Having migrated to an open minded country such as Australia, I was and am surprised every time to hear comments, jokes or expectations of a man from a woman that were patriarchal in nature or tone. Even though my origins could be traced to a country that used to be regarded as orthodox and patriarchal, since feudalism or Zamindaari system have gone with the wind and with the impact of modernisation and western culture besides education, Indian women enjoying equity in all aspects of life is not a rare sight in urban areas, and if they are not, it could be due to their existence in remote rural areas where internet connections, televisions or cable TV has not cast its addictive influence on the stagnant communities.
As far as man woman relationship is concerned, it is refreshing to see the dynamic change with significance given by both the partners in a relationship to career first and family or marital life second. Once success is achieved in their different careers and economic stability is achieved, man and woman are not reluctant to enter into long term relationships. Sex before marriage is no longer a taboo as both the sexes acknowledge their physical needs long enough to find gratification in each other’s company but prefer to move on and not to be dragged down by stereotypical perceptions, customs and traditions until they have achieved their goals and are sure of what they want in life. Indian Government is earnestly involved in promoting gender equity and has succeeded in initiating a remarkable change in the mindset of young educated and skilled men.
Gender equity campaigns are not only promoted by the Indian Government but by most countries all over the world. A few years ago, one of my students had selected this sixty minutes commercial as his related text for a HSC course that emphasized on Australian voices. Although a short text, it had a wealth of meaning to offer. I found the campaign so interesting that I began to keep an open eye for such promotions. How often do we overlook small signs of disrespect and fail to address it immediately! However, it is such signs of disrespect that leads to violence against women. This simple message draws our attention to the magnitude of a pressing social issue in the contemporary society.
I stumbled upon another short video clip during my surfing sessions that is equally forceful in driving home the point that no body thinks big of a man who belittles his partner before his friends, strangers or a crowd just to convey the impression that he is a macho man who keeps his woman/women under control. On the contrary, he is only successful in earning the disapproval of his mature friends. Patriarchy in most cultures and countries is transient with change casting its supremacy over practices, beliefs and lifestyles that are unsuitable for a progressive society or nation. Educated, employed and independent women contribute to building stronger foundations, families and communities and hence change is beautiful.