Source : Google photo of Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel winner for promotion of education.
Synopsis : The gender equality still has a long way to go in male dominated societies where men try to control women who want equal rights for them. They are afraid of educated, talented and skillful women who may far outshine them so they use obsolete traditions to put them down . But women have woken up and will now claim their rightful place in all societies where they are oppressed.
I had heard of the Aamir Khan movie called Dangal sometime ago but did not get to see the movie until I got to Philadelphia and realized what a wonderful movie it was. He was the first director of Bollywood who made an awe inspiring movie on gender equality in a very graphic way that won it accolades and great financial success in a country like India where women still fight for gender equality.
In the movie the actor Khan himself plays the role of an ex wrestler who had no sons to teach his wrestling moves so he was disappointed until one day two of his daughters beat up a gang of boys who were teasing them. The boys were humiliated and did not expect these teen age girls to fight back the way they did and complained to their parents who then came to Khan to complain.
The ex wrestler was surprised and secretly pleased that his daughters take no nonsense from anyone and beat up the eve teasers publicly so he thought of training the two girls to become wrestlers that his wife did not approve of and the neighbors thought as pure folly but he insisted on rigorous training for the girls. The girls were just as surprised at their father’s decision and resisted the harsh training. He woke them up at 4 am everyday and made them run and do a lot of exercise to make them strong. They cried when he cut their hair, restricted their food to only high protein diet and made them sweat so little by little these girls gained strength and learned the moves to wrestle but no one had ever wrestled with boys before so it was a first.
There were no female wrestlers at that time so the elder girl fought the males to the surprise of the organizers of the match who thought that no one would come to see the match and pay for the tickets but they were wrong. The people responded very enthusiastically and huge crowds gathered each time there was a match.
Soon the words spread that there are these two very young wrestlers who can beat any male wrestler so the crowd gathered to watch them fight and win each time to the surprise of arrogant males who had thought of nothing of the girls but got thrashed to their bones to the delight of the audience. I will not tell you the whole story to preempt the joy you will find in the movie so go and watch it in the Netflix and search for Dangal.
Below is just the trailer .
Source : U tube trailer of the movie Dangal
The gender equality in a true sense has always plagued the humanity. Women have always been victims when it came to their rights to vote, to get education, to be treated fairly and equally so they had to fight for their rights and sacrifice a great deal.
21 November 1918: the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918 was passed, allowing women to be elected into Parliament. 1928: Women in England, Wales and Scotland received the vote on the same terms as men (over the age of 21) as a result of the Representation of the People Act 1928. The British women did not have voting rights until 1928 when England was considered the most powerful colonial master and where they had famous universities like Oxford and Cambridge.
The Americans were also slow to recognize women’s right to vote and only in 1919 the Congress passed the act of June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote. The 19th amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote. Achieving this milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle and took decades of agitation and protest.
Source : Google photo
It took Rosa Parks a lot of courage and struggle to gain her civil rights in The United States . Called “the mother of the civil rights movement,” Rosa Parks invigorated the struggle for racial equality when she refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama. Parks’ arrest on December 1, 1955 launched the Montgomery Bus Boycott by 17,000 black citizens. The civil rights for the blacks took its inspiration from her and moved forward to get the rights they were denied. You can’t separate racial equality from the gender equality.
Malala Yousafzai took a bullet to her head in Pakistan when the Taliban tried to kill her for promoting education for girls that they violently opposed. She lives and went on to receive a Nobel prize for her efforts worldwide at the tender age of 17.
There are numerous examples of heroines who come forward in many countries to fight for equal rights and treatment in male dominated societies and have won impressive victories. Many became leaders of their countries but the gender inequality persists in spite of the gains made by women worldwide.
In some religions, women are denigrated as second class citizens who are just supposed to be the breeding machines and nothing more because they are afraid of educated and smart women. They are not allowed to go out without a male chaperon who must be a relative, they are not allowed to drive and must not wear western clothes. They are not allowed to sing or dance or enjoy a football game and must be covered from head to toe in black hijab to “ keep them safe” from prying eyes.
The gender inequality I am writing about is widely prevalent even in so called democratic countries where they get lower pay for doing the same job as males, get left behind when it comes for promotion in their office, are sexually abused to get a movie role, are subjected to endless sexual harassment in their work place, get harassed on the streets by the cat callers and eve teasers, are subjected to domestic violence by their spouse or live in partners, are refused to be admitted to armed forces for fighting in the front so the list is long and discouraging.
