“Today there is no field where the women have not shown their worth. From holding highest public office in bureaucracy to holding highest political position, the women have shouldered all kinds of responsibilities with grand success. A lot of change has taken place, in their position in this man dominated society. With this gradual transition from household life to working women, the sufferings of women have increased manifold.”
During ancient days women have been adored and worshipped as goddesses. Our country itself is called ‘Mother Land’ in utter contrast to the fatherland of the West. In the ancient period, several women occupied distinguished positions in society and played a very important role. Maitreyi, Lilawati, Gargi, Katyayani, are some of the unforgettable names which can neither wither nor become absolute. The women have been adored since time immemorial as virtues incarnate. Saraswati is called the `Goddess of learning’; Parvati, the Goddess of Chastity; Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth; Durga Kali, the goddess of Power and Energy. Manu, the great scholar said, “Where women are worshipped there the deities are pleased”. The women were the center and foundation of the social and cultural life of the family. The home was the women’s sphere of activity. ‘Men make houses and women make homes’ is the traditional belief. The duties of the woman were just contained to bring up the children, and caring for every family member with her loving and amiable, characteristics which she naturally owes. It was the traditional faith that man is for the field and woman for the home.
With the political emancipation of India, the women of free India ushered into a new role. Today the women enjoy equality of status, equality of opportunity with men. She became financially independent and economically sound, she became the major decision-maker, she became the policymaker in various new fields. She ventured into the outer field, but the traditional views about her role as homemaker, about her so-called sacred duties of other, Sister, Wife, are still kept on demanding on her. The women are divided between their official work and home duties. Her duties start from early in the morning with many responsibilities on her shoulder before going to office, like preparing breakfast, lunch, getting kids ready for school etc. During office hours she has to work equally or say more sincerely than her male counterparts. She has to fulfill her duties at home even after office homes. Her pathetic position, working at home as well as at the office, is not admired, even by her husband or mother-in-law, or father-in-law. The support and cooperation if extended by her husband in household work are at his sole desertion. Husband is free to make excuses of overburdened work, the pressure of official exigencies, but the wife is expected to be found fresh and amiable all the time. The men consider the household work as the sole responsibility of the women. He considers working at home below his dignity and if he does something it is done as per his wish and convenience.
The working atmosphere in the offices, particularly, for the women is also not so congenial. Most of the male counterparts treat the woman as an easy scapegoat for fulfilling their sexual desires. The incident of intentional touching, double meaning dialogues, unwarranted comments, piercing in her private affairs is some of the common examples which create a lot of irritation and make the women unnecessarily defensive.The incidents of one sider sexual advancement by the boss, staring at her body parts, alluring her with the quick promotion in return, are generally to be faced by a working woman. With women entering into new fields, she becomes more vulnerable to the dangers like eve-teasing, sexual advancement, transfers, etc. The women can only explain to have frights and hardships experienced by her while working in an office.
In the present male-dominated, patriarchal society, people find it difficult to accept women as an independent personality. In addition to these hardships, the women are bound to play the traditional role of childbearing and child-rearing. She can’t desist from her role as a mother and as a wife. So while performing these natural roles, sometimes she had to be out of the office for a long period which causes adverse effects on her career, though not openly but in reality. One more peculiar problem, a woman faces while keeping the children with her, in case when her husband is transferred out of town, and she is unable to shift being a working woman, as the children prefer to stay with mother. Now she has to play the role of both the parents and her duties are tripled.
The problems of a career woman are endless and peculiar and differ from place to place, office to office, person to person. In this fast-changing world, particularly the role being accepted and played by the women, the analysis is but necessary to find a suitable balance in order to save the career women from their ever-increasing hardships.
It has become irrelevant to talk that the traditional role played by the women, was a better course. The woman has her own personality, more confident, financially independent, accepting any kind of challenge, can no longer remain under the illogical dominance of man, but at the same time, she suffers a lot mentally and physically divided between home and office.
The situation demands effective measures to protect the working women in her official environment from the lust and greed of male bosses and colleagues. There is an urgent need to make new amendments to provide extra-legal teeth to 1PC Section 292 (Sale of obscene books), Section 293 (Sale of obscene objects to young), Section 294 (obscene acts and songs), and to the indecent representation of women (Prohibition) Act 1986 and other laws. Educational serials and programme must be launched to educate society through audio and visual media so that the women could feel safe in their office and live peacefully with dignity. Unless man’s attitude towards woman changes any kind of law, however, strict and stringent may be, cannot change the conditions of working women in our society.
Our society had been a male-dominated society, the changes are gradually being digested. With the necessity of time absence of joint families, the financial independence of women are making the male absorb the change slowly but gradually. The actions initiated by the government against the eve-teasing, sexual harassment of working women, have also brought a lot of favourable change in the life of working women. In spite of all the hardships being faced by the working women, it must be noted that women have fought a great battle and are still fighting at their own against the fright and hardships faced by them and got remarkable success in every field of life.