Woman in today’s villages
11 Mar 2018 08:05am IST
By Molly Fernandes
By Molly Fernandes
On the occasion of World International Women Day to the most dignified and priceless being, wonderfully designed with inner qualities, potency and the special gift of womanhood – the womb, I wish to hold in esteem the women of the villages as a mark of respect, acknowledge admiring their contribution to the society and compliment them.“God gives woman and man an equal personal dignity, endowing them with the inalienable rights and responsibilities proper to the human person. God then manifests the dignity of women in the highest form possible, by assuming human flesh from the Virgin Mary, whom the Church honours as the Mother of God, calling her the new Eve and presenting her as the model of redeemed woman”. (cf. familiaris consortio no. 22) The Mother of the Redeemer, that exceptional "daughter of the human race," that extraordinary "woman" who became the Mother of Christ was a village girl, from the village of Nazareth, for "when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as daughters and sons” (Gal. 4:4-6). This is the attitude one need to have towards the image of woman in today’s villages who are endowed with great potential, power, energy, self confidence and faith in God and with which all need to look at her and break the strong patriarchal traditions that she is conditioned to believe that she is inferior and subordinate to men. For “God created them in his own image and likeness, male and female he created them” (cf. Gen.1: 27) while The Indian Constitution grants women equal rights with men, and she is no more a burden, a liability. “I am somebody. I am me. I like being me. And I need nobody to make me somebody” says Louis L’Amour. Women in today’s villages have seen many significant changes from the ancient period to the contemporary times. According to the article Indian women and society, “the women enjoyed high status in the ancient period; the works by great Indian like Patanjali and Katyayana suggest that the women were properly educated during the early Vedic period. The Rig-Vedic verses also suggest that the women used to marry at a mature age and were also independent to choose their husband. The position deteriorated during the medieval period. Many evil practices like Sati, child marriage, ban on widow marriages, etc. were practised extensively during this period”. “If you have the courage to begin you have the courage to succeed” exhorts David Viscott. In the modern era, the status of women: be it social or economic, in today’s villages is quite impressive. The women now participate in all types of activities like education, politics, media, art and culture, service centres, science and technology, etc. The women are also taking part in many social movements like anti-liquor movement or anti-molestation movement; so too local issues like water scarcity, electricity, etc. The women in today’s villages get many chances of getting education and they go to the government primary schools in numbers. Many send their children to study in Mission Schools or schools run by the Church, by religious women and men. As a result, the women literacy rate in the villages has increased significantly in the recent years. Apart from education, the women in the villages are getting involved in different types of occupations as well. What Anthony Robbins says “Focus on where you want to go, not on what you fear” is become a reality for our women. Through the empowerment received from the Social Service Centres and the tireless efforts of the women religious to make a mention, the women in today’s villages have learnt to collect the stones thrown at her to built homes, to built families rather than build a fence around her and have learnt the art of living too! Today’s women in the villages not only take care of their household works, but also do a lot of things to contribute to the family’s total income. They are engaged in the occupations like art and crafts or handicrafts, making potteries, fresh flower productions, pickle and papad making, dressmaking, paintings, etc. and they are actively involved in animal husbandry, as well. In this way, they are contributing a lot to the overall income of the family and ensuring further well being of their family. However, the coin has two sides, if we see the progress of woman in today’s villages which is impressive there are other factors that hinder the empowerment of women as is the level of respect in the society. According to the Home Ministry’s National Crime Records Bureau (2008), in India, every 26 minutes a woman is molested, every 34 minutes a rape takes place, and every 43 minutes a woman is kidnapped. The recent incidents that are making news almost every day regarding the rapes and assaults on women and girls are just horrifying. Her poor health, being malnourished and the mistreatment she gets at home even from another woman and at the workplace, is a matter of concern. The cruel treatment continues in the form of female infanticide and it is even more painful to know that the girl child is breast-fed for shorter periods of time with a desire for to have a male child after a female is born due to the harassments. In some places the issue of dowry is another factor that hampers the empowerment of women. The Preamble guarantees economic justice and equality but why the disparity in payments, as women are invariably paid lower wages, despite the fact that they work harder and for longer hours than the opposite sex? And I dare to say that this disparity is also being faced by the women religious working in mission areas! But D. A. Battista empathises, “the scars you acquire by exercising courage will never make you feel, inferior”. Though there are problems in the lives of women who seem to be powerless and weak, they are ready to fight and enjoy their life to the full. Because, biologically women are more capable of withstanding stress than men and have endured greater hardships….and the biggest truth is “against all human expectation God chooses those who were considered powerless and weak to show forth his faithfulness to his promises: Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Deborah; Ruth; Judith and Esther; and many other women” (ccc. 489). For, “It’s not what you accomplish in life that matters, it’s what you OVERCOME” says Johnny Miffer. Thomas Carlyle directs, “Go as far as you can see. When you get there you will be able to see further”. As a whole, it can be said that though there have been significant changes in the status of women in today’s villages since the ancient period, I personally have seen, heard and experienced in these decades, that they are in a good state at the moment. Many women coming from the villages are establishing themselves in various fields and this is undoubtedly a bright sign for the future of India. Women in today’s villages are educated, employed - in schools, firms, hospitals… and their position has considerably improved. They are also part of active politics. Today she is able to relate (communicate) to a great gathering. She is computer literate, using modern gadgets, appliances and accessories. She is learning to keep up with the modern trends through her monthly savings (bachat ghat) from rupees 5/-(initial) to rupees 200/- which earlier could not even be dreamt has become her backbone. Precisely because of the continuous empowerment they receive through different orientation programmes, medical camps from those working for their up-lift and also the selfhelp groups and bachat ghat has raised their level of economic status. As a result she doesn’t have to wait or depend on her husband for her needs and the needs of the family. Because at times, most of the earnings of the head of the family is spent on drinks or on another woman and there’s no saving left for the upkeep of the family. As Les Brown rightly put it, “you don’t have to be great to get started but you have to get started to be great”.
Yes, all that the woman need is to get bold, to get together, to get moving and to do it now. So, with the timely empowerment they receive through different programmes and the family visits we hope that the women in today’s villages will continue their fight to eradicate all forms of violence, crimes and injustices that devalue and dehumanize their identity. For a woman is special, creative and innovative. Yes, she is an inventor of most of the modern technology because all that she did earlier manually is what now the machines are doing!!! As someone said, “always concentrate on how far you have come rather than how far you have to go”. I would like to end with the words of Flavia weedn: “if one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again”.
- Love and respect nature
- No Goykarponn on Goa’s roads
- Untold Story of a Beti
- What’s the message, Sir?
- Blitzkrieg in the Backyard: Goa’s tryst with WW II
- Oh no, not again?
- Betrayal of trust by elected representatives
- SAVE THE BANKING INDUSTRY
- Rising global sea level to wash out coastal tourism?
- The Mussollam Fhell of Chandor
- Of Statues and Statesmen
- The Destruction of Goa's Agriculture