“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
-Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
I am no bird but I am a woman: a woman in the 21st century where I’m supposed to be free. I am supposed to have an independent will and be free of any fear regarding my status in the society. I am a female, the other wheel of the chariot moving humanity towards a better future. In spite of having an important role in the evolution and development of the mankind, the world doubts my capabilities and talents.
In this modern society, I can see examples of gender discrimination and female suppression. On one hand, I see goddesses being worshiped while on the other hand, I see a woman abused and raped. This is the irony of the world we live in.
Throughout history, we have examples of great women who accomplished great things, be it in the field of politics, arts or the sciences. From Cleopatra to Marie Curie, from Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher to Indra Nooyi and Oprah Winfrey, we have examples of strong, self reliant women who knew their aims and aspired for greatness. They are the embodiment of the independent will which Bronte talks about. Thus it is disheartening to note that women are still considered a “piece of meat”.
The plight of a woman in today’s society remains the same. Brutalization, discrimination and suppression continue to be a part of the lives of women around the world. In my country, there is news of domestic violence, sexual assaults, abductions, trafficking, feticide and dowry related disputes every day. One day a minor girl is attacked by 40 men on the streets of Guwahati, while a few months later a girl is raped by six men in Delhi. Heinous crimes are committed behind closed doors every minute. Therefore, I do not feel safe on the streets of my city.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Of all the evils for which man has made himself responsible, none is so degrading, so shocking or so brutal as his abuse of the better half of humanity; the female sex (not the weaker sex).” We are not weaker, we are equal. Mahatma Gandhi believed in equality and so do I. Therefore, the subjugation of the female sex is a step backwards in the march of humanity towards evolution. With every ten steps forward, the suppression of women takes us five steps backwards.
I am a 17 year old entering the world of adults. I aspire to be the change in this society. My aim is to become an educated and self sufficient individual so that no net may ensnare me. I am willing to face every challenge that the society throws at me. I hope for a brighter future “where the mind is without fear and the head is held high”. I am a woman and I am proud to be one.