This Women’s Day let’s break the bias
“ātmaupamyena sarvatra samaṁ paśhyati yo ’rjuna yogī paramo mataḥ.”
– The Bhagavad Gita
(I regard them to be perfect yogis who see the true equality of all living beings.)
Societies that honour women and their contributions naturally flourish. The ancient Indian Vedas in all their wisdom recognized this fact, with a number of its Sanskrit hymns and texts, dating back to 1500 BCE, emphasizing the equality of men and women and the equally significant roles they play in raising a family — the basic building block of a community.
All the four Vedas — The Rig Veda, the Atharva Veda, the Yajur Veda and the Sama Veda — emphasise repeatedly that women are to be given the utmost respect and honour and opportunities to realise their aspirations and true potential.
“Where women are respected, there the gods delight and where they are not, there all works and efforts come to naught.”
- Manu-smriti (Laws of Manu)
A careful reading of these ancient texts that form the foundation of Hinduism, reveal that the feminine force was revered as the very essence of the universe through which everything is created.
Unfortunately, the centuries have seen an erosion of women’s power and position in Indian society and in fact across the world. With the result that today we are trying to address skewed stereotypes and mindsets that see women as the weaker sex. Right from the level of the family to the highest echelons of power, women are called upon to constantly prove themselves if they want to take on positions of authority and power. Sometimes it may just be for the sake of realizing their personal dreams and ambitions.
Women’s empowerment and equality is widely discussed. However, the truth is that world over women step back from pursuing their aspirations for the sake of others. Women’s skills, knowledge and talents have led to enormous progress in various fields such as communication, space research, technology, education, healthcare and so on. And yet they still have to prove themselves day in and day out.
If gender equity is to be achieved, efforts must begin at the level of the family, where the husband and wife strive together — as the Vedas have put it, like the two wings of a bird — to raise sons and daughters, with absolutely no bias. Their efforts must find a mirror in schools and communities. In fact, education must no longer be just about academic learning, but about how to give and take respect in all spheres of life.
This International Women’s Day, Pratimoksha stands for “a gender equal world”.
We commit ourselves to the vision of International Women’s Day (www.internationalwomensday.com)
“A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination.
A world that’s diverse, equitable and inclusive.
A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
Together we can forge women’s equality.
Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.”