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          Volume 11 |Issue 10| March 09, 2012 |


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Hey you, Menkind

Aasha Mehreen Amin

It is a day after International Women's Day. Yesterday the TV channels, newspapers, their supplementary publications, corporations, hotels, restaurants and even clothes boutiques have made a big fuss of lauding the achievements of women and how far we have come. We have been bombarded with fanfare, some of us have been given flowers and roses.

Its was all so wonderful to be praised and appreciated, treated with such love and respect. But the day after it is business as usual. Cinderella's carriage becomes a pumpkin and her horses, mere rats.


Well ladies, the party's over. Now you can go back to being unappreciated, underpaid and overworked. You can go back to the factory or office, work twelve hours, come back and sure enough there will be enough things to do to carry you till midnight. You can slog all day at home and then get a frown or worse, for missing a spot. Soon it will be dawn again and back on the hectic treadmill you will be, running and scurrying, tidying and cooking, delivering and caring, ironing and washing, filing and sorting, screaming and shouting, to get things done.

Why on earth are you even mentioning this, say ninety percent of half the population. This is your job, the reason why you exist. You are paid less because you are worth - less. You are not given much respect because your brains are smaller, you think only with your heart, never with your head. You are physically weak, a burden most of your childhood and adolescence, only slightly useful in adulthood. Oh yes, you have been given the ability to give birth, so be grateful and raise the kids without complaint, cook and clean and most of all, please.

You need a man to be a complete woman, they say. You are frail and delicate and quite clueless. You can't know about heavy things like mathematics and science, politics and sports, heaven forbid. Go back to your baubles and shoes and glittery saris, and of course, your chores.

Look pretty, not smart, say yes, don't argue. Be good wives, mothers and daughters-in-law. Be educated to bring honour to the family-in-law, not to go out and get a job. In case you do (they say grudgingly) make sure you share your earnings with us and don't expect any extra favours, you chose to work remember?

You listen with a smile of quiet resignation, suppressed bitterness. Carry on darlings as long as you want, you say. Delude yourselves a little longer.

The cracks in the walls are getting deeper. Soon they will break apart and crumble - like old, dry bread. There are rumblings of a storm about to burst. The clouds are gathering ominously above your swollen head. You cannot tell this lie much longer.

Our time will come, you can count on it. Remember how you taught us to be patient? We will come out of the cages you have built for us - the golden ones and the rusted. We will take what is rightfully ours and give to you only what you deserve.

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