The under-utilised resource

Many agencies, conventions and organisations are working to make gender an issue of priority. But is that enough? What about the patriarchal mindset of the people? Of course, more and more women are gradually participating in decision-making in society. Still women are an under-utilised resource.

I was privileged to attend school and pursue higher studies without having to fight for the minimum right to education. Still, there are a great number of women whose contribution to the different sectors is hardly recognised.

There are many women in Nepal who possess impressive qualifications. Parents these days invest in their daughter’s education unlike in the past when money was saved for her marriage. It is good to see women intellects with creative ideas and potential. But after marriage, they fail to add value to that qualification, as women are often asked not to work outside and remain within the private domain. The daughter-in-law has no role in decision-making even if it is about her career and her independence. Because of this, Nepal is losing out on potential thinkers, producers and innovators. Additionally, it also leads to diminishing self-respect and dignity of a woman.

The aspiration to work or accomplish one’s goals makes women self-confident, independent and secure. Anyone would be content and proud if the skills and potential are recognised and utilised. Unfortunately, there still exists the notion that an ideal daughter-in-law is supposed to be a home-maker while it is the husband’s responsibility to earn the living for his family and to maintain the family dignity.

Every human being evolves according to society, and yes, when you are part of it you have to be responsible. But does that mean compromising on one’s self-respect and dignity? There is always criticism and rigidity when you first try to step up against the conservative patriarchal traditions. Without change there is no scope for development. With time, society, traditions and culture change gradually, which leads to evolution and development. A change in perspective requires a radical shift in the core beliefs, but it is very difficult to change these core beliefs. Hence, women themselves must transform their mindset in the first place so as to start looking at the problem differently.

As a quote goes, “If you don’t like being a doormat then get off the floor.”