Category: gender based psychology

Modern day – Dowry to do or TODO!

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Some of you may feel what is written below is not entirely real. That’s not the case. I personally know all of this happening around me in the friends and family circle.

Still there are families, girls and guys who are taking strong stand against dowry irrespective of their economic status. You all are doing the right thing!

There are some people who say that some advantages are there in dowry system. Their stand is that dowry gives economic support to newly married people, sometimes dowry acts like a provident fund for young people. These are may be good points if the money is given from the extra savings of the other family. What about the family which takes loan just to give dowry? It will be like financial safety for one family at the cost of other family's debt.

Many families give dowry just to match their social status with the others in their community. People with more wealth may do lavish wedding. That is a different scenario. However, family with low income in the same community as above wealthy person, takes huge money on loan to make equally styled lavish wedding. This loan may burden the next two generations of the family with debt.

Many of us think that education is the way forward for dowry system to stop. However, in many cases if the groom is well educated with high income, then more dowry is expected from a girl in the pretext of secured financial future. If you think that such demands, come only from parents or old people of the family, then that’s not the case always. Many guys who earn more want more luxurious items in marriage to project their social status.

Most worrying part is how love marriages are converted these days. Many experts on the field and activists used to say that love marriages from different economic status people should help stop dowry system. Sadly, that is not the reality. Many families arrange such love marriages like other arranged marriages so that their social status can be shown through marriage which includes projecting the dowry received as well. Girl or guy, whoever has the lower economic background, are made to take money on loan to match the other's social status during the marriage. Recent trending statement about dowry, 'we don't want dowry but you can give whatever you want for your daughter who are we to stop that'. In the end, families make a statement that they are adjusting for children's love marriage.

When we talk about girl's education, that doesn't mean earning a degree. There are parents who educate both their son and daughter in same way. The girl gets same education as brother, gets a good income job from which she doesn't share any money to parents after marriage. However, some girls feel that dowry is customary in marriage. If a parent has better economic status and they are willing to share the wealth then the girl can go ahead as per legal terms of property sharing with parents and sibling. When the girl asks for amount/gold which is more than their family property, how is it practically possible? If the family, does it for the girl's happiness, what happens to the future of others in the family? Who holds the responsibility of educating the girl to make strong stand against dowry? Is it parent or society or herself or all together?

There are girls and guys who spend their own earned money on their marriage. This is great. Sometimes, those youngsters apply for loan in lakhs to buy gold for the marriage. The gold will be inside locker but they will be paying interest for the loan. The gold was bought to give as dowry and make up for the societal status. Here whether we should appreciate the youngsters for their self-made financial status or think about new model of dowry?

Many parents (both educated and non-educated) in India try to teach their children about family values which includes accepting dowry as a valid system. What is the use of educating children with higher degrees when they are not able to take a stand against a wrong system like dowry?   Families should also show willingness to legally distribute the properties amongst all in the family irrespective of gender.

  • Married women may find it difficult to do better in career due to dowry related mental harassments at home
  • Some girls don't get financial support for higher education from family as family want to keep money for dowry
  • Regular reminders of pending dowry push women into depression which leads to other health issues
  • Societal pressure makes married women to adjust with whatever harassment happens but not to withdraw from the marriage
  • Suicide thoughts are not anything to do with educated or non-educated. When they go through lot of humiliation inside house, women take this extreme step

There is another thing to be note about this system, which is, if no is being said to dowry, there are people in many communities who doubt the ability of the guy or label the girl as arrogant if she has a job.

  • Educating girls properly, making them understand that dowry is not customary and strong laws can help in dealing with dowry. Still, it may not be enough unless everyone decides not to participate in dowry.
  • There should be societal shame created if a person gives or takes dowry.
  • Everyone must be aware of the legal ways of sharing the family properties.
  • Women and men should respect their own values above dowry.
  • Most of the families send girls to work just for earning their own dowry. Instead, they should encourage girls to work for their own and family's financial security.

We all co-exist in the same society as above!

