Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Women’s Liberation

The other day my elder sister told me a touching story about a lady who was inhumanly dominated by her authoritative husband. The lady, who happened to be one of our relatives, had NO say in her family. Her husband was the sole decision-maker and he did not give her any credit for her 15-year long contribution to build up a stable household. The lady relative of ours is a stark reminder that a large number of Nepali women suffer a similar fate in the hands of their husbands.

Nepali society is male-dominated and male chauvinism is largely due to a wife’s financial dependence upon her husband. The cunning and clever husbands always try to make their wives realize that they cannot survive without them. The wife is deprived of the right to make choices and that she is forced to do whatever her husband instructs her to do. On the contrary, a man cannot live without a woman. There are numerous examples of single women successfully running their household. However, there are rare cases of men handling the family alone. Men are always privileged in our society. Although they are pretty aware of their weaknesses, they never reveal them in front of their wives. They always pretend to be superior. The seemingly pathetic women, who feel they are truly weak, have no right to interfere.

The female population must be conscious of their potential; they must think of ways to make themselves independent. Every woman must earn at least to support herself and her children. The chance of domestic violence is much lesser in houses where women earn. For instance, once I happened to talk to a lady grocer. She told me that she fought a lot with her husband at a time she was jobless. After sometime, she was fed up and decided to sell vegetables. In the process, she gained her confidence, self-respect and profound love from her husband. And, all of a sudden, the fighting stopped.

If a woman explores her field of interest and starts working, she can successfully establish herself. There are many skill-oriented training centres for women’s empowerment. They provide various training programs that could help women gain financial independence.

Women’s liberation is almost impossible without financial independence.  I still remember what my father told me in a letter a couple of years ago “…these days people talk about women’s freedom but they can never be free unless and until they gain financial independence…” I believe my father wanted to encourage me indirectly to be self-reliant first before thinking about my freedom. And now, as I see the sufferings of women, I understand the hidden meaning of those words.

(Published in an English Daily The Kathmandu Post on Tuesday, May 10, 2005)


I would appreciate any and all suggestions on making improvements (as long as they are viable).