Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Present real-life women icons in media, says Mrinal Pande

Gautami Srivastava/ New Delhi

Eminent journalist delves into issues related to gender at a workshop for working mediapersons

Although many women have come through in flying colours in their respective fields and are heading many business and other financial enterprises, they may not inspire a woman in a village who has to fight with a thousand battles at different levels.
"Most of the icons presented by media belong to middle and upper middle class women. They may feel good at their achievements, but it is difficult for a village woman to relate with them. Therefore, it is very important that we should choose real-life women icons. They need not be women who conquered business bastions but could be women who achieved small but significant successes fighting many odds. Such Success stories will inspire other women also," said Mrinal Pande, while delivering keynote address at a workshop on Gender and Media.
The workshop was organized jointly by Population First and India Foundation for Rural Development Studies. Working journalists drawn from six north Indian states participated in the workshop.
The society has willfully restricted the mobility of the woman.
"Give her mobility and see the difference. It is not that she can't do many things. The man takes many comforts as a matter of right and he expects woman to provide them without failure. Many times women cannot even cash in on the opportunities as circumstances fail them," she added.
Discrimination against women is not a new thing; it is deeply rooted in the society and its evolution. "When a man wants to go anywhere, he steps out of the house leaving all the work to the women in the household. But if a woman has to go to attend a meeting or function, she has to take care of hundreds of things. Woman's problems were treated lightly even within homes," said the eminent journalist.
Pande related her experience as the first woman editor in a male-dominated newspaper. "There were not enough facilities for women."
While many innovations have come about in fields men deal with, there has been none in areas where women played major role. "The woman has been struggling with the same cooking hardware for generations. There has been no improvement," said Pande.
Another factor which sometimes acts as an inhibitor of a woman's growth is Maternity. It's a fact that most productive years of a woman are her reproductive years. This drains out a lot of inner energy from a woman while man excels in developing his capabilities with family support. We cannot ignore the importance of maternity as well. So the solution lies in creating a supportive environment for a woman in the society and at her work place so that she doesn't lag behind in the race. Women are need to be respected by the society as they are playing an important role in the nurturing a child by keeping her personal growth at stake.
Maternal mortality is another challenge being faced by the Indian society. It has become a very common phenomenon as pregnant women in rural areas get registered at a Primary Health Centre (PHC) near their house where they live with their husband. But as the time of delivery approaches, they usually go to their maternal place and the PHC doesn't get any information about this change of place. Adding to this, PHC near their maternal place doesn't agree to take the responsibility of the pregnant woman, leading to high rate of maternal mortality. It is very important to build a system where a complete record of pregnancy is kept and can be transferred to another PHC, in case of any migration. Consistent monitoring of the pregnant woman is essential throughout her pregnancy and even after the birth of child.

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