There is a saying that goes, “show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.” Why do you think this saying is so prevalent even today? Well, it is because you can tell how a person is by looking at who they surround themselves with and this on a larger spectrum tells us that the people that we surround ourselves with are the environment that we are in which shapes us to be the person that we are.
Once again there has been a case where a female had suffered in silence and after listening and hearing about the recent viral videos, I have something to tell that I have forever been attempting to convey.
I believe that no one is born inherently evil, but it is the environment that shapes them up to be the person that they are when they grow up. No doubt, the root cause of gender discrimination or gender-based violence starts in Nepal at early age because of the biased style of the upbringing of a male/female child our society follows. Talking about the environment, the upbringing of a man and a woman is very different in Nepali society. Injustice starts at home and since young age in our society. No matter what we say about the equality, no matter how much we advocate about equal opportunities for man and woman by giving examples of equal opportunity for schooling and employment, this issue just seems to be tackled at superficial level If we are to dig deeper then we can see those things behind the scenes have not really been worked on and only the things that are presented in front of the society have been changed. For example, if we are to look at the upbringing of a man and a woman, we can see that when a boy goes through puberty, his puberty is seen as a transition to man and he is taught that this marks him being granted the power to make decisions and this marks the age for him where he has to assort himself to be a man that he has to assort his dominance to be heard and to make the decisions and to make the calls. When a young boy reaches to his adolescents age and is facing biological changes (growth of beard, change in voice, etc), our society considers him to be mature and allows him to participate in the dining table, the primary and essential space for harmony and politics of the family. He is then involved in decisions-making and family affairs. Simple things as such helps him to be more confident and practices leadership in every undertaking.
On the other hand, when a young girl reaches to her adolescents age and is facing biological changes (Growth of breast, menstruation, pubic hair, etc.), she is approached to follow and rehearse different menstrual and feminine practices which is violating her 10 different constitutional rights. This straightforwardly has been impacting in her daily activities and day to day way of life. This kind of unfair practices affects her level of confidence and decision-making skills while she grows up and it is ingrained in a girl’s brain that being a woman is hard and this carries out further in her life. She is not given a seat at the table, she is pushed away from making major decisions, be it in the family or the society or even at the national, political level.
Let’s assume these two conditions of a boy and a girl is occurring in the family at a similar age. One cannot even imagine the level of discrimination and wrong morals that we are teaching to the younger generation just because they are of the different sex and gender. In the society where goddess Durga is worshipped and menstruating female is disregarded, how is that young boy supposed to keep his sister above him and respect her with this kind of schooling? With this upbringing, how is that young boy expected to accept that women have equal freedoms and they are not be blamed. This schooling/ upbringing only shows that just on thein the basis of gender a man can do whatever he likes compared to a female and this practice is not even close by anyone’s standards in teaching young girls to be more confident and to speak about themselves. Our values and practices, influences the family members/relatives and gradually to the entire society
We preach about equality but, the problems have still not gone away, there is still so much of gender-based discrimination in our society which gives rise to gender-based violence that we have been seeing very commonly. So, the real problem just does not lie in one gender, but on the upbringing itself, on how the society has indoctrinated everyone to raise voice and girls differently. Tell how is a man supposed to advocate for women’s rights when he does not see it in the family, when he has not been taught that women are equal to him and in every instance of his life, he sees that he is the one empowered, that he is the superior one, and when he sees that a woman cannot enjoy the same rights as he does, how is a man supposed to come forward and accept that woman are equal to them and they have the same rights as they do.
I agree that our society has been progressing; there has been a change in upbringing process of both male and female and many families are trying to adapt with it. But repeatedly when the issues of rape, domestic violence and discrimination against women comes in the news, it makes me wonder where we are going wrong. It makes me wonder when is the entire society going to understand the importance of providing the equal education and opportunities to the female? Simply sending a girl to a reputed school or college doesn’t make her strong. Keep in mind, each child’s first and most memorable school is their home.
If we are to minimize the gender-based violence, then the issue is not in just one gender or the other. It is the whole society, it is the way society operates, it is the things that society has taught us. So, it is not the fault of one person or the other but the whole society is to be blamed here. So, let’s start giving equal respect and participation to both boys and girls.