Let her also dream…

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Let her also dream...... Its her space... Its her dream... Let her also dream.

Just a different write-up from my usual ones. It is going to be a quick read story.

She was so afraid of outside people when she was in a home run kindergarten. At the age of three and half, once she was crying continuously, the teacher said “if you cry i will put you into well”. She did not go there afterwards.

 

 

She was put into first standard directly at the age of five in a government elementary school, which did not even have toilet facility. However, the school provided lot of space and freedom for individual thinking. She was allowed to think big and learn more of world knowledge looking at her surroundings. Slowly she developed love for reading and used to visit the only library in the village, which took more than 3 km of cycling one way to reach. This at the time when a girl cycling to the library was against the so-called village rules.

She had some of best teachers in school who were more interested in making her class topper than her parents. However, the school used to have hardly five teachers including a sports and an arts teacher. Parent teachers association used to appoint some youngsters from village to teach high school kids with very less or no salary. Such young teachers were actually more active and helped students in all possible ways. With the great guidance of some bunch of good teachers, she scored 472/500 in the 10th standard board exam.

As the local govt school was only till 10th standard, she was ready to join in a new school for higher secondary. Somehow, her parents and relatives convinced her to join in a private school with hostel facility thinking that was best. Once, there was a mistake in a physics record writing and the teacher remarked that the govt school girls are irresponsible in everything. Teacher did not stop there, and she just threw the notebook on her face. That moment, she decided that this school is not a right place for her. Further, she wanted to join a government school, which would give better freedom of thinking. That was the first ever decision which she made against parent’s wish. Mother supported her in this matter and she joined a govt girl’s higher secondary school for which she had to cycle 3 km to catch town bus, 10 km travel in that town bus and finally walk 1 km along with a very heavy school bag. That higher secondary school had only one class per specialization. She had 150+ girls in her Maths & Biology specialization. Attending to that school was not much help other than the official mark sheet. Private tuition was a mandatory.

In midst of all this, she had tough days at home. Parents were always having lot of love for her but not among themselves. Every single minute at home used to be like a war zone. Parents had lot of misunderstanding with each other and they never thought how serious their fight was affecting their daughter. As a higher secondary girl, she was struggling to handle the emotions around. So she used to stay mostly away from home by engaging more to school and tuition. Starting morning 5 am from home - morning tuition, regular school classes, evening tuition and reaching home night around 8 pm. This was her schedule for two years. Board exams started and she was busy and suddenly a day came with a life changing evening. A day, which was before two days of chemistry board exam. Parents fight reached a peak and mother was getting ready to leave the house. Father asked her to accompany mother to avoid any unexpected problems. With full of tears and two volumes of chemistry book in hand, she left along with mother and reached grandparent’s house. However, she managed to score 1071/1200 with Maths 196/200 and biology 198/200.

Cut-off marks were not much favorable after receiving the entrance exam results. The story of entrance exams and govt school kids are very interesting which is very tough to explain here. Entrance results and marks were one side. On the other side, her parents were separated since the day mother left home. Actually saying parents are separated until today and its more than 15 years now.

Biology cut-off was not enough to get a free medical seat in counselling and she was forced to choose engineering. In addition, she was clearly asked by her father to choose electronics and communication engineering in a nearby college with hostel during the engineering counselling process. However, she did not follow everything that her father told. As father was not accompanying her to the counselling, she choose electronics course but not in a nearby college. She choose a college, which was 400 km away from hometown. During those four years of college, she visited hometown hardly 4 times.

Hostel and its atmosphere with mountains around were giving new energy to her every day. That energy was not enough for her to understand the Engineering subjects as it was on English. Friends and senior students in the hostel were helping her to understand the subject. In the first semester exams, she failed in two subjects and that was her first ever academic failure. She went into a deep depression thinking about her own achievements in school days. When she tried to come out of depression, she got to know that her marks had already reached the village post office in open postal card. Knowing her marks, few relatives already started scolding her mother for supporting her. Friends always stood with her in all good and bad days. And she got her engineering degree with 77% marks in first class.

