A lot has been said before, and a lot more is yet to come but how much of it stays is the question. There’s so much to fight for that sometimes, we as women, are made to question ourselves, ‘Is it that we are asking for too much?’
I am sure we are not. We are asking for a gender-neutral society. What is so difficult to understand about this? Is it the people or the system?
I believe it’s a flawed objective. The definition of a successful society should change from ‘hidden desires and perceived stability’ to ‘empowered, free individuals and healthy class’. The burden to keep the ugly things and hard truths of mankind hidden need to shift equally on all shoulders irrespective of gender, or maybe should not be hidden at all.
There is an observation that says women are less likely to speak in group settings than men. It may be science or psychology, but ‘conditioning’ has a huge role to play in it. The worst facet of the prevailing inequality that has affected my life is ‘conditioning’, and it’s the most harmful because it exists unnoticed. I had no huge wars to fight against sexism, but I have to fight a lot of small battles.
Although I am from a small town, I was born to more-than-reasonable parents. I had my fair share of frustrations about a lot of things that I was expected to do and many that I was asked not to do. I shouted and screamed and stood up for myself in many of these instances, but for some, I couldn’t argue with anyone else; I had to withstand things and bear them. The societal norms are so perfectly woven with each other to serve the selfish and egoistic needs of the male population that it often affects logic, enough to make me question myself and my demands. The level of normalcy around subtle sexism is so high that my younger self sounded more like a rebel than a free individual.
Looking back, I realise I would have been much better off if I had been raised and conditioned to be a fierce individual who goes after what she wants, instead of being a good girl who believes well-behaved women are more important than well-informed ones. Conditioning is present at such a large extent in a society that sometimes women themselves don’t realise that we are contributing to senseless patriarchy and give in to the rules that don’t consider our needs to be as important as the other half of the population.
As urban women, being educated in a technical or management institution, one would assume we have made it; we are financially independent, free to stand up and do whatever we like.
Yes, we are.
But the conditioning is hard to shake off. The perennially compulsive need to be perfect is not helpful in an intensely competitive environment. However, a good part of being the privileged gender is that the men around us have been of great help by being sensitive and supportive to our cause. Casual sexism still exists among some men, but we have to cut them some slack because even they got conditioned like that since childhood. At least a large number of them are trying, and that’s a great feeling.
More power to equality!
About the Author
This article is written by Shivangi Tripathy, a PGP 1 candidate at IIM Nagpur. She completed her B.Tech from UPTU (Uttar Pradesh Technical University) and then worked at Verizon. Before joining IIM Nagpur, she had B-School admission offers IMT Ghaziabad and XIMB Bhubaneshwar.
At IIM Nagpur, she is also the Executive member of Nexus – The Media & PR Club.