Every now and then we are likely to come across news headlines and hashtags, movements and campaigns to support women's causes and to speak up against the injustices done to women. There are many channels, shows and platforms where female voices are expressed and heard by the majority and even supported, but it hardly achieves the ultimate result.
Gender equality is a very sensitive and urgent issue in India. On one hand, they glorify a female as a goddess, celebrated on women's day, on an international day of the girl child and mother's day. There's a UN Women and a ministry to take care of the important affairs of the women globally and nationally. Men can take care of themselves. On the other hand, there are atrocities committed against women in the form of rapes, domestic violence, female child sexual abuse and child labour at homes and crimes in workplaces. The number of crimes increases and so do the campaigns and awareness initiatives, but the question remains why things don't change, why efforts don't bring the desired results.
The answer could perhaps be found if we dig deeper into our own homes and observe the ancestral and modern family structures. Patriarchy is to be blamed. True. However, if we look at all the crimes against women, either done by men alone or with the support of patriarchal females, then emotions and feelings of the males are the primary reason behind majority of the acts committed. Men must be more accountable and responsible, no doubt but so must the support systems raising, nurturing, mentoring and making them from the parents to the teachers, mentors to organisations where they study so they don't end up feeling and growing up thinking "boys will be boys."
They usually associate emotions and emotional intelligence as strengths with women. Gender and emotions need more research and even greater application in daily life, from homes to social organisations to businesses. Women can be great at emotions but men mostly see success because of it through jobs or businesses or having their way in the world-leading homes, organisations and nations, from committing crimes to hiding them, from suppressing voices to amplifying them as per their agenda and power.
The gender privilege allows the females to get the focus and limelight on their education, empowerment and their concerns being addressed, but again no significant social change happens. The problem is that 50% of the population is left out - which might cause further colossal problems. Either the root cause is not identified correctly, smaller or deeper issues may be ignored or dismissed as "they are boys" or "you know how it is with boys" or "they will learn as they become mature or grow up" and so on. The cry, the fears, the insecurities, the pain of the male isn't given due respect and attention since childhood as it is given to a female. No wonder when boys become men, it isn't easy to walk the talk, it's confusing to "perceive and understand" a female and the world.
If only more businesses had women leading them because of skills and capabilities, not only promoted because of gender equality agenda of the company and its privileges or women's empowerment to get more business as a cause to drive it. If only more schools had management led by women or equally powerful females and not just female being principals, coordinators and teachers, will the schools have the courage to take bolder decisions instead of dismissing male empowerment as not being important or gender equality as a focus alone. If only the UN and the Ministries thought more about gender equality and males everywhere putting their egos aside to realise that male education and empowerment are equally important and their affairs are of equal concern as it is for females.
If only the world realises that gender privilege is about men having their way in society and life, but it is also about women given the support and understanding through movements and campaigns globally.
It is rightly said that the world, the nations and families can't progress or see peace if 50% of the population is left behind; this continues to create problems because their problems remain unaddressed in a big way globally.
(Madiha Ahmed is a Mentor and Expert at various reputed global organisations working on education and empowerment of women like UK-based Global Thinkers Forum, India-based Jobs For Her and New York Academy of Science.)