Against Whom Are We Fighting? #Women's equality day
"No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contribution of half its citizens" - Michelle Obama.
Samhitha ascended the podium and greeted the audience with a warm smile.
"My dear women, lucky are those, who are blessed with a feminine presence in their lives. Feel proud to be a woman. " She began to address the women.
The auditorium reverberated with claps.
"Fight for your rights, follow your will, do what you like, stop living a caged life," she said inspiring her fellow women.
After speaking for about twenty minutes she ended her address with a quote by Hilary Clinton, "When there are no ceilings, the sky is the limit".
After bidding adieu to the crowd she was about to get into her car and a woman with a frail personality approached her.
" Didi, I can do any household chore. Can you help me get a job?" she pleaded with Samhitha.
"Of course, I will," said Samhitha and took her contact details.
The woman thanked her by enveloping her hand with Samhitha's.
Samhitha immediately withdrew her hand and got into her car. Her daughter who was observing all the happenings raised her eyebrows into a question mark.
he saw her mom clean her hands with a sanitiser.
Her daughter wanted to question Samhitha's intent but stopped herself from doing so.
After sailing through the city traffic, they reached home after about an hour.
On entering their home they were greeted by their house help. Samhitha walked into her room pretending as though her househelp didn't exist.
After a while, Samhitha's eyes fell on her daughter. She observed that her daughter was happily sharing her packet of chips with the house help.
"Reena, come here," said Samhitha.
Reena got up from the couch and reluctantly walked into the room.
"Why are you sharing your chips with Shanti? It's not hygienic. If you won't give her another packet. Remember, don't give her too much leverage. She must be under control." said Samhitha sternly.
Reena let out a deep sigh and began to talk, "Mom, why are you indifferent to the women who belong to lower socioeconomic strata. You keep raising slogans about women empowerment but end up distinguishing women based on their caste, creed and their occupation. That's not right."
"Don't teach me about what's right and what's wrong. Remember, that 'these' women don't live a hygienic life. I don't want to contract any infection," said Samhitha.
Her daughter felt angrier and blurted out saying, "Mom, she is the one who cleans up the mess made by us. She cleans up our soiled house. You wear the clothes washed by her, eat the food cooked by her but you cannot share your food with her. Don't you feel this is ridiculous?"
Samhitha realised she had nothing to defend herself but she spoke anyway.
"These people work for us. We pay them so you need to maintain that boss-subordinate relation. Only then they will not take us for granted," said Samhitha.
Her daughter was taken aback. The room was filled with silence for a few minutes. Regaining her composure, "Mom, you are behaving like a man," said her daughter.
"What do you mean?" snapped Samhitha
"This is what men do. Behave like a boss, suppress women, by not allowing them to exercise their rights. You are doing the same with women like Shanthi just because they are less educated and are from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. You feel they are inferior to us. You have separate cups and plates for them. They aren't supposed to sit with us and whatnot. Not just that you discriminate against people based on the color of their skin. In the name of giving suggestions your body shame other women. This is not just," said her daughter.
Her daughter's words hurt Samhitha like an arrow. She realized what she did was wrong. But she wasn't ready to accept her fault right away.
She sat there fidgeting with her fingers. Her daughter knew that her mom was hit hard by the hammer of realization.
"Mom, only if we treat our fellow women as equals irrespective of their background, we can fight against the inequality in society. We can raise our voices against all the misdeeds done against women only when we support each other. We can win our fight against the disrespect hurled at us by the other gender only when we have mutual respect. If we keep fighting amongst ourselves how would we fight against the inequalities we face? Remember, United we stand divided we fall," said her daughter.
Tears rolled down Samhitha's face. She felt guilty for having mistreated other women.
"Remember mom, only when she stands for another she a wall of defense can be built around us. Only when we treat each other as equals we can fight inequality. So this Women's Equality Day let us focus on vanquishing our differences and stay united," said her daughter.
Samhitha hugged her daughter and thanked her for her timely and valuable advice.
After a while, at dinner, "Shanti why don't you sit with us at the dining table?" asked Samhitha.
Shanti was too shocked to respond while her daughter was happy on seeing her mom attempting to change herself.
Samhitha has put her first baby step towards change. What about us? Are we ready to change? Are we ready to fight against the inequality that exists between us women?
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