This is a guest post by Anjali Bhattacharya, a student at GLS Law College. Follow her on Facebook and Wattpad.
I am glad that I could get an opportunity to contribute in this enormous moment by writing for the UnSlut blog. My topic is the major and common problems faced by the women all around the world, and how gender sensitization can be a solution.
Gender sensitization refers to the modification of behaviour by raising awareness of gender equality concerns. Basically, gender sensitization works to bring equality among all genders. It represents the idea that we should be given equal rights, judged impartially, protected equally, etc.
In our society this is not the case. In this world, women have a lot of problems and one of them is itself gender inequality. There are many problems that women have to face which men do not. I don’t mean that men don’t face problems but they don’t face a lot in comparison to women. And to change that situation is what gender sensitization is all about.
For instance, most of the time, when there is a situation where a woman is sexually harassed by a man or is physically/verbally abused, the most common approach to that situation is always that “the girl must have done something” or “the girl shouldn’t have done that, she should have taken these measures.” It means that even though the male is accused, the woman has to suffer as if it were not enough that she was harassed; to top it off, she has to go through that kind of shaming.
To change this kind of thinking and to have a neutral approach to both sexes, gender sensitization is very important.
What are the main problems suffered by women all over the world?
Although there are many problems that a woman has to face - not only in my country but all around the world - I will be focusing on the main ten problems which I see women of all countries having to face.
10) Obscurity in work:
Although there has been a lot of improvement in many fields for women, they still have to face a lot of difficulties. Many times, men are favoured more than the women when it comes to job opportunities, and even if women do get the jobs, there is a difference in promotions, bonuses, etc. In a few cases, even though women are stereotyped to do a certain jobs, men are still favoured more for them. For example, the career of chef benefits men, though women are stereotyped as knowing how to cook and doing most cooking in most places. So though women's empowerment is taking place, the problems are still there to be solved.
9) Discrimination At Home:
In many places, parents take more care of the educational and other needs of a son than of a daughter. Though this discrimination has been somewhat reduced in few areas, it still has a place in many countries. A boy is not questioned when he comes in late at night, but a girl is. If a boy wants to be a football player as a career it is fine, but when a girl wants to be a dancer, this isn’t. Why is it that a girl has to be good in household activities and it is okay for a boy to not be? In many places it is okay for a boy to whistle and relax, but not for a girl. All these kind of issues takes place at home, and they should not. It is a duty of the parents to maintain equality between their children and to encourage both sexes for their good deeds.
8) No Work After Marriage:
This is a problem in many places and especially in India. In most cases, women are not allowed to work after marriage. Society has always been like that. Now, though a woman can achieve by working, it is always the duty of a man to earn money and of a woman to take care of the house. A woman can do both; it is not necessary to stop her. I am not saying that a man can’t do both, every human being can. It is a dream of many girls and women to have a bright future with a good married life. It is also a desire to have a great time before marriage with her family. Many times, this is not the case, and the reason is domestic violence. Usually domestic violence is perceived as the violence done by a husband, but actually domestic violence is of two types:
Domestic violence at home: When a person is sexually abused or harassed by their parents, or is not given the facilities that parents should provide and take care of, though they have the economic condition to do it. Many girls suffer through this. This concept is related to gender inequality and discrimination at home. If a person can’t trust the people who gave birth to her then her life can be miserable. This should never be the case, because socialization starts from the home. All of this psychologically and physically affects the life of a person.
Domestic violence after marriage: This means domestic violence by a husband or his parents, a woman's in-laws. After sacrificing life with her own family, many of her needs and desires, and adjusting to a new life, a woman often has to suffer domestic violence. Yes, this is common in a lot of places, and the worst part is that in several countries, this domestic violence is in response to the birth of a girl child. A husband and his parents often verbally or physically abuse their daughter-in-law. It should not be the case, and it should also not be the reverse.
6) Sexual Harassment At Work:
Sexual harassment by colleagues or classmates could mean getting sexually touched in a bad manner, but it also consists of sexual comments and even staring in an uncomfortable manner. Although sexual harassment at anytime and anyplace is definitely one of the worst things, sexual harassment at work happens very often in almost every country of this world. Most girls have experienced this at least once or twice. It is very upsetting and almost like a nightmare. I am not saying that men never face this stuff; they do, and whoever does should definitely get justice. But the majority of the cases are from the female side.
The two places after the home where a person regularly goes are either to school or the place where they work, and if they are not even safe there, then it becomes hard for them to concentrate on their career. Not only that, but many a times the victim commits suicide or they become depressed. A woman risks losing her job if she complains about getting sexually harassed, especially if the perpetrator is her superior.
When it comes to younger girls and their schools and colleges, then if you ever refer to the works “The UnSlut Project” and “Your UnSlut Project,” you will come to know that young girls often become victims of sexual harassment, and in a lot of cases they are not even supported by their own family. It clearly shows how complex the problem of sexual harassment is, because if a girl is not supported by her own family and educational institution, then where is she going to go? The young girl becomes a victim of her classmates, who are the same age as she is, and many times of her teachers, too.
