Salaam to the brave women battling biases - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Salaam to the brave women battling biases

Jan 05, 2024 10:15 PM IST

If we’ve seen a backsliding of gender rights, we have also seen the resistance to it

Salaam to the Afghan women and girls flocking to online courses to circumvent the Taliban’s ban on female education. Internet service providers are reporting a surge in demand with some offering free classes, reports the Financial Times. And the girls are using fake names to avoid being caught.

Afghan women chant slogans in protest against the closure of universities to women by the Taliban in Kabul, Afghanistan, December 22, 2022. (REUTERS ) PREMIUM
Afghan women chant slogans in protest against the closure of universities to women by the Taliban in Kabul, Afghanistan, December 22, 2022. (REUTERS )

In Iran, over a year after Mahsa Amini died in custody for not adequately covering her head, there are still women out and about with their heads uncovered. State repression includes arrests and beatings.

The horrors of Gaza are evident where women and children account for 70% of the 22,000 killed. Of those left alive, 90% face starvation. Women, of course, eat least and last, particularly when food and water are scarce.

All over the world, there is a literal war on women. In the US, women are fighting for abortion rights which they had won half a century ago. Last month, Kate Cox of Texas discovered foetal abnormalities that would have put her life at risk. A court said she could have an emergency abortion. Then, the state’s attorney general Ken Paxton warned hospitals of prosecution if any doctors were involved in providing an emergency abortion to Cox. Kate Cox left the state to get an abortion elsewhere.

This is not a doom and gloom column but one that salutes the extraordinary resilience of women. If we’ve seen a backsliding of gender rights, we have also seen the resistance to it — whether it’s grandmothers protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act or wrestlers staying the course for justice for alleged sexual harassment by former Wrestling Federation head, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

The brazenness of the proxy election of the six-time BJP member of Parliament, an election held under international scrutiny, only matched the apathy of those in power to hold him to account. Over a year, we’ve seen India’s leading athletes battle broken promises, police manhandling, innuendo, and pro-establishment statements from their fraternity (PT Usha, MC Mary Kom). It’s a cautionary, though equally inspiring, lesson in courage. Through the year gone by, we’ve watched women fight for promotions in the armed services, take on abusers, and defy opposition to love who and how they wish.

Perhaps none has been as dogged as Bilkis Bano, gang-raped during the 2002 Gujarat riots, her family members killed before her eyes. Against the odds, 11 men were sentenced to life imprisonment. On India’s 75th Independence Day, the men walked free.

It was the grotesque triumphalism with which they were feted by Right-wing organisations that led to an outcry amongst decent folk. A public interest litigation dragged on in the Supreme Court where a frustrated justice KM Joseph said in open court it was “more than obvious” that the government’s attorney was deliberately delaying the hearing until Joseph’s retirement.

Bilkis, and the nation, now await judgement. But whatever the court rules, of one thing you can be sure: Bilkis will not be backing down any time soon.

Namita Bhandare writes on gender. The views expressed are personal

Catch every big hit, every wicket with Crickit, a one stop destination for Live Scores, Match Stats, Infographics & much more. Explore now!

See more

Get Current Updates on India News, Elections 2024, Lok sabha election 2024 voting live , Karnataka election 2024 live in Bengaluru , Election 2024 Date along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.

Continue reading with HT Premium Subscription

Daily E Paper I Premium Articles I Brunch E Magazine I Daily Infographics
freemium
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On