Today's Editorial

Today's Editorial - 21 May 2023

Gender equality must begin at home

Source: By Mathew C Ninan: Deccan Herald

Gender inequality is admittedly a blatant denial of human rights, to put it bluntly. The patriarchy of the past millennia, with its deeply entrenched gender stereotypes, compounded by religious orthodoxy, has made it impossible to make any significant progress in ensuring equality.

We hear reports of inequality and injustice on a daily basis, whether they areinstances of violence, abduction, rape, or child marriage. Dowry-related cruelties and deaths are reported with alarming frequency even to this day. This comes after decades of observing International Women’s Day, which celebrates the achievements of women and fiercely advocates for equal rights for women. The reality is disappointing, to say the least.

Gender equality still remains a distant dream. The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres observed that “gender equality is both a fundamental right and a solution to some of our greatest global challenges. But half of humanity is held back by the most widespread human rights abuse of our time.”

Gender equality is a question of powerThe patriarchy, with millennia of power behind it, is reasserting itself. The UN is fighting back and standing up for the rights of women and girls everywhere and recognises gender equality as central to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG),” the UN Secretary General said while outlining priorities for 2023.

The UN campaign theme this year is DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality. In this modern world of technology, where do women stand? Do they benefit or lose when compared to men?

The fact of the matter is that digital technology has been used as yet another instrument to haunt and harass girls and women today. The social media is capable of making intrusions of an unimaginable level. Invasion of privacy and blackmailing using personal data are rampant these days. These are absolutely reprehensible violations of human rights. We need more stringent laws to deal with these aberrations. The offenders are using the loopholes, and the law enforcement agencies are left clueless. This tendency should be arrested.

Cybercrime against women:

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there has been an increase in the number of cyber crimes during the pandemic years. They have reported that in 2021 alone, as many as 4,555 cases of sexual exploitation were recorded, which is around 8.6% of all cases.

People were forced to use the internet for educational, professional, and social purposes throughout the pandemic and lockdown. Working women began working from home using laptops, smart phones, and the web. Women who are engaged in educational activities have been forced to use the web for online learning and other educational activities. Due to the fact that the majority of women were using social media websites and one or more online platforms during this time period, the rate of cybercrime against women began to rise.

As the entire country was on lockdown, criminals were unable to physically pursue or stalk victims, and so they began mentally and emotionally harassing them. Women become victims of a host of cybercrimes, from blackmail to bullying to defamation. This is most unfortunate, as it is often difficult for the victims to complain because the culprits are unseen and unidentifiable.

In an increasingly technologically dependent world, criminality related to electronic law-breaking is certain to increase, and legislators must go the extra mile to keep imposters at bay. To combat cybercrime against women, the legal system has enacted a number of laws. It should be the relentless efforts of rulers and legislators to assure that technology advances in a healthier way and is employed for legal and ethical economic growth rather than criminal activity.

Society has to change. The starting point is the family. The way we treat our women at home forms the basis forthe young generation to learn this virtue. We must remove gender stereotypes of all kinds from our families and society.Symbols perpetuating hierarchy should be demolished, and equality should be reinstated there. A society that subjugates women cannot be called a cultured society. When women enjoy equality and equity with men in all respects, we can say we live in a civilized society.

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