But women are winning the battle in many countries where people are realizing that women make up half the humanity and can no longer be ignored. They must be treated equally and fairly because women have proved that they can do anything men can do and in many cases better than men.
In the ancient history of Egypt, women pharaohs like Hatshepsut and Cleopatra stood up to be recognized as powerful rulers while Joan of Arc came forward to fight the British in France and lead the battle when no one thought that a simple village lass could do so. There have been many women of great courage and valor in the Indian history who fought the British tooth and nail and sacrificed their lives to do so. Who can ever forget the Queen of Jhansi Laksmibai or Matangini Hazra who took a bullet while demonstrating against the British? Who can forget Djamila Boupacha in Algeria who helped start the spark of revolution there that eventually won them independence? She suffered torture in the hands of the French secret police but she prevailed.
Today I am happy to know that a movie like Dangal has touched the nerve of male India and has made them realize that women are just as good or even better than men but it is a bitter pill to swallow in the male dominated society even today although that is now slowly changing.
India’s first female Minister of External Affairs Sushama Swaraj , first female Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman , First woman President of India Pratibha Devisingh Patil, First woman Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, First female speaker of the Parliament of India Meira Kumar, First woman in India to climb Mt. Everest Bachendri Pal who was born 24 May 1954 is an Indian mountaineer, who in 1984 became the first Indian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest. The list of female trail blazers is indeed long who have steadily chipped away at the wall that still separates them from the males and have made tremendous progress in many fields.
Krystyna Chojnowska-Liskiewicz of Poland was the first woman to sail around the world solo, completing her 401-day voyage (via the Panama Canal) on 21 April 1978, starting and finishing in the Canary Islands.
Laura Decker, a 14-Year-old girl who went solo sailing around the World. When 14-year-old Laura Dekker set out in 2012 to become the youngest person to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe, it made world news.
No one can forget the aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart and Scientists like Marie Curie . I have here the names of the women scientists who have won Nobel prize .
Marie Curie, Frances Arnold, Donna Strickland, Irene Joliot Curie, Ada Yonath, Dorothy Hodgkin, Gerty Cori, Barbara McClintock, Gertrude Elion, Rosalyn Sussman Yalow, Christiane Nusslein Volhard, Rita Levi Montalcini, Tu Youyou, Elizabeth Blackburn, May Britt Moser, Carol W. Greider, Linda B. Buck, Alva Myrdal, Jane Addams and lately Malala Yousafzai are all stars in the galaxy that will twinkle forever and encourage all women. ( source : Wikipedia)
The movie Dangal inspired a lot of women in India to take up wrestling with men and women who feel encouraged to take up such a sport that allows them to fight men on equal footing in front of cheering crowd. I have seen videos of young girls in Vietnam and other countries where they wrestle with men and beat them in real fight and not the fake fight of women in skimpy clothes in the United States who put up a show just for entertainment tearing up each other’s clothes.
Here is a video that will impress you just as much as it impressed me so watch.
Source : U tube video of female male wrestling in India
Here is another one :
Source : U tube video of female male wrestling in India
In Vietnam girls challenge boys as well in wrestling as you will see here.
Source : U Tube video of women vas men wrestling in Vietnam
Where women have gained equality in a spectacular way is in the Indian armed forces where we have female fighter pilots or flying other types of planes. You will see them leading the troops during the 26th of January parade in Delhi and you will see them as captains of Indian Navy fleet.
Google photo of Avani Chaturvedi as the fighter pilot of the Indian Air Force
Women in Israel, in Syria, in India and in many other countries fight as soldiers safeguarding their countries . You have all heard of the bravery of female Peshmerga fighters in Iraq and Syria who gave the ISIS fighters the fight the terrorists had never expected . They truly feared these brave girls.
Source : Google photo of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in Syria
I have always believed in women as equal of men in most fields but they do better than men as doctors , nurses , caregivers and as political leaders. The wrestling girls prove that they are better than men in strength and the ability to fight and defeat them. Now we see more and more women taking up traditional men’s jobs as scientists, engineers, sportswomen, technicians. trade workers and educators.
But still they have a long way to go before they get true gender equality. Yesterday the four culprits who raped and killed an innocent 18 year old girl in a Delhi bus 7 years ago were hanged that finally brought justice to the girl but she gave her life and could not defend herself. The mentality that women can be abused is still prevalent so such crimes against them are committed not only in India but in many other countries as well.
Until you start to treat your children in a fair manner and give them equal opportunities to excel in whatever they do in life , the inequality and gender bias will continue. I hope for the day when women will gain their true equal status in any society and be respected for their abilities in all the countries. You just can’t ignore half the humanity any more.
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