Women and Human Rights: Long Way to Go::By:Ms Sumana Majumdar
Women and Human Rights: Long Way to Go
By: Ms Sumana Majumdar
In the original Sanskrit literature, the adornment of woman by Tvashtri is described as: He took the delicateness of the leaf and the glance of the fawn, the cheerfulness of the sun’s rays and the tears of the mist, the inconsistency of the wind and the timidity of the hare, the vanity of the peacock. He added the roughness of the diamond, the sweet essence of honey, the cruelty of the tiger, the warmth of the fire and the chill of the snow. He melted all these and formed a woman. This woman, who as a mother, is “Supreme Being and Guru”. She is a mother, sister and daughter as well. We started our human and social life from her. Women are the co-travelers in the journey of the creation of life and progress of the society. They can bring any change in the society and country for the protection, goodwill and welfare of the human beings, society and country. Without women the development is not feasible as they are the soldiers of the real human development as well as the country’s development.
A women’s role in preserving her offspring should have given her immense power. She should have been in command in the family and in the society too. But that has not taken place. Her source of power has been manipulated as a tool of repression against her. She has been made to act as the image printed by others. She has not been treated equal with man. The gender violence is a universal phenomenon which takes various forms across class, race and culture. This unequal status of women being is offensive to human dignity and also violation of human rights has emerged today as a fundamental crisis in human development. Injustice toward gender has taken the form of crimes against women all over the world. India is no exception to this. Despite the fact that the Indian mythology placed women on a very high pedestal, women continue to suffer from increasing tide of violence both in and outside the violence.
Some of this violence is:
· Rape: Sexual intercourse with a woman against her will.
· Indecent Representation: Derogatory depiction of women whether in print or electronic media.
· Domestic Violence: Violence against women especially in matrimonial homes.
· Dowry Death: Dakshina, originally a token in cash or kinds having its origin in the sublime sentiments of a bride’s parents in a marriage. For absence of those women are killed, burnt or thrown out of their house.
· Sati: Sati or self immolation is an act by a widow on the pyre of the dead body of her husband.
· Female Foeticide: Abortion of female fetuses through a technique called amniocentesis.
· Incest: Incestuous relationship can be defined as sexual intercourse between full blood, half blood, uterine relationship and those by adoption.
· Paedophilia: Preference of sexual activity with children.
· Immoral Traffic: Commercial traffic of women, men and children for the purpose of prostitution.
· Sexual Harassment at the Work Place: Violation of human rights and the dignity of working women are challenged at their work place.
A number of key international figures and organizations haverecognized the importance of enhancing the role of women insociety for sustainable progress. Kofi Annan, former SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations, stated that enhanced involvementof women in decision making is central to the advancement ofhumankind as a whole and Dr. Margaret Chan of WHO saidsustainable progress is dependent on the empowerment ofwomen.
In general, it is pretended that women will be empowered and all their problems will be solved if a formal status of equality is granted to them by the constitution, by the laws as well as by introducing welfare policies for them. To get adequate share in decision-making process and hold leadership positions, an attempt has also been made by Indian Government making a provision of 30% reservation for women in all elected of local bodies both in urban and rural areas. But unfortunately nothing is going to empower women is much deeper than is seen at the superficial level. Cultural practices continue to limit women’s participation as full citizens. Cultural practices pose significant barriers for women to fully participate in common decision making processes even when intentional efforts are made to include women’s voices.
To effectively engage women in decision making and impacting the developing world’s most pressing problems:
1. Common discussion and decision making processes need to be augmented with tools and processes that enable rank and cultural practices to be mitigated.
2. Women need to be engaged in a manner that does not threaten the value and worth of men and where both women and men achieve improved quality of life.
3. The struggle of women and men needs to be addressed on multiple levels.
About the author:Ms Sumana Majumdar is a well-known cultural activist of Tripura. She teaches psychology at Netaji Subhash Mahavidhalaya, Udaipur as a PGT. She also runs the NGO- “Woman World” for the upliftment and empowerment of women. She writes for several Magazines, Newspapers and Journals.