In her third year of college itself, top companies started pouring in for recruitment. She participated in all the interview process and failed in the group discussion round due to poor English communication. Most probably, it was her 15th company to attend and she cleared the whole interview process including the group discussion round. She was offered with 2.5 lakhs annual package in that multinational company. During this whole interview process, she was grappling with high fever. Was it because of slight drizzle the previous day that she got drenched in or due to her fear of facing things? Nobody knows.

Facing the heat of parent’s separation hit in any of the many ways possible. As a lower middle class family, father was the one who paid for everything in college days and he struggled a lot to make money for her studies. She became guilty of not helping father financially after getting a job. She was unable to help father because he gave a choice to choose between father and mother. She knew very well that father can manage somehow without anyone’s help but mother's case was not same. Mother had no financial support ever since she was separated and was struggling very badly. Thinking all that, she choose to bring mother along with her to the working city and father stopped talking to her. After that, it took few years for her to talk to her father.

Her city life started with new job. For few months, everything was challenging for her. In middle of all these, she had a regular love story and breakup too. Regular love story but had some unexpected turns here and there.

While working, she enrolled herself into her dream course and got M.sc degree on the same. Adventures are all around in life. Even though earning was there, she did not save much of money. Money was spent on buying books and traveling most of the India.

She was so afraid of marriage and love after seeing many failed marriages around and a breakup of her own. Time changes everything and she was convinced into marriage by an office friend who wanted to marry her. They decided to have a simple wedding and the same took place in a registrar office only with both parents around. Few years after the marriage, career break became unavoidable to be with baby.

Now she again wants to take a bold decision in life about switching career. However, our society is more about implicit rules and challenges. Everywhere people ask why to switch career when you can earn more in old IT  job, why to take risky job, what about financial safety, what if new career does not become successful.

Even after so many struggles in the past, a girl is not hearing much positive talks about her new career choice. Career switch needs strength and effort. Even though she is ready to put efforts, challenges are too big in front of her. Marks and academics are very small part in life. How much ever good or bad the marks are, strong mind and smart work is the key to move forward in life. That is the purpose of mentioning her marks on this story.

This is not a story of one girl. This is the common story for most rural background girls who are coming into job leaving behind all their struggles.

Let her also dream and let her walk towards her goals in her space.

 

Do women feel empowered in their day-to-day life?

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Self-determination, confidence and being strong is empowerment. Self-empowerment and professional empowerment are major forms of empowerment.

Women empowerment is a recent trending word. Everyone talks about gender diversity at workplace, women ratio in politics, women inclusion in sports and defence. Keeping all that aside, in practical day-to-day life, do women feel empowered? There are lot of customs around us, which deny the women empowerment. When it comes to women empowerment, we only think about the scores of supposedly illiterate women and consider them as not empowered. We will discuss about empowerment in the context of women who are exposed to education and latest in technology.

As a girl, do you feel that you are empowered? This question every one of us should ask ourselves. Contrary to popular opinion, this word does not belong only to working women. Are you strong and self-sufficient to take your own decisions? Are you having freedom to talk about relationships, culture, politics, economics, and sports related topics in your family and friends circle?

Do parents teach girls about the importance of empowerment since childhood?Answer is yes to only some extent. It is contingent on society norms not being broken. This habit pulls down girls in many places from voicing out their opinion. They always assume that talking in office meetings or in public may brand them as coming from bad family background. In few families, parents themselves teach girls to accede to in-laws even if they are wrong, for the sake of family well being. Parents advise girls to keep silent even if there is any dispute in workplace. These advices are fed in from very small age, which strongly gets into girl’s consciousness.

Advising children about family values are important and healthy habit. However, asking girls to keep silent even for wrong things teaches them negative mindset. When women want to question someone, they get self-doubt. At times, it leads to inferior feeling in front of others.

