With the news of another TV actress committed suicide yesterday, I have felt the need to discuss further on women's issues on this platform today - The last day of the 16 days of activism against Gender based violence (Nov 25-Dec 10) We have been able to achieve tremendous progress in terms of human development. However, when considering gender-based disparities these achievements in human development are yet to be equally enjoyed by both men and women in our country. Women lag behind men considerably both in terms of participation in the labour market and unemployment. Lack of women’s participation in the labour market has affected industries that largely rely on female labour. Social and cultural perceptions about women’s roles in society, together with stigmas associated with women in certain industries have been the key barriers to increasing women’s participation in the labour market and employment. A high prevalence of gender-based disparities in wages and salaries also demotivates and prevents young women from seeking employment. Let's analyse the urban cases alone: We seem to be enjoying Gender equality than those living in the village. But we are wrong. We have our own gender inequalities to handle. Women receive almost equal opportunity as men for education, and they prove it with success in their chosen field of studies. But when it comes to employment opportunities, they are far behind than men in the managerial or decision making professions. It is always safe for a woman to go with the flow; that is to follow what their ancestors did (listen to elders, listen to their family, listen to their spouse and listen to their children when it comes to decisions about themselves). The ones who rebel against this social norm are identified as black sheep, home breakers, and so many other labels only to assassinate their characters, so that their voices can be suppressed. Unfortunately, the fellow women play foul and deeply involve in attacking the other woman who manages to find ways to climb up. There are some unwritten rules, that everyone seem to be ok with it. A woman's career/profession is always considered optional. It is OK to be a financial dependent for a life time. It is OK to live as a second class citizen forever. She is free to work as long as the family could handle her absence. She needs to compensate at home and at various fronts so that her absence during her time away from home is not felt by others. Eg: if she wants to go to work, she needs to wake up early, cook breakfast and dinner, make sure the kids are safe at a day care, and elders received the care at home as required. She needs to speed up her schedules in the evenings, so that she could cook, clean, teach the kids, and wind up everything at home within 3-4 hrs span during evenings. Many women work like machines by loosing out on their personal time and there is no gurantee that they have the power to make decisions in the family/financial matters despite of their hard work. A woman has no luxury like a man to just go to work and concentrate on work and bring work pressure to home and live with that. Understandably, many women chose to stay at home or stay happy with their simple jobs as long as they don't have pressing financial needs. No one wants to suffer 2X full time jobs (both at home and office with little to no help) and face criticism at both front. On the other hand, the family, the neighbor, the society and every X, Y and Z decides on what a women's profession should be, and how long she should work etc? EG: If a woman choses a career as per her passion, her family will object it, the society will object it and she will have to prove each of them wrong by working hard and doing successful in her career. Once she is established, there comes her life partner. He will like her for who she is, approaches to her and proposes to her for that matter. But the moment she becomes his wife, he will expect her to be different. He will expect her to leave her career and passion to be his wife. And the whole society will think he is right. So, saying NO to him will only project this woman wrongly. Those who are really passionate about their career, will be ready to face the criticisms or whatever. But they are very few, and those few people are now giving up like how these TV actresses and others committed suicide. Let's think about it...... 1) There are pressing root causes that causes gender based inequalities 2) There are avenues where every family/society and business models could practice gender responsive measures. There are ways to educate and implement those measures in our day to day life 3) But every one face challenge the moment he/she chose to step out of the box. Eg: A man can chose to cook alternatively to support his busy working wife. But what he faces from the society/family decides the length of his support 4) However, there are many success stories too. Women and men jump out of their Gender boxes, and live according to what they believe in. They are happy. They are accepted eventually. Why can't their voices be heard and their stories be told.