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Forces inimical to the increasing role of women should take note of latter’s growing contribution to economy
Posted On Friday, June 25, 2010 at 12:37:58 AM
The Marlboro man is not here anymore. After being a silly, blonde homemaker, working wife, live-in partner, Barbie is happily single again.
She has worked her way up from a typist to teacher to doctor and a serious executive. Barbie is every woman’s avatar now.
She is Punjabi and Gujarati and Black, so much so that the Islamic world has their own equivalent. She has changed a lot all over the world in the last hundred years.
Is there a relation? The Marlboro man and Barbie might just be icons of our collective imaginations, but they signify a critical shift our societies are undergoing.
Women have outnumbered men in American workforce this year. Recession is a reason for this, but not enough to underscore the trend which is building for so many years now.
The woman has become her own provider and to her children and doesn’t really have to depend on the hunter-gatherer. She has freedom to choose her life, motherhood, sperm, pregnancy and the dividends that come with money — independence and confidence.
More women are divorcing men now than the other way round, and they are not necessarily doing it because they have another man in their life.
That they are tired and bored are good enough reasons. Marriage as a failing, crumbling institution is a trending story now playing in our family courts.
The power equation of the society has been affected. It is unleashing great insecurity and intolerance in the forces of society, which have always been against change.
The geographical distance between the places where beheadings are ordered by the khap panchayats in rural Haryana and the globalised Gurgaon — where women can book ‘motherhood’ through sperm banks — would just be around 100 kms.
Can you visualise a khap panchayat with a Marlboro man (replace the cigarette with hukka and the horse with a buffalo) squirming at the courage of Barbie and beheading her for the ‘sin’ of making her own choices? A senior army officer wonders over a telephone conversation “what were we before the gotras came into existence? What was the norm then?”
A silent revolution is underway with the role of women increasing. And a mature society should be able to accommodate and adjust accordingly.
Not because the women are weaker or soft or fair, but because their equity and contribution in our economy is growing. And they are open to change, learn fast, are flexible and can multi-task better than men who are seen as egotists and stiff, and data proves this.
According to this very interesting article The End of Men in Atlantic, a monthly, Iceland chose Johanna Sigurdardottir, who is openly lesbian, as their head of state, as she had promised to end the ‘age of testosterone’ in her campaign against male elites, who, she said, had destroyed the nation’s banking system.
In China, women own over 40 per cent of private business. This story also points at Indian women learning English faster than men to work in global call centres.
A good city would also be known by the way it treats its women. Delhi can be a nightmare for many. Bangalore may surprise women, thanks to miscreants of Sri Ram Sene. Mumbai and Pune and, surprisingly, Ahmedabad are more women-friendly cities, even at odd hours.
This story is not limited to America and the developed world anymore. Our last domestic help had come from Solapur after marrying a local. She teaches Marathi in a school; works in several houses; manages her two kids, zips around on a scootie and, of course, has a mobile phone, if not a Facebook account.
One-and-a-half year back her unemployed and alcoholic husband had committed suicide. She still wears a mangalsutra to keep the men at bay.
When not studying, her sister helps her out. One day after finishing the usual jhadu-ponchha-bartan she gave me a piece of paper and asked me to check her HSC result on the internet.
She had passed with good second division. She wants to be a cop. Even if she doesn’t become that, I am sure she would find positive ways to be productively useful to the society.
I was hearing this concert of transgender singer Antony Hegarty of the band Antony and the Johnsons on an internet radio station other day.
In between two numbers, he was saying that one good experiment to make the world a better place is give all decisive powers to women. At least for three months.
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