Let’s begin with a little celebration since Feminism was stated word of the year by Merriam Webster dictionary. This definitely was a remarkable achievement given that women rights are the most talked about, yet the least worked upon issue globally. There are still more women on this planet who do not know about their rights than the ones that actually do. Empowered women are not only the privileged ones, they are a necessity for our society. They are the exemplars to encourage the oppressed ones to participate in spite of several hurdles. I have to admit here, I personally have met and known many women who are unaware of their basic rights. They also believe that the bad treatment meted out to them is completely justified. You will be surprised to know, that against the popular belief, many of these women are quite educated and successful ones. This makes many of us wonder, why do these women accept this behavior anyway. This brings us to understanding the 10 cardinal rules of being a woman of respect in our own eyes. These rules tell you that there is nothing wrong with asking for what is every woman’s deserved right.
1. Learn to do things by yourself:
Start with small things, like earning your living and learning to drive. Learn to live by yourself, and control your expenses. You will eventually learn the meaning of true freedom and respect yourself more than ever. It is only after you learn to respect yourself, that you teach those around you to do the same.
2. Women have equal say in matters concerning their lives:
Do you often feel unheard when big decision are made back at your home or at your workplace? Do you feel you could add value to the decision with your idea that would serve for the betterment of all the members? If yes, then this is a clear breach of privilege that you are facing. As a member of a unit, be it a family, or a corporate team, women have an equal say in the matters, especially if it is going to affect them in some way. Remember, that nobody has the right to make a decision on your behalf and that your opinion is as valuable as anybody else’s.
3. It is ok to go against the flow:
You may not have an interest in the “Rat Race”. You may seek career opportunities or lifestyle choices that are way different from the mainstream ones. Relax! It is all good, as long as you love what you do. It is not necessary that your interest match with the crowd. Just go with it. Do what you are good at, and do it with all your dedication. Lead the lifestyle you have always wished to. Being happy is the primary motive here. Whether it is about getting married late in your thirties or never getting married at all, your decision must never be influenced by the society.
4. You don’t have to mellow down to raise your man’s morale:
One man’s meat does not necessarily have to be the other man’s( read woman here) poison. In other words, you don’t have to compromise with your respect and make sacrifices to make your man feel superior. That is unhealthy. You may get accepted only for compromising your standard, but you will never be respected deep down. Always remember that love will always benefit you, it will let you grow.
5. Yes, education is very important:
Education is as important as food and water are for the ladies. I am being absolutely realistic when I say this because education builds self-esteem. The ability to read and write gives one the ability to make life choices and distinguish what is good and what isn’t for themselves. When you get an education, you get the tool for sustainable survival. You don’t have to depend on anyone for your well being and make decisions for you. If you come across ladies who haven’t received any kind of formal education, you must spread the awareness regarding the same.
6. Your career is as important as your man’s career:
In case you just got your pregnancy news, or a transfer notice, ladies! Take a moment and think, what your next step should be. Talk it out with your spouse, and work out, how will you both coordinate. Try and meet halfway. Do not quit your job. Remember how hard you worked to nurture your career before taking such a step.
7. Learn to say the “NO” :
If someone does cheesy talk with you without your consent, or a creep said or did gestures that outraged your modesty, stop them right there. Most of us, while growing up understood the difference between the comfortable and the uncomfortable touch or actions. Many of us never learnt how to stand up to them. Start reacting today. Once that you learn how to say “No” to such things, you will eventually draw the line of respect with most people around.
8. Stand Shoulder to Shoulder with the men in your family:
With empowerments, come equally crucial burdens to share. Women must share responsibilities at home, be it financial, or be at the forefront of doing certain chores that are only typical of a man. It is only by participating equally, that you can claim your share of respect in a rightful way. Do not be a damsel in distress, that’s a thing of past. Be an iron lady, who can be an anchor to her family in their difficult times.
9. You deserve as much as your male co-mates do:
As with many households across the world, the men in the house usually get the lion’s share in a deal. This also happens at the workplace in terms of salaries disbursed and incentives distributed. It does feel unfair, but you cannot let this happen every single time. This still happens in many parts of the world, especially in the rural backdrops of our society and few developing nations. As an empowered woman, you must stand up to this bias, and spread the word against this.
10. If they love you, they will never disrespect you:
Remember that there is no justification for a bad treatment. Too many women do not walk out of an abusive relationship thinking that this is the treatment they deserve. They are made to believe that their partners love them and so their abuses are completely rational. Do not be fooled. This will go on until it does not destroy you completely. You will gain nothing out of this, not even the love you think you are getting in return. It will have terrible long-lasting consequences on your morale and mental health. Do not fall into this trap.
All we can say that the world can be a better place when we truly embrace the essence of feminism. Women empowerment is all about equality of sexes and not about dominance and misuse of rights. Let’s pledge together to make our women empowered to contribute in progress of our country’s political, social and economic structure.