Sub: Raising voice of women forgotten in the Empowerment Brigade.
In the year 1910, Clara Zetkin, a German women’s rights advocate, proposed that “every year, in every country, there should be a celebration on the same day – a Women’s Day – to press for their demands”. Ever since, International Women’s Day is being observed in various countries across the world.
In order to press for our demands that have been ignored and brushed aside by mainstream women’s organizations, lawmakers and our elected representatives, we, the members of All India Forgotten Women (AIFW) and Mothers and Sisters Initiative (MASI), are organizing a Dharna on the occasion of International Women’s Day, 8 March 2009, in front of the office of the National Commission of Women between 10:00 am and 1:30 pm.
In India, we not only have a Ministry dedicated to women’s welfare but also a National Commission for Women and several regional and local organizations representing the cause of women.
The Government of India is constantly doling out pro-women policies in the name of providing equal rights, imparting education, improving health, and encouraging women’s participation in all walks of life. It has passed several laws in the name of addressing problems such as dowry harassment, dowry death, marital cruelty, domestic violence, rape, indecent representation of women, to name a few.
Women’s rights activists have been successful in pressuring the police, judiciary and media to take a lenient approach towards women and grant them special privileges compared to men. They constantly remind women of their “hard won” rights and privileges in the society, and the need to protect and exercise them.
In spite of all the above, we continue to hear that the status of women in the country is only worsening every day. One is bound to wonder why granting more and more privileges and protections to women would lead to worsening of the status of women in the society? Here is why:
The Ministry of Women and Child Development, the National Commission for Women and other powerful women’s organizations comprise of radical feminists who are anti-men and anti-family. These radical feminists have become self-appointed authorities who determine what is good for all women in the country, and have assumed proprietary rights on the drafting and implementation of all policies and laws related to women. In their regime, spread of anti-male sentiments and superficial appeasement of women take precedence over real empowerment of women. Laws pushed by radical feminists under the guise of empowering women are, in reality, weapons that facilitate abuse by women, violate basic human rights of men, women and children and promote family destruction.
In the last four years, over 123,497 women have been arrested under IPC Section 498A alone, without evidence or investigation, not for committing any crime under law, but only because they were related to a man. The recently amended Section 41 of CrPC, which redefines police powers of arrest, imposes greater accountability on the law enforcement machinery while carrying out arrests, and ensures that unnecessary arrests are avoided. While these amendments represent a step in the right direction to uphold basic human rights and constitutional rights of men and women, radical feminists are opposing these amendments. They parrot exaggerated statistics of crimes and injustices against women, label them as gender-driven discrimination and abuse, and press for draconian legislations that penalize the innocent.
Does penalizing innocent women under false cases bring justice to genuinely abused women?
Recent data from the National Crime Records Bureau indicates that nearly twice as many married men, compared to married women, commit suicide every year, unable to withstand verbal, emotional, economic and physical abuse and legal harassment. While every death of a young married woman is converted into a case of dowry death, leading to immediate arrest of the husband and in-laws, large-scale suicides of men are completely ignored. While husbands and their relatives are under constant suspicion leading to frequent violation of their basic human rights, wives are rarely ever questioned leave alone prosecuted if a husband dies or ends his life under similar circumstances. Suicides of men only make for the brief stories we often read in newspapers stating that a certain man “killed himself due to family issues or financial problems”. No Ministry has been set up to support our sons and brothers. No laws have been passed to protect them from abuse.
Is the pain of a mother who lost a son to domestic abuse or legal terrorism any less than that of a
mother who lost a daughter?
Radical feminists disparaged the Indian family as oppressive and Indian men as abusive, and portrayed the streets as far safer for women than their own homes. They have urged women to break free from the slavery of home, family and childrearing, and, instead, become slaves of government and corporate enterprises. Not surprisingly, radical feminists have neither been able to ensure the security nor the happiness that they had promised to women outside the home. They now cry foul saying that crimes and abuses against women have only been increasing. Notwithstanding the fact that men and women are equally vulnerable to violence and crime committed by members of either sex, radical feminists claim that crime against women is gender-driven, thus, pitting women against men in the society.
Does inciting a gender war solve women’s problems within and outside the home?
Radical feminists even went a step further to promote chaos in the society by pitting women against women. They introduced IPC Section 498A which allows arrests and jailing of innocent mothers and sisters of men based on a mere complaint by a disgruntled daughter-in-law. They introduced the Domestic Violence (DV) Act which allows a daughter-in-law to evict her mother-in-law out of her own property and render her homeless. If you think this is outrageous, here is the coup de gras: on the one hand radical feminists demanded that adultery be treated as a crime when committed by men. On the other hand, they demanded that adulterous women be considered as victims and not penalized under criminal law. They ensured that the DV Act empowers a wife to violate marital norms with impunity and also claim residence and maintenance rights in spite of being unfaithful to the husband. Through the DV Act they also sought to grant live-in partners and concubines the same legal status as a legally wedded wife. The end result is that the protections and privileges, granted to a live-in-partner or concubine, violate the rights of a legally wedded wife and dependent female members of a man’s family.
