Patriarchy affects all
My Colleague, My Inspiration!
Ms. Priyanka asserted that privacy of men also needs to be respected. Men also may feel awkward when women pass by the site where men are bathing. Although many do not give it a thought but many women feel uncomfortable too.
The lady in picture is Ms. Priyanka who works with me in IDIPT-HP project. The incident described below has had a deep impact on me – “Patriarchy affects all”.
As one of the component of the project we are engaged in the rejuvenation of an existing temple at Markandey which includes improvement of bathing areas for the devotees. There is a natural water spring which is believed to have healing properties and many devotees bathe in it as part of the ritual.
The bathing area for women is a closed area and there was a general consensus among all stakeholders to improve the existing set up and plan the same with proper ventilation. The area where men bathe is an open set up. During the stakeholder site visit the general consensus was to improve the existing flooring plan of the bathing area for men. However Ms. Priyanka asserted that privacy of men also needs to be respected. Men also may feel awkward when women pass by the site where men are bathing. Although many do not give it a thought but many women feel uncomfortable too. This visit taught me a great lesson that gender equality discussions are often centred around the women and never takes into account holistic range of stakeholders most importantly – the men. In order to achieve gender equality, we need to address challenges faced by both sides. While most gender inequalities handicap women, there are critical issues which needs to be addressed that primarily affect men. From a wider perspective, it is not only fair, but also important that men are engaged in the journey of achieving gender equality. We need to involve more men in the creation of a more equal society by raising awareness about their role and demonstrating how achieving the same will benefit the world.