On International Women's Day, newspapers have carried write-ups about the progress made by women. It is heartening to see that they are now occupying top positions in hitherto male-dominated fields like police, trade and business, bureaucracy and aviation. Naturally, other women will be inspired by these examples. But I was a bit disappointed to see that there was hardly any write-up about the condition of common women. What kind of opportunities are they getting to study, work and manage their own affairs and those of their families? How secure do they feel? Do they continue to be victims of domestic violence?
My own feeling is that the condition of common women has changed, but not fast enough. There are laws to help them, but their enfoceability is an issue. Even in big cities, women do not feel safe. Safety is the first condition for other things to follow. Only if they feel safe, they can take full advantage of the opportunities to study, take up jobs and manage their own affairs. Only then, their self-confidence will grow.
One big change that seems to have taken place is regarding dowry. This was a big problem only a few years back. Newspapers used to be full of accounts of dowry demands and dowry deaths, but not any more. It seems that the prevailing sex ratio has contributed to this more than any change in social attitudes. This is why a similar change is not visible in other areas.
I was disappointed to see that TV channels hardly paid any attention to International Women's Day.They had bigger issues to handle- like World Cup of Cricket, politics, cinema and Varun Gandhi's marriage.