This article is written by Harmanjot Kaur Kang.
“She finally understood that grief was her love with no place for it to go. Desecrated with the responsibilities, I’m often gloated and undermined; The earthenware is my tagline, the perspicacity of four walls is where I’m determined. What am I, chopped liver?”
Slipshod with the number of responsibilities, gloom of getting buttoned up in never ending household chores, yet underrated, we are talking about the perception for women, which is so naïve and fulminated, that she is advised to stay in the four walls, and make food. In this oeuvre, I would like to throw some light on the finesse topic of “periods”.
Popularly known as ‘chums’, ‘aunt flow’, ‘girl flu’ and ‘crimson tide’; yes, we are talking about ‘Periods’. The hot bottles are the only relief to escape this acrimony of the uterus. Menstruation has always remained an unexplored realm, but with the advent of the 20th century which kicked off the Bollywood to start spreading awareness via movies, people now are more comfortable talking about it.
Objectives of Menstrual Benefit Bill
Men and women are different individuals. This is certain that because of the biological differences, the brains and cognitions of both the individuals work differently. Men are told to be bold, dominant, aggressive, controlling while women are told to be nurturing, caring, submissive and calm. During menstruation, women go through a lot of distress and pain, which is quite unbearable for them. She has to manage work and household chores at the same time, because of which it is very taxing on her body. Thus, the government keeping in mind the tenderness of women decided to put forth such a decision.
Need for the Menstrual Benefit Bill
Right out of the gate, the first test she encounters is the birth itself. Statistics show people go through the prenatal test and kill their offspring. The next challenge is education. ‘The talent is equally distributed but the opportunities are not.’ Though there is a decent progress that we see in various paradigms, we have seen women reaching space, being an IAS, governing the administration; but still a part of women don’t have access to the priceless pearls of wisdom, which in turn is a great investment for her future.
Then comes marriage, where many face discrimination and parental pressure leading to dowry deaths. And in case, the apple of discord is not the in-laws, there are instances of marital rapes all over the places. Now, if she passes all these tests, the next dagger that is drawn to her is at the workplace. There are instances of sexual offences, stalking and voyeurism which again contaminate their mind and psychology. The uppity of Hindu Succession Act, won’t be wrong to infer that Law is a Male! The Succession Act prefers the male counterparts, i.e. agnates over the cognates i.e. female counterparts. There is a patriarchal system of hierarchy in India. The tipping point is that most of the biological problems and the overwork of managing both household and work life is often overlooked.
Arguments in favour of the decision
There should be positive discrimination among both the genders. To increase the participation of a dormant population of nearly half of the nation, it is advised to motivate them to participate in more such activities. They will get their own life, have decent understanding of human behaviour and cognition. They will be able to appreciate democracy and equality to a greater level.
In this world, the talent is equally distributed, but not the opportunity. There are instances where the right to education is often rifted apart when it comes to female counterparts. If we would support women, there would be their empowerment and hence we could have a helping hand at home for their employment. This would empower other downtrodden women to work hard and earn, in turn they will be independent and live a life of dignity.
According to the World Banks’ survey, it has been found that girl students left their schools at the onset of periods and they dropped the plan of going to school. There is a long absence in the workplace as well, about the same issue. If we make this as a crucial step to educate and endure women, we would notice that they will also contribute to society. They will earn respect, power, learn new skills, get recognition and inspire people.
The dignity of a woman
Article 14, 15 and 21 highlights the equality of individuals in all the spheres of life. A woman encounters various woo fits in various spheres in life. We have seen instances where women are constantly belittled. Because of this crucial step we can observe that women will leave a legacy and contribute to society. They will learn to let go, learn tolerance, patience and perseverance, to a great level.
There are certain life skills such as empathy, problem solving, critical reasoning, decision making, co-operation, time management which can only be learnt after a practical exposure and decent work culture. Etiquettes such as professionalism, communication skills can only be learnt by footing into the practical world, otherwise women would be worth only gossiping in streets forming a crowd.
Reduce instances of domestic violence and rape
There is a constant threat of rape, voyeurism, stalking, eve-teasing and many more which invades into their esteem and self-worth. They are locked into the four walls, are tagged to be meant for making food and kids only. When a woman encounters more people she will learn the life skills which are necessary for survival. There will be reduced instances of domestic violence as family members would respect her more as she is also a helping hand to earn livelihood.
