Thejanuo Fidelia Solo
Breaking the Bias refers to the “Gender bias”. Gender bias is the tendency to prefer one gender over another. It is a form of unconscious bias or an implicit bias- whether deliberate or unconscious. The International Women’s Day 2022 this year was celebrated on the theme –“Breaking the Bias: Gender Equality” challenging us to take action and level the playgrounds of life for both the gender. Break the bias in Education; workplace; home; leadership; decision making; ownership rights; payment of wages; the list goes on…
On an individual level, each woman faces a bias which may differ from another woman. And at one time or other, women have felt inferior in one way or another. There are occasions where women also treat other women as inferior to men. Best example is a mother, who segregates the duties, responsibilities and household chores for her daughters and sons. But on a general level, in a patriarchal society like ours, there are already traditions, practices and customs which put men on a higher level. Right to ancestral property resting with men has automatically fueled the role of men in decision making and leadership and Women usually have no say in it. Furthermore, this superiority complex has followed men into all fields and aspects of our lives.
In spite of all the bias that we see around us, we have also seen and heard women excelling in many fields today and to name a few:
• Megan Markle inspiring an entire generation of women by adding diversity and a bit of change regarding royal protocol;
• Mac Kenzie Scott the billionaire philanthropist who is the current Forbes #1 World’s most powerful women 2021;
• Nirmala Sitharaman Indians first full-time female finance minister ranking #37 on Forbes list;
• Rano M Shaiza first Naga lady ambassador;
• Major K Kuotsu first Naga female Army Officer;
• Neikhrietuonuo Linyü, Wing Commander, the first Naga to climb Mt Everest.
• Tokheli Kikon first ever woman Village Council Chairman since the enactment of the Nagaland Village and Area Councils Act, 1978.
The subject on gender bias AKA gender equality, often raises fear psychosis in many men provoking them to issue bold comments in an attempt to safeguard the age-old practice of “men is a superior being” and to reassert their dominance. We have read on social platforms, many such comments particularly this year, on and after the International Women’s Day celebration. And as one read through such comments, one will no doubt, but interpret it to be against every women who has celebrated this year's International women's day, 2022 celebration on the theme" Break the Bias- gender equality". I am sure our mothers and any women who attended the days’ program had a wonderful and grand celebration, with many carrying home with them the knowledge and importance of gender equality. Most of whom are hardworking loving mothers, single bread winners of their respective families either because the men cannot or are no more, many of whom are compelled by the circumstances facing their families.
Highlighting a few comments made by some men this year on social platforms:
1. “Observing Women’s Day is fine. But I would like to comment that we should not be carried away by destructive ideas of some woke people”
2. “destroying time tested system of order in society is not going to be a liberation in the long run if it is based on suppression of one gender to uplift the other”
3. “Where the strength of men lies, let men have authority in those areas, where the strength of women lies, let women have authority. But where there is conflict in some areas, let men be given the preference to exert the authority”
4. “before tearing down the fence, know why the fence was out up in the first place”
5. “propagating the concept of bringing women on par with men and even trying to make women superior to men”
Starting with the Bible: There are various reasons for the division of the Holy Bible into two parts namely Old Testament and New Testament.
Just Two Evidential Examples in the Bible:
1. What you have to do to be forgiven?
• Old Testament says - You have to bring a lamb as a sacrifice for your sin to be forgiven.
• New Testament says- All you have to do is to repent and you are forgiven automatically.
2. Our understanding of GOD's Identity
• Old Testament says- The Lord is the only God.
• New Testament says- God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Why and how is a lamb replaced by repentance and why One and Only God are understood to be three persons in one? The only reasonable answer is adaptation of the Bible to the changing time and progress of human civilization.
Similarly, times have changed. Old has changed into new for very deep reasons. You and I can agree on the fact that with the advancement of our present civilization many of our traditional practices too have to be adapted to our present way of life. Best and simplest example is that even without ploughing and indulging oneself in the tireless and back-breaking efforts of the cultivation process, our bellies are amazingly full, by the Grace of God.
Today, the economic value of money has replaced most of our age old practices.
Money can even replace the strength of that "men" of the olden times!
Earlier, men had to provide for the family but today, there are a lot of families where women are sole bread winners of their respective families. A lot of women out there are engaged in male dominated activities, performing better than or equal to men, at the same time, fulfilling their role as mothers, wives and sisters.
With the exception of the family homes, women are in competition everywhere with men be it in space, on land or at sea.
We no longer live in small villages/communities but in a global village with advancement in science and technology where the click of a button works wonders. Modern world presents itself as broad and wide open; materially, socially and psychologically.
The struggle of humanity has changed and we are all racing against time and deadlines.
AS A PARENT (a real father and a real mother):
• Is it destructive and carried away to empower your daughter to do all types of work as that of a man in today's fast moving world?
• Is it destructive and carried away to ensure the sharing of domestic work equally by men and boys and to raise both boys and girls equally?
• Is it destructive and carried away to ensure equal pay for equal work?
• Is it destructive and carried away to build leadership and decision making skills of women in the family, workplace and the society?
• Is it destructive and carried away to support women to become financially independent?
• Is it destructive and carried away to encourage girls to access higher education and
• Is it destructive and carried away for women to seek equal opportunities in jobs?
All the above points, I am sure were topics in discussion this year, all over the world so as to ensure gender equality to break the biases against women.
In fact, men should not feel threatened on hearing the words "GENDER EQUALITY", nor should men worry much on the topic of pulling down any "fences" which was put up for a reason.
WOMEN the caring, gorgeous and beautiful creation of God! EQUALITY for what women toils and labours.
Sd/- On behalf of every women struggling in a men's world for their voices to be heard.
The writer is Assistant Professor, Department of Commerce, St Joseph’s College (Autonomous), Jakhama.