Women in India and other developing countries have been suppressed for ages so we have been running campaigns to empower women and now I feel they have been empowered to a certain extent. Women know how to cook, how to drive, how to clean laundry, how to run a business or do a 9 to 5 job, how to raise kids, how to handle finances and so on. Men, on the other hand, are raised like princes! Since early childhood, they are pampered into doing nothing and learning nothing about household chores. When at home, they just eat, sit and relax. It is considered ‘bad’ on a woman’s part to let a man take a glass of water by himself. So, men in India basically are brought up in a way that they can’t survive without a woman in their life- be it his wife or mom, or daughter, or sister or even a maid!
In this scenario, I strongly feel that it’s high time we start campaigns for Men Empowerment. To start men empowerment, we should begin by giving training of basic life skills to young boys from an early age. This will not only make them ‘self-dependent’ and self-reliant but will also make them more empathetic towards women who work hard in homes. After all cooking food, cleaning home, doing laundry, taking care of people around are just some simple life skills that everyone needs to know to survive in life without being dependent on anyone. Just as young girls are taught riding a bike, driving a car, studying hard to get a job in order to be ‘self-dependent’ boys too must be made self-dependent by making them experts in household chores. It will make boys feel empowered and being in real competition with girls!
The next thing in ‘Men Empowerment’ that we should be doing is giving men full freedom to express their emotions since their early childhood. Don’t tell young boys when they cry and shed tears ‘ Boys don’t cry!’ Why the hell do we say so?? Who has decided this for boys that they can’t show their emotions and feelings? Why can’t they be sensitive like girls? Why do we burden them with our orthodox expectations of not showing their vulnerability and cry bitterly like girls when they are hurt? It’s absolutely fine and in fact very necessary to encourage boys to show their emotions and cry their hearts out whenever they feel like it. It will give an outlet to their pent-up emotions and instead of being violent and aggressive which they often become due to suppressing their emotions, they will become more humane and caring.
One thing that we should stop doing is judging young boys if they like to play with dolls and soft toys, if they like pink color, if they want to play so-called girlish games, if they want to cry loudly or even if they want to dress up like girls. There’s nothing wrong if boys like subjects like music, and humanities more than science and technology. There’s seriously nothing wrong with all these. Let them be the human being they want to be instead of pressurizing them into being a ‘perfect boy’!
One more very important thing that we can do for empowering our men is giving them the same benefits and rights that we give women during parenthood journey. What I mean to say is, if you are giving women six months maternity leave when they become a mother you should also give the same number of months leave to men when they become a father. It will let men not only enjoy time with their new-born baby but also take care of it in case a woman wants to go back to work. Let them be a good father by allowing them plenty of time with their kid and wife.
Last but not least, don’t mock at men who love doing household chores or taking care of kids. Don’t ridicule a man when he prefers to be a stay-at-home-dad while letting his wife work. Don’t judge them when they like to spend time on things like painting, cooking, singing etc instead of being busy in the rat race to earn maximum possible money.
I would like to conclude by saying only one thing and that is, let every individual whether a man or a woman or a trans, live life the way they want to instead of pressurizing them into being something or someone else. Life is precious; let everyone live it, enjoy it and celebrate it. We are doing our bit to empower women and now it’s time to empower men too!