What women really, really want

Two decades after iconic girl band Spice Girls brought out their hit number Wannabe.

Two decades after iconic girl band Spice Girls brought out their hit number Wannabe, a remake of the song hit the Internet earlier this month, featuring strong female voices from across the world. The video is an effort to push for UN’s global goals including education, gender equality, equal pay for equal work, child marriage and an end to violence against women. In the light of the song’s revival, we ask our women what they really, really want.

Arundhati Ghosh, executive director, India Foundation for the Arts: Equality and freedom for women

For every woman and myself, I want equality and freedom. In the bedroom, in our streets, in offices and public transport, during the day and at night –— to be who we are, uncensored and unapologetic. I want children 50 years from now to read of patriarchy only as a distant historical fact, an alien regressive idea that once was. Especially for those women who find themselves marginalised many times over because of caste, race, religion or sexual orientation, I want a world where they can live with dignity and desire.

J Devika, feminist scholar: Women should be able to define dignity for themselves

Simply put, what I’d really want for all women in the world is a dignified existence, which is possible only if women are granted full worth as human beings in every sense, and the complexity of their lives are fully acknowledged. Very often development interventions claim that their aim is to make women thrive, while too often, such interventions at best help them survive. Survival is survival — an achievement for sure, but certainly, a dignified existence is more than that. And I use this term deliberately, because what constitutes a woman’s dignified existence can differ in different parts of the world, and women everywhere should be able, in the first place, to define dignity for themselves.

Dr Firuza Parikh, IVF Specialist: Empower others to be empowered yourself

Women should be empowered. Nobody has to give them power but they should realise the power they have for themselves. Women should be financially stable. All women should, married or single, should work in some field or the other so they’re not financially dependent on anyone else. I feel that women must be supportive of each other. Women can add to the consciousness of society, contributing in any small way. If women want to empower themselves, they need to empower others, especially those who cannot do it for themselves. Teaching hygiene, good manners, all help. Women’s health is extremely important and they need to look after themselves too. More often than not, women put themselves last, after family and children, leading to several health complications. At a young age, girls need to be made aware about sex, contraception and general health. Women should also be made to feel proud about their bodies. They should also be able to lead healthy sexual lives and make sure their reproductive health remains sound in the long run, even during menopause.

Dr. Anita Ratnam, dancer, activist and actress: Women must have their own identities

Indian women are very fortunate when compared to other South Asian countries surrounding us. But what we still need is continuing reform in spheres of equal pay for equal work. We need to allow women to have their own identities, and recognise women without the appendages of her father, husband, brother or son. Today we have many single mothers raising children, but why should the son’s passport bear the father’s name?

Swati Lakra, ACP, Hyderabad: Women must be treated with respect

Women’s empowerment and equality on an international platform is welcome. The many challenges women face can be understood only by women themselves. Hence, such an initiative will accelerate advancement on meeting their needs. Women are treated as secondary citizens. People’s perspective on women must change and there is still a lot more that has to be done. In my profession, in spite of so many laws, I still see so many cases of dowry and domestic violence every day — it’s truly shocking. Women must be treated with respect, must be given decision-making opportunities; that’s when there can be real change.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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