Hello and Namaskar! I hope you are doing well. Here in Tarai, the weather remains misty every day, and the sun is barely visible. Despite the cold weather, there are still lots of mosquitoes in our area.
Before the training session started, our trainer greeted us and began with a review of the previous day’s session, as usual. Following the review, the new session began with a question: When do we start feeling like women? Is there any gender discrimination in your family? Do you have the opportunity to pursue your interests? If you were given Rs. 100.00, how would you like to spend it? Throughout the exercise, all participants openly shared their thoughts and feelings on the central themes of perception and gender discrimination.
After that, our trainer asked us about the proverbs used for women in our community. Everyone seemed so excited to share the proverbs, and laughter filled the air during the exchange.
Proverbs expressed by us:
- Chori mari gaal tari (the daughter is dead and so is infamy)
- Chori cheli gaal ko gund (a daughter is a nest of shame)
- Bhaatko aincho ra swaasniko paincho huidaina. (The swapping of cooked rice and a wife is not done)
- Laage laag mohani nalaage gharmai chha budi. (If romance does not work, there is always the wife at home)
- Ghar khaanu chhorile, desh khaanu chhoraale. (The daughter is for managing the household; the son is for the world.)
- Mahilako Rudra Ghanti Hundaina (women never maintain confidentiality)
- Baabu chhoraa hisaapkitap, aamaa chhori aincho-paincho (Father and son doing the accounts; mother and daughter swapping things.)
- Pothi baaseko suhaudaina. (The crowing of a hen is unbecoming)
Following the collection of these proverbs, discussions were held to anlyze how these expressions mirror the situation of women in our area. “The hen should not crow” means that the decisions of women are not recognized, or the women should not speak. Antother aspects is that the women themselves are accustomed to witnessing our grandmother, mother, elder sister and sister-in-law working. Conversely, if we argue we risk being given various “alias” names. Therefore, to avoid such labeling, we refrain from arguing.
Subsequently, we were posed with the next question: “What immediately comes to mind when you talk about women or men?”
|Two wheels of the chariot
|Decoration of the house
|Decoration of the head
The women were asked, “Can’t the women be courageous, or can’t the men be tolerant and cowardly? In this way, distinctions and discrimination arise between women and men in terms of food, clothes, works, behaviour etc. All these distinctions have been created by our community and they could be altered. This is not a result of the nature; rather, it is a situation created by our community or society, commonly referred to as “gender”.
Therefore, it is crucial to instigate changes in our attitude and behaviors. Until the responsibilities of women in household chores are minimized, and the decisions made by women receive rightful recognition, providing them equal opportunities for education, it will remain challenging to empower women.
I was shocked upon learning about the discrimination which I never realized before. I found myself contemplating how to change this culture. However, the trainer emphasized that change is a gradual process, and it requires commitment to making small, incremental changes. Personally, I have resolved to prioritize the education of both my son and daughter, without favoring one over the other.