Saturday, March 6, 2010

An ode to women on Woman's day?

It was in Dubai that I first saw this large group of very young women being shooed and silenced and made to sit on the floor. It was a very disturbing sight for me to see this huge group of really young women being literally herded together by two red necked men. On checking I was told that they come on contract to work in Dubai and then return to the villages they come out of in Indonesia and wait till their next call.

So this connects with the hypocritical concept of Woman's Day. Why do we need a Woman's Day the women of Bangalore ask? We the educated do not see these women, the marginalised, obviously not educated, obviously being used by their families to send home 'gulf' money.The group was on their way home to Jakarta.Woman's Day I guess is their day!
In Jakarta there was another group waiting to go to Dubai on my flight. All sitting on the floor again, heads covered with veils, but dressed otherwise in jeans and tee shirts.Talking to them once again, I got the usual giggling response. They were going to work in Dubai and make money for their families.More than half the Emirates flight was full with them.
I wondered, what dreams would these girls have on Woman's Day. Will there ever be an equal world out there for them? Ever? Our city women think they are liberated but, wearing skimpy clothes and going to pubs or having a live in relationship is NOT being liberated. Can I walk home from anywhere, alone in India after 10pm at night? Can I come home from the airport in a cab safely when international flights land early morning ? What a question and I am no spring chick. Yet it took me six months to relax and realise that I was totally safe travelling across the length and breadth of Europe or the US at any time of the day or night. There was no fear of being attacked ever.Never mind the fact that I am brown makes me doubly uninteresting!
The day our country and men can ensure total equality for our women, then, and only then we will not need a Woman's Day in India.
Check out in the UK or Europe or the US if they have a Woman's Day and you will be told - its a developing, third world concept.
For my life time I KNOW this will never change and India will always be third world.Let's hope the Women's Bill gets passed tomorrow on Woman's Day. After years of waffling, lets hope those insecure male leaders of ours do pass it.
It is a shame and lets hope we can change the attitudes of our sons if not our husbands!


  1. Oh I can't agree more with you about the safety bit! I find complete freedom when am travelling anywhere even in South East Asia... I have been out at 11 in the night in Hong Kong and China and I have felt so safe. Not here in our place. Never.

    But the women's bill... it's sad that we need a reservation to come up. In other countries everybody is selected on merit and not some reservation showing that you are the weaker section, be it race or gender.

  2. Yes I thought on those lines earlier Swati but now I realise we will get edged out if we dont get reservation. No amount of talent can get us past the macho 'uns in the house who think women are meant to only make tea and produce babies! The Indian males mindset will NEVER change.