STRUGGLES OF A PRESENT DAY CITY WOMAN

Guest Contributor Dr. Smruti Smita Mohapatra is a veterinarian scholar and an active social volunteer, who was chosen as the youngest ‘Udyam Social Icon of the Week’, by NMIMS Bangalore. She expresses her frank views on- what does it take to be a present day city woman? 

“Hey! You are so beautiful, so fair!” said one of my seniors Shankar*(name changed). He is a well-educated, married man who has not changed despite being a high ranking senior official. While Shankar* ogled at me and intruded my personal space, I made an attempt to distract him by enquiring about his wife, her posting and their little son.

Honestly girls – fair, dusky, wheatish, dark, educated and uneducated have their own share of pain. I do have my woes and a lion share of discrimination. But now the point of letting everyone know about such things is not just to grab attention or draw sympathy for enduring such acts of ill-behaviour. No, I don’t need that but I must let everyone know about the struggles of women in an urban area.

Dr.Smruti Smita Mohapatra
        Dr.Smruti Smita Mohapatra

Discrimination of women in cities at each and every step of their lives has now emerged in different forms and you will be astonished how! Subtle disrespect, verbal abuse, emotional torture, shaming for making different choices in life, prohibition to exercise their will and character assassination are the emerging, unreported and less talked forms of humiliation of women in cities. Even some educated families choose to have a male heir during adoption.

How many young girls feel safe to walk freely on the streets late in the night? How many of us would feel comfortable to chat for hours near a tea stall? How much of the night belongs to us? How many women passengers have felt uncomfortable during an auto journey? The way the auto driver adjusts the rear view mirror to enjoy fleeting glances. How they fix their eyes on us, not the roads! Women may not tell you what they reel under when such brutal discrimination occurs. Some don’t dare to voice it out due to peer pressure. Some can’t talk. Some just discuss. Some choose to ignore. Some tend to suffer. Because at times, it becomes necessary for some to put a smile and march.

The structural problems based on gender might be similar everywhere but the difference lay in performance across communities or families, highlights Mahaprajna, a teacher of English Access Microscholarship Programme in Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, Bhubaneswar. Whether a boss, a husband or a boyfriend, charity begins at home. The root cause of such gender-based discrimination is the ill attitude and mentality of the individuals irrespective of their economic background, educational qualifications, foreign exposure and cool quotient.

Listening to heart-wrenching struggles every other day and undergoing the same myself, has made me realise that it all comes down to us. Who is that ‘Us’? My stern answer will be ‘She’. A child develops and learns manners from home and that is where the role of a mother who teaches her child right and wrong comes into the picture. In that manner, we can expect comprehensive changes. It takes a woman to let another woman, her good will, an ounce of empathy and a little prayer, to co-exist in peace. Together we can do it!

 

 

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20 thoughts on “STRUGGLES OF A PRESENT DAY CITY WOMAN

  • September 27, 2016 at 5:44 am
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    I loved the article !! You have elaborated on all the discrimination and prejudice that a woman is subjected to . Whether it is the auto rickshaw guy who asks her for a cigarette just because she might have taken a late night ride all by herself or the male colleague who thinks that she might be in for a fling just because she shared a couple of drinks with him, it is always the women who ends up doubting herself. Though it is not her fault, social conditioning makes her think otherwise. And the only way to change is to change the way we bring up our kids. “It takes a woman to let another woman, her good will, an ounce of empathy and a little prayer, to co-exist in peace. ” True indeed !!

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    • October 7, 2016 at 6:55 am
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      Thank you so much Mam. I am glad that you could relate to the woes. I am sure we all must have been through such awkward situations at some point of time including the flings that you have mentioned here. True, kids need to be taught well and it’s the only long run solution. Thanks again!!

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  • September 27, 2016 at 12:38 pm
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    Kudos 🙂 A really good article.true,women undergo all this even today. We should be the change we want to see and stand up against injustice to us.

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  • September 27, 2016 at 3:51 pm
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    Apt incidents! Every city woman can relate especially to the auto incidents. I hesitate going by auto sometimes. Yes woman can help each other and bring about a change… Time to do it!

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    • October 7, 2016 at 7:22 am
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      True Neetu! I completely understand. But there are times when we have no choice but take an auto. A ‘SHE for SHE’ is the need of the hour.

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  • September 27, 2016 at 5:07 pm
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    Very nice article.Beautifully brought out the subtle nuisances of what most women had to go through in cities.

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  • September 28, 2016 at 2:53 pm
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    Wonderful one…..every woman in any urban area, especially in India can easily relate to it.

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  • September 29, 2016 at 2:52 pm
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    Wonderful article 👍

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  • September 29, 2016 at 3:33 pm
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    Absolute…dark truth.my sincere appreciation…dr.smita❤

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  • September 29, 2016 at 3:34 pm
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    dark truth,we ‘ve sufferd.my sincere appreciation…dr.smita❤

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    • October 7, 2016 at 8:39 am
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      Very true Dr. Radhika. We have seen it all. We must empathise each other too. Let our struggles never be larger than our confidence and strength. 🙂

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  • September 30, 2016 at 11:31 am
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    I feel bad. As a father I hesitate to send my little one in auto. What’s worst is that-like u said, even educated families want to have a boy baby. I don’t understand where is education going then?

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    • October 7, 2016 at 8:53 am
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      Sir, meanwhile with all the praises pouring from the ladies, I take this wonderful opportunity to extend my heartfelt thanks to you. I understand your apathy as a father.

      I cannot find a better and responsible answer than to quote Kunal Shah here, the founder of Free Charge – “People pick education as some sort of value back insurance policy where they invest money and years and voila get magical returns in form of good money and better spouse.

      And precisely for that reason, many people get fooled instead of being educated.” 🙁

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  • September 30, 2016 at 11:54 am
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    Smruti, precise and well-written! I completely stand with you. Never do I feel safe while walking alone late at night.. Never do I like the way autowalas stare at women passengers like me and you. Women should help each other.

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    • October 7, 2016 at 9:00 am
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      And the trick is in giving death stare to them through that exact mirror and making them guilty. It absolutely works.

      Thank you so much Anupama.

      Reply

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