I am 22 years old. Recently, I started working. I wish to be independent- stand on my own feet as they say. Wish to be the right hand of my father. So what’s the problem, right? Well, I am a girl. An Indian girl.
Recently, my parents came back to Kolkata after I settled in my new place in Mumbai. As soon as they reached Kolkata, they were greeted with the remark of a very concerned relative. He said, behind my father’s back, “So, he has left his daughter alone in Mumbai, eh? How much is she gonna earn anyway? What is the use and point of this? The things people do for money… Living off his daughter’s income!” On hearing this, my father, an extremely sentimental being, got disturbed. But my mother and I laughed about it- a cynical laugh.
It amazes me that in today’s time, a huge section of our society still thinks the same. Women still need to fight: for survival, for their rights, for their independence. Gender equality is still a myth here.
A huge section of our society is unable to digest that for many women working is more important than getting married. Recently, a relative suggested a match for me since I’ve apparently come of age. The guy, a highly qualified professional, is ‘settled’ abroad. A lovely guy he is- might even let me work after marriage. Is this supposed to be a consolation? Why do I need my husband’s stamp of approval on whether I will work or not? That is MY choice.
It is funny how the word ‘settle’ has different connotations when it comes to women and men. From 21-25 years of age, men are encouraged to study and then get settled, i.e., start earning as soon as possible to support their family and a wife who may or may not earn. However, women in that age period are expected to make round rotis and exotic dishes and get settled with a loving and well-earning guy. And we wonder why we need feminism!
All the time from early 20’s women are reminded of the clock ticking away and that they should get settled. Why? Because after 25 (yes, I’m told so) that will cease to get suitors. This is not the end, I’m afraid. Then there are restrictions. Don’t travel late at night, etc.
All their lives, women are taught to compromise and spread love wherever they go. I say every parent should teach their daughter one more thing: Get out; become independent. Don’t rely on a man to feed you and take care of you. A man is NOT a financial plan.
I never realised the patriarchy was so deeply ingrained in our system until late. The same relative who questioned my father’s character has a son who is working in a metro city.
I am sick. If I earn and want to support my parents, what is so wrong with it? Only a man is allowed to do so?