Yes, I know that my header is provocative and may offend some of my Indian readers. That is not my intention; I am most supportive of the changes that this huge nation has made over the last decade or so. India is a huge economy with a growing middle-class. It is this group that will force changes that are so necessary in India.
Every country needs to look at the position of women in society and New Zealand too, has a way to go before women are represented at all levels of society and the economy. Brutal; rapes happen here too but action is swift when charges are laid. Having said that, the ‘bubble of silence’ exists here too; whereby many women to not go to the police.
The rape that has made the news of the world in India and the subsequent riots brings to light the plight of many women. A combination of corruption, inaction and old views makes the situation for many women one that this proud nation needs to address. That so many men feature in then protests does signal a ray of hope. Politicians will of course align themselves with these protesters in the hope that their own inaction will be lade less of.
I doubt that the protestors will go away this time. Their anger highlights the position of women and girls and will spread to the villages where no doubt the situation is even worse. Out of this new movement, many strong women will emerge, replicating the success of previous famous Indian women.
It is easy to say that women in neighbouring countries suffer an even worse plight, but now that the flame of indignation has been lit, Indian women are on a march, possibly looking to their iconic Gandhi; the leader who knew how to bring about change. India’s neighbours and other countries around the world will be taking note of events in India, but the struggle for women’s rights; to be safe, to be educated and to be represented fairly in the political institutions should be the aim of this new movement.
The women of India are a massively undervalued economic and social grouping. Their march has barely begun. Old attitudes are and will continue to be challenged, in increasingly strident forms. Such a move is long overdue; free from socio-religious tradition. Of course we in other countries can but watch from the sideliners, as it is Indians who will force their own changes. I cannot help but wish them strength and courage; something that Indians have never lacked.