I want to be Phoolan Devi” chirped little Maya and her teacher was flabbergasted. Appearing calm, she asked, “Why and Maya do you know who is Phoolan Devi?” “Yes Madam,” said Maya hesitantly, “She is a woman who scared away all men. Papa always tells mama, I am not scared of you, you are not Phoolan Devi.” To this teacher responded calmly,” And why do you want to be Phoolan Devi.” “I want to save my mama from papa,” said Maya with a tear in her eye.  The teacher was perplexed with the child’s response and didn’t know how to discuss this.

Nah! Phoolan Devi had no glamour at all, she was a dark, dusty, rough violent woman who snatched power because she couldn’t take it anymore and she decided to do something about it. Am not advocating violence here but the fact is “female of the species is deadlier than the male,” it will go in that direction when conditions become unbearable and the little girl decides to do something about it.

Oh! you are pregnant, management has decided that its time that we need somebody with more energy for this role.” How many times do you hear this in a job interview, “no woman with kids, why do you need this job your husband has a good salary?” I bet no man will ever question another man with these fables.

What, you are not fasting today, it is Karwa Chauth, you don’t love your husband?” poor woman is forced to starve and prove that she loves him but there is no such pedestal for a man. In fact, his expression of love for his wife is looked down upon scornfully and he is branded henpecked.

Behind every successful woman is also a man or more precisely men, who are directly or indirectly responsible for awakening her from the deep slumber and pushing her to come out of the mirage she calls her life. Those who awaken, create their destinies and those who don’t become an epitome of sacrifice.

Oh! this reminds me of our well-known film character Nirupa Roy, no matter how cruel people around her are, she is thrown out on streets by in-laws, her husband leaves her with 10 children for another woman, she labors day and night and finally her children leave her in lurch when she is severely ill and coughing…Oh dear, what a sorry state of affairs…but then, after some years, enlightenment strikes her husband and he appears on her door  and guess what, our dear Nirupa Roy opens her heart and door and stands there with an aarti thali, “I knew  this day will come and she looks at him with heavenly love in her eyes and then she dies in his arms. What a glorious death? An instant hit and she becomes a role model for all women to follow.

Gender bias, did I hear it correctly, there is no bias, we all do it knowingly. “Please no more female candidates in my department, it is very distracting,” said the Delivery Manager carrying a box of sweets, “and yeah Happy Women’s day, but don’t forget what I said.

Women need to be covered with veils because their femininity is seen by outside world as a threat, it disturbs the male-dominated world as femininity is seen by man’s world as a disturbance because it brings chaos to their minds.

On a busy morning while we are driving at the red light we see an out of lane vehicle in front of us, “Ah! These women will never know how to drive, they have no direction sense at all.” On a closer look, when you see it was a man, you bite your tongue and say, “Ooo! he must be trying to go to the left lane.”

Would you let your wife lead you in front of your parents, would you tell your son to prepare that cup of tea for the guests while your daughter enjoys the conversation, would you tell your son to fetch a glass of water for his sister? Would you make a conscious choice of spending that hard-earned money on your daughter’s education than sons? Will you tell your daughter that it’s not ok to be disrespected by her husband’s family? Would you stand for that so-called hot girl in your office who is objectified by your colleagues? If the answer is yes, we have some hope.

A woman will be as empowered as she feels, yeah that’s true!

At the end of the day, it is not just about whether she is getting paychecks or not, it is about the value she brings with her being and meaning that is attached to it.

It’s time we make a place for her to stand tall in her own divine rise.  When women are empowered economically, more money goes to children health and betterment of communities. We don’t have to tell women what they should do and what they need, how they should behave based on our perception and ideas.  We must let them lead and support them in their priorities.

The misery of women is not a man’s responsibility, it puts her in victim mode. Women support patriarchal system by empowering their son’s voice and decisions and suppressing daughters voice Women are responsible for the system, the question is, do women dare to use their feminism at work and in the environment around them?  It is not a natural system of being, adapting masculine qualities at work to excel or behaving like a man at work and woman at home, double personality, she feels exhausted.  The world does not need more masculine women, we have enough men to do that, it needs more feminine qualities to bring balance and empathy.

Women are equally biased against women, women empowerment has to begin with a woman, it’s a complete circle which starts with a woman and ends with a woman. It is not a favor that we can tend towards each other, it is a necessity, we must start with celebrating the birth of girl child, grooming her to her best potential, instill her with confidence, support her in her ventures and believe in her. She is born with the ability to fly, let us not clip her wings. Nothing will change until the ideas we inherit don’t. Let’s separate the woman from her tears and gift her confidence to create smiles wherever she goes.