From sensitization workshops to vigilance marches and viral videos on social media I looked for gender justice all around and yet found it nowhere. Is there possibly an undiscovered corner I am yet to explore?
Kavya Thomas | The New Leam
Gender sensitivity does not emerge out of attending a workshop or lectures on it, it does not come about merely by labelling oneself a ‘feminist’ and dressing like one, it does not come about just by driving, drinking and partying till late at night and nor does it come about just by sharing a viral video that claims to be liberating for women. If it came by just doing any of the above, given the rate of our social media obsession it would have already come some couple of years ago.
Ironically while we consider the fragments to be the whole, we miss out on working deeper into the roots of culturally ordained, structurally embedded, socially sanctioned and naturalised forms of violence and discrimination against women. The truth is that the alarming data of violence against women from all corners of the country are making it evidently clear that mere legislation, political rhetoric, feminist assertions and vigilance marches, academic discourses and jargonized lingos, CCTV surveillance and robust punishments will not make us a gender just society on their own; it demands something deeper and more existential on our part as members of a shared society.
Like the taste of fruit depends on the health of the roots of the tree similarly the health of people’s minds depends on what the forces that nourished them in their growth period were. In other words, I am referring to the entire socialisation process that is involved in bringing up and cultivating one’s mind. How are social institutions like the family, the religious group, the school and the community dealing with men and women, are there significant differences in the way that opportunities and responsibilities are shared, is the work of one ascribed more value while the work of the other is demeaned, what are the factors that determine their choices and are these egalitarian or discriminatory? We must also delve deep into the questions of how adults encourage children to propagate gender stereotypes, how the toy-game industry perpetuate gender difference, does media liberate or trap us deeper into orthodox value systems, does our education system value love, nurturance, non-violence and the ethic of reciprocity without labeling it as ‘inferior’ are some of the other significant aspects we must look into. After all how we bring up our sons and daughters is fundamental to how we want our society to be in the years to come.
Needless to add till the time we ignore these fundamental questions and continue to focus on only the external aspects we will not be able to create a gender just and egalitarian social world. It’s like taking an antibiotic each time one has dysentery but not bothering to make arrangements for clean water so that the roots of the disease are killed forever. Thus these vigilance marches, academic discourses, political sloganism and loud propaganda can provide momentary relief but we must work towards generating a more egalitarian, inclusive, just and compassionate educational practice that helps nurture ‘humans’ before men and women if we are to create a better world.
The New Leam has no external source of funding. For retaining its uniqueness, its high quality, its distinctive philosophy we wish to reduce the degree of dependence on corporate funding. We believe that if individuals like you come forward and SUPPORT THIS ENDEAVOR can make the magazine self-reliant in a very innovative way.