Yesterday during a small gathering among our friends, the subject of gender issues was raised. We also discussed the catchwords of – INGOs and NGOs associated with these issues, because for them gender problems make money. By establishing an I/NGO it gives employment to the organisers, consultants and advisors, but rarely appears to benefit the target groups. In Nepal it has become a prestige and a fashion to establish an I/NGO. During the discussion our English friend stated a proverb to try …
…and demonstrate the subtleties of the situation. “What is good for the goose is good for the gander.” I quite liked this, as the essence of it is not only in equality but also in aspirations or desires. A female may also like what a male likes, or a female may want to do the same thing as a male feels like doing. But in Nepal we often have disparities or biases in these matters.
I have personally observed the disparities in our society especially in our traditional female ways of thinking that appear to make them their own worst enemies. When a chid is born, people ask the parent “is it a son or daughter”? If it is a son, the mother says Chhora (son) in a loud voice almost roaring in her pride. The scenario changes if there is the birth of a girl child. She meekly says Chhori (daughter) in a very low-key manner. The Mother is thus sowing the first seeds of disparity (discrimination) and from then on starts germinating the crops of differentiation.
It is not the fault of that mother or father. The tradition is such that in many households even the food provided after the birth of a girl child and a boy differs. For general nourishment in Nepal meat is regarded as a good food source, it is recommended that a mother needs such nourishing food at this time. In some of our households the mother is denied meat if she gives birth to a girl child. Maybe this tradition has some practicalities but it sounds like a discriminating act to me. We talk in big terms about gender issues, equality and so on and we have plenty of organizations and institutions supposed to be working for women’s causes. Alas, as we say, charity begins at home and this type of traditional thinking and way of life is often supported and implemented in our own homes, especially by our grandmothers, aunts and senior lady neighbours. By following these acts women instead of helping their own gender, become spontaneously anti-female.
The funny part of this whole scenario is very simple. We ourselves practice and support such traditions, customs and way of life and yet we also talk about equality. I sometimes wonder what would happen in this world if the population became only men-folk. A catastrophe would occur and havoc created. Men usually crave for women, the union, harmony and presence of negative and positive forces is an utmost necessary for creation. When we all understand the importance of this simple fact, then we should be following the saying accordingly. “What is good for the goose is good for the gander”. Our problem is obvious, we are very interesting creatures, we invent a problem and then we crave for the solutions. We plant the seed first, and when it sprouts all over then we worry. The Seeds of Disparity have been liberally sprinkled throughout Nepal and they will definitely crop-up. It is up to the women in the households to start addressing this gender issue at home, they owe it to their daughters to stop this female supported gender inequality.