- Date : 29/01/2018
- Read: 4 mins
This new year, why not dream of a year where she gets an equal pay and feels safe?
I clapped when Lok Sabha passed the bill to criminalise Triple Talaq and when Manushi Chillar was crowned Miss World. On the other hand, I felt sad every time I read a report on the increase in cases of violence against women.
Last year was filled with a lot of defining moments for Indian women – some good and some bad. While a lot of you are probably done making your new year resolutions, I can’t help but look at the bigger picture – what would be an Indian woman’s ideal 2018?
So, here I am, to give you a peek into how would my dream 2018 look like:
1. Sanitary Napkins would be tax-free
Menstruation is not a choice. Therefore, sanitary napkins are every woman’s basic right. However, only 12% women in India use sanitary napkins. While some of us think sanitary napkins are not good for our health, most of us can’t afford them. On top of that, the government is levying 12% tax on sanitary napkins while bindi, sindoor and kajal are exempted from tax.
If we don’t use sanitary napkins and maintain our menstrual health, it puts us at the risk of health problems like – skin infections, Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), vaginal infection, cervical cancer etc. No wonder, cervical cancer forms 23% of all cancers that affect Indian women.
Did you know that in developed countries, sanitary napkins and tampons fall under the category of necessary health and hygiene items? In India, sanitary napkins fall under “miscellaneous” along with items like pencils, towels and crayons.
In my dream 2018, sanitary napkins would be tax-free. No woman will have to bear the consequences of poor menstrual health.
2. Women would receive an equal pay
In our country, men earn 67% more than women.Moreover, you and I live longer than men and have specific health issues (read maternity health, cervical cancer etc.) which means it is crucial we have a dependable life insurance and health insurance plan. It’s a miracle that we manage to achieve the feat of buying insurance plans on the small pay that we get.
This problem exists not only for the average woman but also for those who are CEOs, who sit on the boards of well-known companies, and celebrities. Many famous women - right from Indra Nooyi to Priyanka Chopra - have expressed their opinion on the gender pay gap. All of them asked the same question – if I work as much and as well as men, why don’t I get paid as much as they do?
In my dream 2018, women would receive equal pay so that they can maintain their financial health.
3. Women would live in a safer environment
Incidences of crimes against women, including cruelty by the husband, assault, kidnapping and abduction, rose by 2.9% in 2016. Moreover, there were a total of 38,947 rapes in 2016, compared to 34,651 in 2015.And there’s a chance that this isn’t the real situation. It might be worse as a lot of women don’t report the crime due to the social stigma attached to it.
While precautionary measures like tight security, pick up and drop services for all the female employees, a fast track court to try all these cases etc. can help reduce the incidences of crimes but it can’t solve the problem unless there’s a change in people’s mindset.
In my dream 2018, women would walk with their head held high and no fear.
4. Women would have better facilities at their workplaces
Women comprised about 46% of the total number of students enrolled higher education in India, says the All India Survey on Higher Education (2015-16). Moreover, nearly four in every ten candidates enrolled for an MBA program in 2015-16 were women.
While these numbers are encouraging, in case of women, higher education doesn’t always translate into participation in the workforce. Women are forced to put their careers on hold due to reasons like the responsibility of children and family, job pressure, family pressure etc. While some organisations have started providing facilities specifically for women like a daycare facility, maternity leave, health insurance plans, there’s still a long way to go.
In my dream 2018, women would have better facilities at work and would be able to give more priority to their careers.
People say if you wish to see to your dreams come true, it’s important to dream first. I know that my dream 2018 won’t come true in a fortnight. But if you and I work together towards, it won’t seem so impossible anymore.