Women are no less than Men

The Power of a WomanPast President Rtn. Arvind Mehan
Rotary Club of Chandigarh

In our last meeting we enjoyed a very elucidating talk by Ms. Gul Panag on Women Empowerment. The main emphasis was put on Gender inequality and bias. Be that as it may, an important aspect to know  for the woman is to unleash her inherent strength and power. The more confidently she projects it in society the more it will be recognized by man and she will earn her rightful respect and honour. The woman should not consider herself as the weaker sex, not even the fairer.

On watching the hindi movie “Mardani” recently, in my naiveté, I did not know but then realized that this attribute was not the private domain of men. It belongs to them as well. It is all about valour and courage and women only need to pledge to have it.

Let an inner voice resound in them that they are great just the way they are in the way they look but to change the way they become in their physical and mental strength.

Let a day come when the Miss India contest is held not for beauty or poise but for a track record of bravery or courage, sports or martial arts and for their leadership skills.

Our daughters, sisters or even the mothers of young children should be encouraged to go to gyms for physical fitness or to learn martial arts rather than beauty parlours which may be patronized only by senior ladies and men who may want to cheat their own age. Not that looking good in life is not important but only after one is physically fit and strong.

Basically the mindset has to be changed right from the age of toddlers so that they learn about gender equality right from the start. Boys should be sensitized right in kindergarten about gender respect. Girls should be made to realize from a very young age that they may very well be but are not supposed to look just pretty but grow up to be as important bread winners as men. They should not think of marriage as a position of shelter or support of a man in life but as being an equal if not stronger partner. It seems like an easy way out but girls have to be hard working and capable as well. They should pursue professional education seriously to make good careers and become financially independent if they have to fight the age-old scourge of dowry and other social evils.

On the same token, men of course should know that women have an equal right to go out and work and the responsibility of looking after children and the household as well as cooking is not the private domain of women. It belongs to them as well. All this conditioning for the children has to be done seriously as parents and teachers.

On hearing Gul Panag speak, one could make out that she is a ‘Mardani’ in many ways and was truly great leadership material and not just pushed into politics because of her celebrity image. Same is the case with Smriti Irani, whom one thought of similarly, once you get a chance to listen to her and realize how strong and able she is.

We have umpteen cases of such strong women leaders, past and present, who could take on the strongest of men leaders in any arena. But we need a lot more in society – much, much more. Let every young girl and woman of our country carry a conviction that she is no less in any field involving physical or mental dexterity than a man.

Let her carry a halo around her exuding strength, courage and power. Then let us see how men misbehave in any way with her. Once they know that women are not an ‘underdog’ in any field, they will cease to behave like ‘dogs’ like some of them are known to do when you hear of cases of rape and sexual harassment. Let there not be any modesty in women about their raging power lest the men attempt to outrage it!

Gul Panag speaks for Women Empowerment

Change the mindset to empower women, says Gul Panag

Bollywood actor Gul Panag addressed our Club on 2nd September during the regular Monday meeting of the Club on ‘Women Empowerment in the 21st Century’ at the Rotary House.

Speaking to Rotarians she emphasized the need to organizations like Rotary to take up the women related social issues to make a difference in their lives.

The change is possible that a relentless efforts need to be made to bring about the positive change in the society that could give equality to women and freedom to pursue their dreams.

I was lucky, she said, that I got the parents, and now my husband, who have been completely supporting me in whatever I wanted to do in my life, though not all girls are that lucky.

The mindset needs to be changed though I know, she emphasised it would take years, and decades and may be centuries.  The social ills like sati took hundred of years to vanish from India despite the draconic laws that British government tried to enforce to ban this practice.

Though the judicial intervention would be required to bring about the change it is the men and women alike have to raise their voice against women atrocities, she said.

Later PDG Kawal Bedi, another epitome of women empowerment, presented a memento to Gul Panag.