She Felt ‘Empowered’ By Riding A Bike

Women Day spree has become a sizable snippet in leading up with the best way to show women’s seized, instead of inherited power. Power of femininity, power of liberation, power which we have earned or battled for. Hoodlum excluded, I feel good about the whole transition. Looking at this transition from a macro aspect is so incredible, but when go down at the micro level, it reminds me of some silly concepts and examples like, Deepika Padukone’s campaign for Vogue. “Don’t question me if I am back home at 4am after party, MY CHOICE”… Really? Is that what you call empowerment?

Congress MP Ranjeet Ranjan rides on Harley Davidson to parliament, to show what? That she owns a Harley or she could ride one? How does it impact her belief in empowering women or having reservation for women in Lok Sabha? Ranjeet said she does not allow even her husband Rajesh Ranjan, also a Lok Sabha member from Bihar, to touch the bike, which she had purchased from her own earnings. However, he does get a chance to sit pillion as she rides the American monster. Is this how one perceives or should look at women empowerment? Feminists should ponder this situation intensely. First of all why do men felt the need to form “Save Indian Families’’ forum?

In my view, Women Empowerment has been mis-perceived by most of the people going gung-ho about this matter absurdly instead of taking informed stand. Women do not demand a comparison with men to feel empowered. At the same time, men do not need to wear heels to understand women power (Arjun Kapoor, you can support better campaigns than the frivolous campaigns like ‘Wear Her Heels’). Women empowerment is when she breaks code which was set against her – to make her feel belittled.

Empowerment is when few women went out to break some rules in a fruitful way and as a result India did see its first batch of Female Fighter Pilots in June 18. Previously women were not allowed to join Indian Air force as Fighter Pilots on the ground of physical limitations. Now, the Female Trainees undergo the rigorous training same as their male counterparts.

Empowerment is when a tribal woman in Chattisgarh sells off her three goats to make a toilet in her house. This is the power, power of a woman to take charge and turn situations. Situations and paths do not change to accommodate people, we have to make our own path if we are not happy with the one ahead of us. There are so many women around riding bikes, driving cars, does that mean they are empowered?

The question of empowerment started way back in 90s, when there was disparity between men and women – voting rights, family and social pressures, treating woman like commodity instead of an equal human being. It was not only women, but also men who equally contributed towards bringing in this change. The women who feel empowered should sit back and think about all those men who helped them who they are today. My answer would be my father to provide me education and treating me no less than a son, my husband who respects my point of view.

Empowerment is not buying luxury with your salary and expect men to provide the rest without any help. Help here does not only means monetary but emotional too. Empowerment is hand holding your family in bad times and do whatever you could do. Mrs. Sudha Murthy is the best example.

So, the question is – Where do we actually need to empower women? It is hard to fathom how slow-moving the cultural exchange within India is when you find out that there are several places across the country where harmful customs of the ancient world coexist with modern appliances and thought. Women empowerment should be seen as the creation of an environment where women can make independent decisions on their personal development as well as shine as equals in society. And the most important factor to bring in a change is literacy.

Not only is an illiterate woman at the mercy of her husband or father, she also does not know that this is not the way of life for women across the world. There is a need for empowerment to women who are not treated equally and have little or no say in decision-making. The health and safety concerns of women are paramount for the well being of a country, and are important factors in gauging the empowerment of women in a country. However there are alarming concerns where maternal healthcare is concerned.

Its time to rise up and take a stand. To do whatever we could do along with the greatest support we find in men. Its time to question the work of Ministry for Women & Child Development and Nation Commission for Women. To truly understand what is women empowerment, there needs to be a sea-change in the mind-set of the people in the country.

Article by: Khyati Dhankar, Malad.

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