Education helps to improve self-confidence. In addition, it supports in the matters of working and earning like men.  However, having a degree and earning in lakhs does not make a girl empowered in a society where women are not allowed to take decision owing to untold norms or emotional pull down. In some cases, even employed women are not financially independent. Let us not confuse between women who like to discuss with all in family on financial matters before expenses with women who are questionable even for unavoidable expenses.

Feminism and empowerment is not all about changing to modern dress. Not only men even many women misunderstand that feminism is a word, which works against men. Strong men and women always understand and stand for it. Feminism is construed to be positive discrimination towards women; rather it is about equality of gender and creation of a strong willed society.

It is very important for the society to have empowered women in it. Women empowerment is an essential component in any country's sustainable growth and development. Gender inequality cannot be addressed without women empowerment. Even if known to all, many are afraid to slip away from the social norms, which are unofficially setup for the women.

How our society is challenging women who want to be empowered is very shocking. The recent survey results on how women are exploited through growing internet usage are looks so bothering.

How to become empowered women – stand up for yourself always. Please ignore people who always relate negativity and women. When you can't accept what others are forcing on you, learn to say no. Don't compare your physical look with other women. Most importantly, please do not forget that you do deserve respect from everyone.

 

“There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved. It is not possible for a bird to fly on only one wing.” - Swami Vivekananda

Psychology of a man

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Men say it is very tough to understand girls and they do not express anything and want to be understood. I somehow do not share this view. Men are often closed personalities. They generally do not share their state of mind with anyone.

The societal setup in which we are all growing up has a different set of rules for boys and girls in same house in terms of emotional well-being. Boys should not cry; Boys should not share their personal issues even with closest of friends; Sharing may be considered as weakness; Boys should be dominating and assertive. These statements may be glorifying until school days or may be until college. However, once they reach adulthood, they struggle between reality and what was taught to them at home.

Over loading men with responsibilities is very common around us. Since they are born, they are taught to be responsible. Slowly they assume most of the responsibilities in the family and start to work towards fulfilling them. At times, they forget the sense of being self and thinking only for others in the family. This might look like a sacrifice in the front but it has lot of impacts within themselves. They are increasingly stressed, depressed and anxieties grow within. It leads to anger, aggressiveness, low sexual drive, headache, stomach ache, low immunity, social withdrawal, worrying too much, negative thinking and sleep disorders.

Economic status is a major cause of stress for men. When they struggle to control their financial standards, they start to have self-doubt, which leads to issues like becoming temperamental, being violent towards family, becoming drug addicted. Unemployment, increasing debt on credit card, home loans, property sharing issues, not having enough retirement bonus, and other debts are the main factors to have high blood pressure, heart issues and suicidal thoughts. Some are even getting trapped into antisocial activities like robbery and murder.

Unclear job roles, job insecurity, long working hours, inflexible work hours, heavy work load, constant expectation to produce high performance and burnout are the monsters in front a man at work place. They get less time to interact with family and friends. This increases the stress. All men want an ideal job, which has a high income, good respect at work place, enough leaves and great work life balance.

Sexual relationship is another factor, which creates stress for men. Cultural setup, financial status and marital status are influencing the same. They do not talk to anyone on this and the resulting stress keeps building inside. Our cultural setup does not give any space to discuss. Few men feel uncomfortable to discuss sex even with their partners. This leads to unsatisfied relationship most of the time.

Almost all the men expect a woman by their side who love him for being himself, trust him in life’s difficulties; appreciate his humour, committed to him and feels that he is attractive. When the men are forced to be convinced on any of the above qualities, their acceptance may be a question mark. When the emotional flow of thoughts is not channelled properly, it leads to depression or antisocial behaviours.

Do not forget on the fact that men can cry. There is no crime in men crying when required. Share your state of mind with close ones. They will not call it out as your weakness; instead, they will stand by you. Try to have better eating habits, never skip your breakfast how much of a rush you are in. Try to forgive people, this gives you relaxation and it becomes easy to move on in life. Try to have proper sleeping habits.

To handle stress and depression, try to talk it out.