On This International Women’s day BE the change you want to SEE

On International women’s day I want to celebrate a man. My man.

A man who empowers me. A man who treats me as an equal and who actively seeks my counsel on myriad issues.

I want women to be able to celebrate womanhood today. Instead of demonizing and vilifying them, we need those good men who make us realize our worth.

In line with Mr. Modi’s slogan Beti bachao Beti Padhao, we launch our Beti Bachao Beta Padhao drive.

There is no point in dwelling on the mistakes that have been made. India for centuries has been a patriarchal society and changing the men who are already brought up believing they are superior will be futile. Women who have been abused and beaten don’t learn either.

Even after becoming a victim they treat their sons different to their daughters. I find it astonishing that it is most often victims of violence and abuse who perpetuate that very same violence by raising sons who grow up believing it is all right to abuse women.

Even when they are a victim of dowry they end up asking twice more for their sons!

#BetaPadhaoBetiBachao

The change needs to begin now, from the womb. To educate him to believe that he is no different to his sister, to teach him the value of the work that every girl is “expected” to learn and master – whether it’s cooking the evening meal or raising children.

In developed countries, boys learn the same things as girls in school whether its cooking, knitting or carpentry. While in India when girls are in their knitting lessons, boys are expected to pick up their bats and play outside.

And a lack of awareness and education about issues such as sexuality, intimacy, child birth and menstruation has given rise to generations of men whose curiosity more often than not leads to abuse. We should banish the taboos that surround these issues. If they are second nature to girls and women, why shouldn’t the boys and men of our society be aware of it or have a better understanding of the challenges that we face as women?

What is perhaps most shocking and which confirms my analysis is the level of education of the men commit domestic abuse and the women who endure it. They are gold medalists, doctors, engineers and bankers earning similar salaries but the cultural education amounts to nothing.

Women, despite their high salaries and education are so “attuned” to being abused, while the men appear to believe that the right to abuse their women is a cultural “right” in spite of their much vaunted education.

This is arguably because the woman has been taught from a young age to take the abuse and the man to believe that its okay to beat and bully her. They find it normal to expect them to work at home as well as outside and no wonder even after living abroad for so many years these men choose to marry a woman from their home towns because they believe that they can get away with it!

While it’s true that not all abusers are highly educated nor are educated men prone to commit abuse, the number of cases that I have personally dealt with through Indian Ladies in UK make for astonishing reading. They have all without exception have involved men and women who come from comfortable middle class backgrounds and possess outstanding educational qualifications. And yet they are all bound by a tragic poverty of humanity, empathy and understanding of equality.

Governments can introduce laws but ultimately it is up to all of us women – especially mothers and aunts and grandmothers, and especially those who have suffered abuse – to change things for future generations by starting the education of young boys and men at home.

Lets #PressForProgress by educating our sons today to save our daughters tomorrow. #BetaPadhaoBetiBachao

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