• MIDWAY : Today’s women

In the land of Sita and Savitri, a new woman is emerging. She is the smart, professional, single career woman of today. One can see her in metropolitan cities, in towns and

elsewhere, taking her profession seriously and working with a single-minded devotion. She stays alone, away from her family, works on a par with her male colleagues, does not expect favours just because she is a woman, and is ready to fight for her right.

This may be the result of the female fight for equality and liberation — Nepal’s answer to woman’s lib. Perhaps it is the result of the added stress on girls’ education. Or perhaps it is the Nepali middle-class families’ decision to treat daughters like sons. The single girl wants to be independent, to make use of her education and not to be a “burden” on her parents. She wants to set aside funds for her marriage, her dowry, and give a fillip to her newly married life.

The organisations that employ her also help her in her quest. Various companies hunt for fresh talent in colleges and select the cream of fresh graduates. Thus, girls in their late teens or just out of teens are often recruited. A major adjustment problem arises when these single working girls get married.

Having tasted independence, both economically and socially, such a girl may find it difficult to adjust to a husband in whom the age-old ideas may be deeply rooted. He may expect her to combine office work with housework which her mother and aunties did not do. But in the age of cutthroat competition, this may prove quite difficult.

Besides, Nepali men still expect their wives to be at their beck and call. Should the husband have a transfer or a job change, she may be expected to throw up her career and follow him “to the end of the world.” And when the child arrives, it will still be the mother’s duty to raise it. Then there is the big male ego to contend with. Should the wife be in a higher position or earn more money than the hubby, she indeed has some tough issues to deal with. While the present generation of the single working career girl has become a reality, has she bitten off more than she can chew? Or has she come of age?