All these girls can and should definitely use their rights and laws for their protection, but most of the time they cannot. They don’t get the voice to stand up! And this is more upsetting, as after suffering through hell, these girls can’t or don’t use the help of their rights and laws provided for them because of fear or lack of guidance and knowledge.
5) Getting Abused:
This term is very much related to the domestic violence at home. But it concentrates more on how and by whom a female is abused. In many places, there is more desire to have a male child and due to this reason when the family bears a girl child, she is abused mentally and physically by her parents. Mostly it is by the father and the father’s side of the family. Sometimes the members of the mother’s family could also be involved. This world is in such a place where girls are being sexually and mentally abused by their own family, and what can be worse than that? A girl now cannot trust her family members, as in many cases the victim is harshly sexually abused by her own father or uncle. So for some, if their own house is not safe, then how can they be able to trust the world?
4) Characterisation Of Women:
Characterisation is something which has become an accepted part of a woman or girl’s life. No, it actually becomes a part of their lives from the time they are born. The female sex is stereotyped to be fragile, dependent, and well-mannered, to be always quiet. Quiet even at times when she should and she must raise her voice. If a girl or woman raises her voice, then she isn’t a girl, she is a witch, a slut; a whore is what society calls her at those times. “You are a girl so you should wear proper clothes,” “Don’t show off your legs or body or you will be raped, harassed or you will be called slut.” This is what characterisation of a woman is. “Why don’t you learn how to cook?" or "Hey, you are a girl, you should know how to keep your house clean and tidy.” I ask why all these things are always told to a girl when all of this should be equal between both sexes? I think hygiene and cleanliness is something not only girls should follow, but every human being should. I think you should wear what you are comfortable in, whether it’s a skirt or a pair of jeans, as simple as it is. If I am going to my workplace it's common sense that my attire would fit accordingly, so I don’t understand why a pencil skirt is considered slutty in some places or is called a turn on? If I am going to a party I will be dressed freely and comfortably, and so should a boy. I think it should be the occasion and myself which should decide what I should be wearing, not society, and if there is such thing as proper clothes then why can a boy can walk around in his boxers and a girl can’t in her shorts? Yes this is the case in most countries! Instead of stereotyping and characterising the female sex, society should better characterise how it is working for the improvement of the world and stereotyping a particular gender is sure not helping the cause. I can see that, and I wonder why everyone can't.
Slut-shaming is interrelated with the characterisation of women. Although Emily Lindin has already described a lot about slut-shaming, I will still add some of my points of view on the topic, which are not much different than Emily's. A girl or any female person is called a slut for different reasons. When a girl raises his voice and stands up for herself, she instantly becomes a slut. If a girl dresses freely or in short clothes, she becomes a slut. If a girl has biologically developed earlier, rumours are spread and most of the time she is harassed and thrown uncomfortable comments, and suddenly becomes a slut. If a girl engages in sexual relationships and if someone comes to know, then she is a slut.
Who gives anyone the right to slut-shame another person? I mean, I am a girl, and if I don’t want to engage in intimate stuff with a boy and my "no" means "no," then why the hell should society or the boy himself slut-shame me? Others should make him understand that if I don’t want to go ahead with him, it is my personal choice and he should not push it any further! Many times girls are slut-shamed by other girls out of jealousy or other reasons. I would like to ask those girls how would you feel to be in a similar position as the victim?
If I like wearing a certain kind of clothes, then I can. Why do you even want to judge me on that; don’t you do the same? Or aren’t guys doing it all the time? It is not only a girl's but any person’s personal choice if they want to have sex or not, or how many times they would like to and with whom. It is no secret that a guy is called a cool player or becomes a stud if he engages in a lot of those things. If you don’t want to encourage it then fine, do it in your head, you don’t need to shame others by spreading stuff about them in front of everyone. The impact is never good, it is always negative! Even if you think badly about someone or if someone else has shared stuff about herself with you, you should respect them and not spread rumours which cause them to face slut-shaming. If you can’t stop judging others or change your mentality, then at least stop acting on it.
2) "Eve Teasing" And Cat-Calling:
Women around the world have to face this problem while either walking on the road or going anywhere. Yes, she is "eve teased," and even seemingly harmless comments like, "Hey you are some hot stuff,” "Why don’t you join us?" "Come here baby, I can give you a ride,” and followed by those irritating whistles are something which every women has to hear, or she must have heard now and then. The only thing which most of them do is ignore those comments and those people who eve teases them. Sometimes women are even stopped on their tracks or are pulled by their hands!
This is definitely some irritating situation which should be solved and i think that it clearly shows that rather than telling girls to behave tell those boys to have some respect and improve their mannerisms.