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Hidden chronicle of womanhood

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Dil Afrose Duetee :
International Women's Day! Every year we celebrate this day worldwide with lots of activities. The main dictum of observing this day is obviously to ensure the rights of women and protect them from every violence and nuisance. However, have we ever thought about the root cause of these problems at least once? It is the high time to think and ask ourselves. On this very occasion, let us think from an honest perspective about an orthodox problem. It is about the discrimination towards a girl child from family that leads to the deprivation of women by society. We frequently say much about this deprivation of women with suggestions to overcome, however, barely think about the root causes of the problem. Hence, today we have to ask ourselves!
We know that abortion or killing the girl child in the womb is internationally known as a sin. Parents should not be unhappy or depressed regarding their newborn daughter(s). However, do we think about the root cause of this sin once? If you ask yourself with conscious mind, undoubtedly the answer will be the society rather than the parents.
Why parents think about the gender not future of their children before birth? Parents are forced by the society to be so calculative regarding this issue. Our traditional society always emphasizes much on a boy than a girl. Consequently, a pregnant mother starts thinking about gender of her unborn child when a pretended wise senior member of the family tells her, "Try to give us the light of family". We all know that this light does not mean the bright, blessing, power or energy rather it means "The Boy". Our traditional society always forces the parents to believe that the girls vs. boys will be the pressure vs. power for them. Therefore, consciously or unconsciously the parents want a boy child! Our society treats our daughters "UNWANTED" rather as blessings since the state of tiny embryo. It is a food for thought that if we treat our daughters unwanted then how will we lessen women deprivation. Subsequently, what is the meaning of observing International Women's Day every year?
Protecting women rights is far behind in our society, because still our expecting mothers get treatment based on the gender of their unborn child. The ultra-sonogram result may bring regret to the pregnant mother if the family comes to know that the unborn child is a girl. Surprisingly, a good number of educated and courteous husbands also think and express unconsciously that who will take care of them at their elderly period. Can you imagine the situation of pregnant women in this regard? Can you visualize the unexpected behavior with expecting mothers if the husband is ruthless? Consequently, the traditional customs of our society force a destitute mother to expect a boy child in order to secure position in her in-laws family. Why do we consider the mother as flawed whereas the society is the utmost culprit?
After abundant pre-delivery, delivery and post-delivery difficulties, when the mother gave birth her daughter, her princess, everybody comes to see the newborn and wish the mother best luck for the next time to become a mother of a boy child. Nobody senses the untold feelings of the mother! May be the mother wants to yell at that time and say the society- Did not I felt the same pain as the mothers of a boy child? Why are you people considering my daughter "unwanted"? Why do not you people consider the girl child as one of the next leaders? Yet again, there is the deprivation towards women. Today's traditional society does not consider daughters as tomorrow's women. If the society does not recognize a girl child today with required warmness, then how will this society treat her well in future?
Parents consider a girl as a problem because our society is still not prepared to protect our princesses. Just imagine about the rapes happened in the holy place like school! Do not the parents send their daughter to school even? If the schools are not safe for our daughters, how do we dare to talk about women empowerment? Just think of a father's emotion when he reads the child rape news on newspaper. May be he then look intently to her daughter and think, I wish I could have a son because I do not know how will I protect my princess from this dirty society. He feels petrified.
Throughout the parenting journey parents of a girl child has to face much troubles and difficulties than the parents of a boy child. They raise their daughters, educate her and make her capable to be a successful human being. But then what? Do the parents can prove that their daughter is not their weakness rather she is their power, their strength? Most of the time the answer is a big no! Even the daughter also could not perform all the duties to her parents. Because now she may not be only a daughter but a daughter-in-law of another family.
This write up is not to describe only the problems but to bring our self-realization that this is the high time to change our mind and contribute in ensuring women empowerment. We have to remember that we are the society. If we can change our mind then slowly but obviously the society will change one day and then only the society will realize that girls are not burden but strength for their parents. Parents will not calculate about the gender of their own child and a daughter will have the proper care from family and society, which will make her a capable and empowered women. Therefore, just from this moment start rolling up your sleeves, start the journey of revolution and contribute to ensure women empowerment.

(Dil Afrose Duetee is Deputy Manager-Communication, Planning and Knowledge Management, BRAC Education Programme and M. Phil Researcher, University of Dhaka. E-mail: duetee01@yahoo.com)

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