Does women’s equality mean empowerment of morally bankrupt women at the expense of
responsible, family-loving women?
The Ministry of Women and Child Development claims that safeguarding the interests of children is paramount in its agenda. However, the same Ministry has left no stone unturned to ensure that children are mercilessly torn away from fathers in cases of marital separation or divorce. The Ministry pushed the DV Act which even allows for the passing of ex-parte orders to take away the custody of a child from the father without a just and fair enquiry to assess the suitability of guardianship by either or both parents. The Act includes provisions for passing of restraining orders that eliminate all contact between a father and child, only based on the self-serving statements of a vindictive wife. Thus, the DV Act violates a child’s right to the love and affection of both parents, and promotes a fatherless society.
Does women’s empowerment mean destroying family harmony and creating a fatherless society?
Radical feminists raise a hue and cry about dowry harassment by husbands and in-laws and portray India as a country where brides are routinely burned for dowry. They spread paranoia about how unsafe women are in their marital homes because of the “evil practice” of dowry. The same radical feminists do not oppose extravagant marriages or giving of dowry. Consequently, the ever increasing marriage related expenses in the present consumerist economy are causing mortal fear in the minds of parents about giving birth to a girl. Radical feminists who turn a blind eye to excessive marriage expenditures and giving of dowry, but indulge in alarmism about dowry harassment are, in fact, promoting female feticide and discrimination against the female child. These very feminists turn around and blame all the problems of their own creation on what they call the “male-dominated society” in order to garner funds from international agencies, and also to lobby for more stringent anti-male laws that aid legal terrorism and violation of basic human rights.
Is the cause of women’s empowerment synonymous with Gobbelian propaganda, legal terrorism
and human rights violations?
Radical feminists, who claim to represent the interests of all women, have been pushing for more and more rights and privileges, disregarding how many existing rights, opportunities and privileges are poorly utilized and even quite often misused by women. They advocate rights and privileges for women without prescribing any concomitant duties or responsibilities towards the family and society. Consequently, today, there are more women who are separated or divorced. There are more women indulging in illicit relationships. There are more unwanted pregnancies. There are more women raising fatherless children. There are more literate but uneducated and morally bankrupt women, who are living parasitic lives by siphoning money away from an estranged husband or partner. There are more women who abuse laws to destroy families and the society, as they themselves self-destruct.
Is this the notion of women’s empowerment that hard-working, self-respecting and individualistic
women subscribe to?
It will not be an exaggeration to state that the Ministry of Women and Child Development and organizations like the National Commission for Women are protecting the interests of unscrupulous women, while the rest of the society pays the price.
The recent Mangalore pub incident and the responses of radical feminists represent another good example of women’s empowerment gone awry.
In the past, when rural women destroyed liquor shops and beat up men who drank or sold alcohol, they became heroes and their acts were cheered. Achieving prohibition was seen as a victory of the women’s movement and a sign of women’s empowerment. In the recent times, the Minister of Women and Child Development dealt a death blow to the women’s movement by championing urban women’s right to frequent pubs and drink as a token of their empowerment and equality with men. The National Commission for Women seems to be more passionate about protecting women indulging in the luxury of drinking alcohol in pubs, while 30% of Indian women still walk up to 10 kilometers everyday to fetch a pot of drinking water, which is a basic necessity.
It has become crystal clear that radical feminists only create more problems in the name of solving existing ones. They can neither device nor support sustainable solutions, policies and laws which will actually benefit women because if the status of women improves, the gender card will be rendered redundant, and can longer be used to reap any political or financial gains. The survival of radical feminist outfits and politicians who dance to their tunes depends on stoking anti-male sentiments, destroying the family and creating chaos in the society.
It is high time sensible, responsible and enlightened women take charge of the situation and restore sanity in the society before things go out of hand. All India Forgotten Women (AIFW) and Mothers and Sisters Initiative (MASI) comprise of women who work towards promoting family harmony and true gender equality, with the goals of maintaining social stability and nurturing responsible citizens in the country.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2009, we make the following demands to the Government of India:
· We demand immediate implementation of CrPC Amendments 2008 to protect us and our dear ones from legal terrorism and human rights violations.
· We demand equal protection to men and women under law.
· We demand laws and policies that promote family harmony.
· We demand severe penalty for anyone misusing legal provisions to settle personal scores.
· We demand that balanced, responsible, family-loving women are given charge of the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the National Commission for Women.
· We demand a Ministry for Men to cater to the needs and welfare of our brothers and sons.
We request esteemed members of the print and electronic media to join us and provide unprecedented coverage for our event.
Event supported by: