parts as Allah has guarded them. As for women whom you fear will rebel, admonish them first, and then send them to a separate bed, and then beat them. But if they are obedient after that, then do nothing further; surely Allah is exalted and great!”.
Women’s rights are secured under the Constitution of India mainly equality, dignity, and freedom from discrimination. The status of women in India has been subject to many great changes over the past few millennia. With a decline in their status from the ancient to medieval times to the promotion of equal rights by many reformers, the history of women in India has been eventful. In modern India, women have held high offices including that of the President, Prime Minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Leader of the Opposition, Union Ministers, Chief Ministers and Governors. However, women in India continue to face numerous problems, including violent victimization through rape, acid throwing, dowry killings, and the forced prostitution of young girls. India is ranked as the worst G20 country to be born a woman and one of the worst countries for women in the world.
In the state of Manipur too, sadly women are made to reel under the consequences of the evil stereotypes. As track record suggests, they have been the victims of the rampant heinous crimes mainly rape and murder besides facing domestic violence and exploitation from their male counterparts. These disturbing trends occurring every now and then are a matter of serious concern which needs to be dealt promptly. Since time immemorial women of the state were known for their courage and perseverance. They have been always in the forefront whenever their families and integrity of the state are in threat. In return what they got is not the one which they deserve. Women are also the soft target of cyber crimes which has become a raging threat for them in the state with the advancement of social media mainly Facebook and WatsApp. Past incidents suggest that they can be easily victimized through such social applications as modesty mostly matters them. Many are of the view that providing more women’s empowerment, increasing female educational opportunities, expanding economic spaces, promoting health and safety and increasing their roles in conflict prevention and peacemaking can prove vital in rescuing them from the disturbing situations they encounter. “Gender equality is often viewed as costly. But the cost of inequality is much higher”, a quote from Dalia Grybauskaite, President of Lithuania, carries enough profound message to do away with the separateness in the name of gender.
Leader Writer: Rakesh Lourembam