Since 1997, I have performed duties in various elections such as municipal corporation, gram panchayat, University senate, legislative assembly and Lok Sabha. Initially, the gender sense was not matured enough to perceive patriarchal privileges and prerogatives in social-cultural structures. After literary study of feminist theories and its application in literature and life, i have started believing and without a whiff of doubt that 'patriarchy is a reality' - it does plays vital role in constructing male-female identities.
Every now and then, popular manifestation of such dichotomy is perceived in advertisements, films, tele-serials, social debates and academic discourses. The economical disparity also remain a kind of reality, even in the developed Western world. Whether she is a farm laborer or MD/CEO of MNCs or film star or sports personality, the salaries/remunerations/perks/contract-money is never 'equal' to the male counterpart. There is exception to this in Government sector. Especially, in India, take any Government job, you will not find discrepancy in salaries given to male or female of similar rank and position. In addition, women are given tax relaxation (even if her husband or other family member is tax payer). I have no problem with tax relaxation offered to women in India. It is helps in economic emancipation. But what i cannot understand is why women do not ask for equal work opportunity during elections in India? I have never come across any organization fighting for the rights of women, demanding equal distribution of duties also for women of equal rank and position. Please draw my attention if there are any such demands made by women.
Earlies, when my patriarchal sense was not developed, i thought women are fair sex, they cannot do hard work, they should not be thrust into hardship, she is a damsel in distress - and man is supposed to do all macho-work, all hardships, field work etc. Now, i read all these as social construction of identities. So, we should abstain from such socio-cultural construction of identities. A fair and square opportunities should be given to one and all, irrespective of their gender when any Government organization is given responsibilities or duties to the workforce.
During all the elections, I have experienced that the so - called tough jobs of Zonal officer or Presiding officer are 'all-male' tasks. Rarely, any woman is offered these 'tough' duties. I do not think that these are really 'tough' tasks that women cannot do it. These 'revolver ranis' can do it. There is no need to wait for women NGOs cry foul.
Then, why is Election Commission of India (ECI) not fair enough in distribution of duties? Why does ECI believe in Victorian dichotomy?
See these photographs of a few trainings for the staff members for Lok Sabha 2014. You will rarely notice a single woman in these images.
* Why should we deny women their rights and responsibility to perform pious duty in this festival of Democracy?
The largest democracy of the world is celebrating the festival. The women of India should not be denied their rights and responsibility to perform duties in Election.
* How long should we consider it as the privilege and prerogative of Man?
Let women be the part of democracy!
These are the comments posted on FaceBook. Resharing to keep it for readers,as on FB, things get drowned in the wave of time.