(Image used for illustrative purpose only)
Bollywood is in turmoil and so are many other vocations including politics, advertising, media, etc. The surface of an iceberg has been scratched. I won’t say that seen even the tip of the iceberg is visible yet. From boardrooms to bedrooms, one common discussion has been the challenges to work with dignity that women face in their working life. Only a handful have raised the stink and have punished the offenders. Why I mention that only the surface of an iceberg has been scratched is because of the enormity of the situation. I suspect that almost all working women, who have worked for decent amount of time, will have a similar story or two to narrate. Most have kept quiet because of the fear of career, family, social or economic repercussions.
Cut to a KBC episode a couple of weeks ago that featured a lady head of NGO which is fighting for rights for women in an Adivasi area. She narrated a heart-rending story. About women who did not even know that it was rape (and illegal) when men in their village would demand a non-consensual sex with them. More power to you ma’am.
Indeed a strange world and stranger times.
The fear that concerns me is whether this is just a fad and its intensity would die down as soon as our media finds another topic that has more potential for increasing readership or eyeballs. What also bothers me is that women leadership have not taken up the cudgels yet.
Unless women feel that their dignity is safeguarded, they will not be able to contribute their potential share in social and economic growth of our society. The mindset to protect women’s dignity has to be changed forcefully if it does not happen naturally. This needs to be considered as the social problem of national importance.
Women’s Reservation Bill needs to be passed. Women need to ask every candidate who will come asking for votes about his/her action plan on ensuring women’s dignity. Every government needs to feel insecure of losing their power if it does not do anything on the issue.
The laws have been enacted already. But #metoo is a social issue rather than a legal challenge. Unless the Company feels that women’s dignity is as important as its profitability. Unless, men are forced to behave with women in a dignified manner. Unless the government does enough to remove imbalances against women in society, this problem will simmer, and the world would suffer.
We will have to empower women enough to speak up when their dignity is infringed upon. All women.