Name the first CEO that comes to mind. Name the first cricket player that comes to mind. Name the first President that comes to mind. Name the first tennis player that comes to mind. Were your answers, to most of the above questions, names of men? Why weren’t your answers names of women? Why do we have gender based roles etched into our minds? Why do such biases exist? Gender discrimination stems from many social patterns deep rooted in the society, and is a cause and an effect of one sided thinking and erroneous beliefs. Male driven societies revolve around the ideology that men are superior. But, you would think such conservative ideas do not have any place in today’s Modern world. Let’s take a look at the discrimination faced by people on different points of the Gender spectrum today:
At the Workplace
Women face many problems at home, and their workplaces. While companies may not overtly accept this, but men are often preferred over women for opportunities of growth. In many industries, like Bollywood for example, men are paid decidedly more than women, and are given bigger dressing rooms and flexible timings. In an interview with Sania Mirza, a renowned tennis player, the interviewer, Rajdeep Sardesai, asked her the question,” Amidst all the celebrityhood, when is Sania going to settle down?” Sania Mirza was quick to call him out on his bias, and asked everyone on national television ‘Would a male celebrity ever be asked the same question?’
It is a Man’s Battle too..
But, it’ll be naive to think that women are the only victims of gender based discrimination. Sexism often mocks gender atypical roles played by men, for example, stay-at-home dads, nurses or nannies. Men aren’t supposed to cry. They are not supposed to be sensitive, or expressive, for that matter.
Transgender inequality is of course, a raging issue in India, as it still is in many developed countries. Transgenders are subjected to humiliation, exclusion and sometimes even torture. In some countries, transgender inequality goes to the extent where it violates the victim’s dignity and creates an intimidating and hostile environment. Societies are divided on the basis of the dominant gender as matriarchal and patriarchal. Why should such divisions exist?
The Horrifying Results of the Mindset
Gender discrimination serves as a stimulus for gender based violence. It acts a deterrent for development in families. One must understand that curbing gender discrimination doesn’t mean ignoring the importance of a particular gender or creating a gender war. Curbing gender discrimination means curbing the dominance of a single gender. It means horizontal distribution of duties and opportunities. To fight gender discrimination, it is vital that everyone acknowledges that men aren’t the enemies we are trying to fight. The real enemies are ignorance, intolerance and societies that resist change. By using men as scapegoats for gender discrimination, we are in fact implying that women are meek, submissive and spineless. Men and women have gender based roles prescribed by society but only we can resolve to fight such stereotypes. Women who seek change and attempt to fight these biases are often called ‘gutsy’. It is vital that we note that those who seek change are agents of change. Change is a catalyst for growth and change is the only thing that propels societies forward. The only way to fight gender discrimination in our society is to question our society’s way of thinking. In a world that is fast developing, we must also change to accommodate such developments. No one is entitled to any special treatment and no one is subjected to ill-treatment. We must do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
BSC Young Star (Category B) finalist, Aditi, is a 15 year old girl living in Bangalore. She is in Grade 10 at National Public School , HSR layout. She is passionate about gaming and would like to be part of a gaming company some day.
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