Eradicating Patriarchy the way India Eradicated Polio

I wish eradicating a crippling mentality like patriarchy could be possible the same way as putting a few drops of a vaccine in a baby’s mouth so he or she would grow up treating everyone not better nor weaker, but respectfully, as his or her equal.

Whilst we can’t invent a medicine for this, we can take inspiration from the strategy implemented in polio eradication initiative in India. In 2009, India had 741 reported cases of the virus, the most for any nation in the world. However, since January 3rd 2011, we have not seen any new case being reported. Today we can celebrate over two years of being free from this epidemic and more years of freedom lie ahead of us.

This is truly a great achievement!

How did we make this happen?

Well according to polioeradication.org, “this mobilization was supported by innovative approaches including targeting families on trains and trekking by foot to immunize India’s most mobile and remote populations as well as working with religious leaders in Muslim communities to urge parents to immunize their children.”

A government plays a positive role in passing laws to protect and provide justice to the citizens of a government. The government of India needs to improve service from dialing the 100 national emergency helpline so that it can be as effective as America’s 911 response system. The Indian police needs to be more independent of ministerial blackmailing so they can serve people better. The Indian Legislature needs to pass laws that allow women to hold equity and leadership positions in Parliament. The Hindu Succession Amendment Act of 2005 was one such successful amendment to the Hindu’s Women Right to Property Act going back to 1937! After many changes, this 2005 Amendment Act allows a daughter to have equal rights as the son in taking ownership of land left by their father and this in turn, gives daughters equal respect.

In addition, the Indian government needs to improve transportation systems because traveling is a necessity for commerce and creating safer roads, buses, autos and trains, will make our people safer as well. Perhaps, if that couple in Dec 2012 had not been denied an autorickshaw that night or the private bus was properly authorized for use and not in the hands of criminals, then we could have saved Jyoti Singh Pandey’s life today.

Ultimately the onus of the problem lies on our own shoulders.

As citizens, we are accountable for not exercising our voting rights to elect sound representatives and where possible, we should try to educate others using the same polio eradication mobilization strategy that cured us of a major health affliction.

We can all take inspiration from the efforts of Gulabi Gang, “an extraordinary women’s movement formed in 2006 by Sampat Pal Devi in the Banda District of Uttar Pradesh in Northern India. This region is one of the poorest districts in the country and is marked by a deeply patriarchal culture, rigid caste divisions, female illiteracy, domestic violence, child labour, child marraiges and dowry demands.” Ms Devi understands the importance of empowering women about their basic human rights and educating men about the same. http://www.gulabigang.in/

Here’s a video about their efforts to eradicate patriarchy by helping both men and women who are awaiting justice.

In 2013, let us take ownership of our own thinking, rather than playing mind games and blaming each other for the way we think and act.

It would be unfair to blame all men just because they have a penis and castration as a punishment will not solve anything for this is a mental sickness. Similarly, it is not right to side with all women just because we have a uterus because unfortunately, there are still some women out there who carry this wretched mentality as well.

I urge all people, men and woman, to abolish this feudal, patriachal mentality.

Even if you think are are free from it, think again.

Marriage/Work

If you a modern thinking man who wants a modern wife who can still work as a slave at home because that’s how you saw your mother doing it, sacrificing everything for your upbringing, your education, while your father did the earning to make the man you are today, then I’m sorry but you still have a hint of that mentality. Compromises and sacrifices are expected in a union of marriage by both partners but it would be unfair to expect one spouse to make all the adjustments. Tidying the house, cooking meals, quitting your job for your newborn’s care etc. all are personal decisions to be sorted out together. Avoiding generalizations but a mother will usually love to stay at home and be devoted to her kids but if she is capable and merits a promotion when she rejoins the workforce, we should make room for those opportunities in our offices and not disrepute her by falsely assuming that she may have gotten her way to the top because of poor character. I’ve seen many companies, including some that my friends and I’ve worked in myself, that have women with tremendous work experience and are highly admired in great leadership positions. I will not make any correlation but these are award-winning companies performing in the top of their sectors.

In short, as decision-makers, we should try our best to put ourselves in our each other’s shoes to make the choices that are sound for everyone as a family, company and country.

Parenting

It is your moral obligation as a member of society to instill good values in your children. But if you are a mother or father who treats your son will more respect, love, attention than your daughter; if your family educates the son more than the daughter; if you hold your daughter back from her aspirations because she is meant to work in the kitchen, not an office, and worst; if you are educated enough to still blame your daughter for being teased, assaulted or raped because she exposed *gasp* her feet, her neck, her face in public or mainly because she wasn’t “careful” enough (definition of careful is lacking here), then by jolly, please contact me and I will introduce you to many parents, including my own, who will help you to understand the wonders of giving equal respect to your offspring.

Specifically for Women

If you are a mother who wants a daughter-in-law to bear a son and only a son; or you harass her for more dowry; or you physically or mentally torture her because, well, you consider yourself superior by foolishly forgetting your own gender; then you need serious help. I would send you to the nearest mental institution unless there are rapes happening there as well. I really can’t say anymore with surety, one place, where a woman is safe in India. A displeasing image of thousands of women huddled inside bomb shelters as the savage men fight among themselves to death comes to mind now.

Oh wait, but that’s medieval mentality Sakshi. Long gone today.

Then I urge to you to keep listening to some of the news reports surfacing everyday.

Women should be able to exercise their basic human rights, their intellect, and their sexuality just as much as men. This is not just another feminist wolf cry. Men and women are designed differently for a reason but I wish men could understand what it feels like to bleed every month so that we can become capable of strapping another human being to our bodies for more than half a year. If you cannot handle that truth, then just read and absorb and say no more. I speak for the women who have been silenced too long.

You were not made in a factory, you were born in a women’s womb.

  • Why should a woman face such violence because she is considered inferior for being blessed with the gift of carrying someone just like you in her body?
  • Even if your parents were different from your biological parents, ask yourself, would you be here today if you were not nurtured by your mother and/or guardian’s love?
  • Can you can live without your grandmother, your mother, your sister, your wife, your daughters or in general, without having women equally participating in society?

My guess is, no you can’t.

Regardless of who you are and where you come from, ask yourself these questions everyday till you don’t get rid of this mentality.

salute to india

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This entry was posted in Gulabi Gang, India, Polio vaccine, Sampat Pal Devi and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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