A girl when born is still considered an ill omen in most of the families. In our valley, there are cases of newborn girls being found dead in garbage dumps and other places. The venom of patriarchal mindset, which has been normalized now, has caused a fear among females and labelled them as “Second Sex”.
Simone de Beauvoir, a feminist, wrote in her book that ‘one is not born, but rather becomes a woman’ which means that when a girl is born she is just a female at that time but when we attach things with her like she is weak, she can’t make rational decisions, she can’t think objectively, she is totally dependent on men etc. then she becomes a women.
In other words when a female is oppressed and dominated by men, she is a Woman. In this contemporary patriarchal society a woman’s reproductive role is considered more important than her productive role. The beliefs of our so-called society always denigrates about empowering and liberating women.
When a girl is born her parents consider her a ‘Second Sex’ and give her less priority than their boy child. A girl from her childhood is taught that she has to move into other’s house or in other words she is always remembered that she is just a liability to be married off. By marriage, it means bringing a bride to home to work in a household and restricting her from the outside world.
According to 2011 census the literacy rate in J&K of men stand at 76.75% while as the female literacy rate is just 56.43% creating a difference of 20.32% which is a very huge number. Unfortunately the parents in our valley are educating their children on gender preferences, they are forgetting that educating a girl means educating a family. In child sex ratio, J&K was healthier with 963 females in 1981.It steadily dropped to 941 females in 2001, plunging further to 862 females in 2011.Our Valley is moving opposite to the rest of world. Besides, in 2018 abortion was the leading cause of death worldwide, killing 42 million children and probably most of them might have been girls, how unfortunate.
Kashmir is facing a serious threat but people aren’t ready to accept it. It is unfortunate that females are being treated as Second Sex but it is even more disturbing that they (females) didn’t realize it, hence they don’t oppose it.
The women of Kashmir don’t want a feministic revolution, they just want a more comfortable enslavement or maybe not that too.
In Kashmir, woman had not only to have fight against inequality and discrimination, they have also been victims of violence at the hands of Indian Security Forces and Militants.
There are women who broke all the barriers and come up against all the odds. ParveenaAhanger, founder and chairperson of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), a great lady also know as Iron Lady of Kashmir won Rafto Prize for human rights in 2017. She was also nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.Tajamul Islam, an 8 year old girl was crowned as world kickboxing champion in 2016.
Women of Kashmir are doing well in sports, business, entertainment, academics and many other fields. Many girls are breaking the barriers and stereotypes of the so-called society and are coming up against all odds. What if every parent would support their girl child? Where would Kashmir have been then? Few parents are supporting their girls but simultaneously they are also restricting them in other words some girls are being empowered but not liberated.
The condition of females is worsening day by day, if this is the condition of women then what about the LGBTQ community. Our society doesn’t even accept them, they have labeled them as ‘a disease from west’.
The problem of this patriarchal mindset lies in our socialization. If a boy loses to a girl in any field, he is taunted for his loss only because he couldn’t defeat a girl. From a boy’s childhood days to being an adult, he is always taught that girls are inferior to boys and girls are there for the sexual gratification of boys.
We need to fix such issues in our society as they are becoming a serious threat. Such lessons leads to rise in rapes in every corner of the world.
We first need to spread awareness about importance of girls among the people, parents, families etc.
Social media influencers can also play an important role in this aspect in the valley. Every girl should be educated and should be made aware of the fact that people consider women as a Second Sex. She has to be the one to clear this misconception and revolutionize the women in the valley.
The Valley need a full-bodied women’s movement to spread awareness about women rights and the crimes perpetrated against women.
The policies made by government are male centric there is a need to change them and should be in favor of every gender.
We have to take this matter seriously and made small contributions on our own.
Now is the time for woman to stop sacrificing their choices and needs for any men. Together we can built a Kashmir where a person be it women or LGBTQ, would live their lives by their own choices.
Let’s smash the patriarchy and gender discrimination in the beloved Kashmir