WOW | What You Think
Creating a gender just society
Compiled by: Pabita Dahal
wow photo file © Ram Tandukar/ Gokul Shrees
I am an optimistic woman who is working incessantly to secure her place in the world. In the three decades of my life, I have seen the world around me transform, although one brick at a time but at a breathtaking pace. I have heard stories of our grandmothers, who just over 40 years ago, had to cover their faces and weren’t allowed out of the house and now I see my nieces and students, in their jeans and business suits, riding their bikes and taking on the world. But, the changes that have happened aren’t just superficial. In the past, at least in my community, women were very categorically caretakers and homemakers, whereas now, I see them surging ahead into the political and financial arenas with confidence. I always feel that men have taken a few steps in the last 50 odd years whereas we have leapfrogged and would be unrecognisable to the generation of our great grandmothers.
The current scenario is a state of organised chaos; it works, but surprisingly so. I see many men, still threatened by a strong female boss, still unwilling to accept a female trainer or dentist. I see patriarchy in abundance. Yet, against all odds, we women are surging forward, bearing a double load of domestic chores and managing careers. However, it is up to my generation of mothers to raise boys with values that will create a more gender just society. Slowly, but surely, change is bound to happen.
I think that the one thing that needs to change however is our financial literacy. As a student of economics, I believe that woman education and financial independence are strongly linked to social development of any society. A recent World Bank report stated that approximately 79.9% of all employable females are working in Nepal. However, since this is in the largely unpaid familial agricultural sector, their property and capital ownership is dismally low at 19.7%. This shows a pressing need for financial literacy, especially at the grassroots level.
I am very optimistic about the future. If each one of us works towards enhancing her skills, we will find ourselves in a more gender just society in the next few years. Collectively, we can achieve all that we sought out to, if we voice our opinions, start conversations, although they may sometimes be uncomfortable, and support each other.