~~ Women and War ~~
In today's fast moving world, women have created a niche for themselves. Though women still remain an unsolved mystery in this man's world, they have fought wars in various fields of life to reach their present position.
Over the past centuries, women have proven their credibility due to persistent, selfless efforts towards improving the living standards of their gender. Women in the Victorian age , for example, were enclosed within the secure walls of their homes where adequate education was provided to them . They were taught basic skills like cooking, stitching etc along with acquiring skills to behave like dignified, petite ladies those rich well-bred gentlemen sought as brides. There existed a lack of identity in most women mainly due to constraints of society. Women feminists like Mary Wollstonecraft, Virginia Woolf and Simon de Beauvior brought about a change by struggling with the beliefs of the Govt., the society and male bureaucrats of their respective eras, for the rights of women. Thanks to their efforts, education in schools and colleges was open for women all over the world. Women were given equal seats as the male students and this encouraged more women to step out of the vicinity of their homes. Education also broadened the outlook of the society that permitted women to pick up books and acquire basic education for themselves.
Today, if women have reached the pinnacles of success, it is due to the struggle, grit and determination of feminists in the past who also emphasized the need to remove gender inequality in society thus giving equal opportunity to men and women in all fields.
Women today are much more enlightened and aware of their rights and learn to have an identity of their own. Whether political, personal or professional women today are capable enough to fight a war and emerge victorious.
In politics, one has seen the remarkable Indira Gandhi and how well she reined the political field during her lifetime. Irrespective of her gender, she moved ahead along with the strong faith the entire nation had in her. Today, we see women party leaders delivering speeches, attending functions and creating an aura of respect everywhere they go. These women fought against gender inequality and due to undeterred devotion to their people they have reached at the top of the ladder.
A woman fights a war on the personal level too. Whether it is a demanding career, a busy lifestyle, family pressure or financial needs, a woman has plenty on her mind to juggle with--and yet she emerges a winner. Whether she belongs to the high social circle or the down--trodden strata of society, almost every woman faces a battle at home where in-laws are concerned. In India for example, social evils like dowry have still not been eradicated from society despite efforts of social activists. Many women fight for their rights and demand equal place in a family but while some are victorious some suffer in silence to maintain harmony at home.
Today, women are also active participants in war i.e. the battlefield. Indian women are an important segment of the Indian Army, Navy and Airforce. They have reached dizzy heights crossing all barriers that prevented women from joining the forces in the past. Women officers are rubbing shoulders with their male colleagues setting aside their inhibitions and picking up weapons instead. With neatly starched uniforms, the women in the police force too, are not taken lightly and defying them means trouble. Mrs.Kiran Bedi being a senior police official, is a lady who has paved the way and set an example for many women to join the services and prove to this male chauvinist world what mettle women are made of.
The glamorous world of cine stars too is not exempt from war like attitudes. Cut throat competition exists between actresses who taste stardom with a lot of effort. Becoming a star is no easy feat and achieving fame and glory is a result of hard work.
In previous years, women who entered movies were labeled as 'lose character women' and were looked down upon. But over the years, bold daring steps of few women towards stardom have changed the entire scenario. Today, women have walked across the barriers of social constraints and entered fields of modeling, television and movies and brought fame and fortune at their doorstep.
The other side of the coin is the woman belonging to the lower classes of society. She is a woman who is battling with life, poverty and a drunken husband, just to make her ends meet. A peep into the innumerable slums of India will acquaint us to the struggle a poor woman faces each day. She leaves her home in search of work not knowing whether she will earn enough money to cook food for her hungry children back home. She faces each day as it comes with an inherent desire to have a decent living unlike the women prostitutes in various cities. No woman sells her body for fun---it is necessity that drives her to adopt such a profession and face hardships. Women in the brothels face a constant war against society and are not socially acceptable. Yet, they live on to provide finances to their families who are sometimes unaware of the sacrifices these women make.
One influential woman who fought against poverty was Mother Teresa. In spite of not being an Indian she reached out to the poorer sections of society and managed to provide a shelter to almost every child.
At various corporate levels and professions, it is women who rule the game. With their hard work, qualifications, education and personality along with family support, these women have gone beyond phobias like 'a woman's place is at home". They have reached the peaks of success in their organizations and acquired the respect and admiration of their male counterparts.
The Indian woman, especially, has come a long way and shall shine in the limelight of the world for years to come—a thousand salutations to her!!!