The rigidity of certain rules
It has been observed that there are certain restrictions when it comes to women counterparts. There is a rigid procedure when it comes to women who want to join the army, navy or defence practices. There are prerequisites that women should be unmarried one for being an airhostess. Here, there is a conflict between her rights and the terms and conditions related to the job.
Women are not weak
Women are equally potent as men. They bleed every month but don’t die. They stand in the kitchen making food, bathing in the downpour of their sweat, but never shriek. They manage work and home at the same moment. They work the whole day doing household chores, but unfortunately that is not given the due consideration.
Multitask and Manage Work
According to Everyday Health survey, there are various reasons which cause distress at the workplace. It has been found by the World Economic Forum reports that women tend to work longer hours as compared to male counterparts. They multitask and manage work and home at the same time. But still, women earn less respect as compared to their male counterparts.
She encounters lots of traumas still survive
They lose their virginity only because of the undue force by some other guys and handle the social pressure of a prosecutrix in rape cases. She breaks the hymen, damages the tissues, encounters the weird and gawky swab tests, DNA testing and two-finger tests etc. These incidents are quite stern and strait-laced, yet they are very difficult to deal with at the same time.
She bears the burden of carrying an infant from the stages of being a foetus, zygote, infant and then a kid. They encounter lots of pain while happenstances, but still, she puts on a grin on her face, hiding the truth.
Arguments against the decision
We can observe that periods last for 5-6 days on an average, which means that every month a lady would ask for a leave of 12*6=72 days, which nearly means approximately two and a half months in a year. Thus, we can see that employing a female candidate would be a big deal for the employee to compensate for the remedies.
We can use technology to our advantage. We can ask the candidate to work from home during that period at the ease of just staying in the bed.
According to the CrPC where certain women are exempted from the appearance in the court. There is a 33% reservation for women at the local and ground levels. Also, there are no rape law provisions under IPC for men, which is again discrimination for the male counterparts. Thus, there is a need for the stringent application of the previous laws rather than new laws.
We can observe the provisions of Article 14 and 15 as the double-edged sword, wherein at one place it is talking about the positive discrimination at the part of female counterparts but on the other hand, it would be discrimination for the male counterparts. There are no rape laws for men! But as we have seen in history, to uplift the weaker sections of the society special privileges were provided to SC/ST/OBCs. Thus, we can say that there needs to be a harmonious construction between the two.
Observing the role of the judiciary in various issues and laws on gender equality, we can observe bold judgements such as Sabarimala issue, Triple Talaq, Acid Attack victims and so on. The judiciary is keeping up with the changing trends of the society and it does the needful.
Also, diving deep into the personal laws we can observe that the topics such as Iddat, are about the menstrual cycle of the women. Also, the judiciary is trying to balance the personal laws with jurisprudence and the laws of natural justice and equity where it puts a bar on various practices. Also, women encounter discrimination pertaining to Dowry and many other instances, which lead to instances of deaths in certain cases.
Is Law male? Bear the burden, still under-appreciated. Let’s be real, the snow cover road won’t lead to anywhere; you need to find your way. Education, awareness, camps and seminars are the key. Free sanitary napkins should be distributed. We have to keep up with the adolescent females and let them lend a ear, to discuss their problems and issues. After all, we can’t neglect half of our population, can we?
Sold down the river, we are today slaves of power, rule and authority and red-tapism. Sitting in the peanut gallery is quite easy to ignore the one bearing all the hardships through life. There is a need to keep the eyes peeled over the issue. Also, remember the culture and traditions grandfathered in, teaching you to treat them as Goddesses! Guys, simply, don’t have the first-hand experience, so they should not judge. Let the women speak up and participate in good governance.
“Everything requires training and so is the society.”
We can observe that discrimination is prevalent but also keep in mind that it is the same nation where they are treated as Goddesses. So, the choice is of the people, respect cannot be demanded; it can be earned by constant perseverance, dedication, hard work and reciprocation. People need to get open-minded to adhere to change and be happy to adapt to the changes. Because though men and women can be biologically different but still it’s indeed women who have given birth to the greatest kings, emperors and pioneers of all times!
“So kyon Manda Aakhiye Jit Jamme Rajan” (On female gender equality: “why to call ‘her’ inferior? From her, the Kings are born”) ~ Guru Nanak dev.
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