Women are equal contributors in Nation building: Geeta Gunde

Women in India consists 49 per cent vote bank. Despite of this crucial segment of the society which can put major impact on current political scenario, women’s issues have remained unheard. Although female participation in public life is increasing and laws protection women against violence have been amended, India still has a long way to go to create safe environment for women where they can prosper in their own ways. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, RSS’s Akhil Bharatiya Mahila Samanvaya Pramukh and senior women activist Geeta Gunde throws light on various aspects of women empowerment in an exclusive interview with News Bharati.
                                     Geetha Gunde AB Mahila Samvanya Pramuk on the right
Priyanka Pugaokar
NB: The 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape case and then series of sexual violence exposed venerability of women in the country. Do you think our society is compromising with women’s dignity?
Geeta Gunde: Nirbhaya case is landmark case in India. Entire nation condemned this heinous act. Both men and women overwhelmingly stormed on streets demanding stern punishment for culprits. That means there is section of the society who is concern for dignity of women. Some men were indulged in rapes but it does not mean that all men are of same character. All men are not criminals. They do concern for women’s safety. After Nirbhaya case, men took various initiatives for women’s safety.
Though crimes against women have increased in recent years, but it cannot be concluded that society does not respect women.
NB: How you analyze current scenario of crimes against women in India?
Geeta Gunde: The violence against women has increased in recent years. But crimes reported have also increased subsequently. When I was actively involved in students’ activism, I used to see that women were hesitant to speak and lodge a complaint in police station. In many incidents we fought for justice of women and they retreated later. But now the situation has changed. Women are coming out and raising voice for justice. May be because of that there is sudden upswing in crimes against women.
The second thing which I want to point out here is the gang rapes and rapes on minor girls have increased in few years. Many people ask me that why Nirbhaya case was given so much hype? I explain them that Nirbhaya gang rape happened in a running bus. It was overall failure of our law and order machinery in providing security to women. Second point which is probably has missed out is after Nirbhaya case, in some rape cases, culprits admitted that they took inspiration from December 16 Delhi gang rape. When I discuss this issue with criminologists even they say that they yet to find reasons why men indulge in such brutal acts. It may be their perversity that leads them to do such heinous acts. When a man becomes wicked it is enough for him that the person in front of him is female. And such incidents which are hammered on them 24/7 by the news channels and news papers, also sometimes become instrumental to instigate them to do such crimes. But again, all men are not like that. All saw TV reports of Nirbhaya gang rape but why some of them took negative inspiration from it? That means they are of sadist mentality.

NB: Women’s portrayal in advertisements is the subject of much public criticism. Women are moreover projected as sex symbol. Do you thing commercials projecting women in negative sense should be banned?
Geeta Gunde: The purpose of an advertisement is to sale the product. They know psychology of the consumer. Advertisements do affect the overall view of the society about women. But again, it depends on the perspective which varies from person to person. Women projected as sex symbol in advertisements is to promote certain products. Women are simply used as desire boosters. Even in advertisements of fairness products, it is shown that a girl is not selected in interview because she is not fair. Such wrong propaganda attacking women’s dignity and demoralize them should be banned. In case of fairness products advertisement, after continuous complaints and protests, the companies were compelled to modify their claims. Now they say their creams ‘help’ to make skin fair. Earlier they bluntly claimed their creams make skin fair.
One should understand that there is no substitute for talent. Though outer looks important in certain conditions, talent reflects in personality. My point is though all advertisements do not portray women in negative sense, advertisement agencies should desists themselves from false propaganda.
NB: The exploitation of women begins from the home itself. Girl child is often subjected to discrimination on the part of the parents. What efforts should be taken to sensitize families against gender bias?
Geeta Gunde: It is saying that woman is enemy of woman. When I analyze it with my perspective, I find that he is man behind women who is enemy of woman. In our society families prefer boys over girls. Because the conditioning of our society is in such a way that having boy is considered as pride or social status. In most of the cases, women are brainwashed with this wrong concept or compelled to prefer boy. In many cases, woman herself abort girl child. But we need to understand that it is a family pressure coming mostly by male members who force women to do so. But society simply overlooks this fact. Therefore, there is need of awareness in society.
NB: Women’s Reservation Bill has not been passed by the government. How do you analyze this situation?
Geeta Gunde: When women are surrounded, men’s activities get restricted automatically. Men do not like women surpass them. They are equally jealous. They do gossip. If man gets promoted, then his male colleagues feel jealous. But if woman employee gets promotion, then her male colleagues feel more jealous and raise doubts on her promotion, sometimes on her character as well. I have experienced this reality in my 12 years career in Glaxo as an executive officer. In case of Women’s Reservation Bill, male politicians fear that if women sit next to them, they will go in minority. It is a tendency of politicians to restrict women because they know women politicians have proved themselves a better administrator.
NB: After Nirbhaya gang rape case, some politicians raised questions on women’s clothing and behavior. They accused that women’s bold attitude is responsible for rapes. Do you thing woman’s way to carry herself is responsible for rapes?
Geeta Gunde: What is a definition of boldness? Why girls want to become bold? We see in tribal areas women wear tiny cloths as per their traditions. But rapes do not happen in tribes. However, same law is not applicable in cities. The problem lies in blind imitation of western culture.
While adopting western life style we simply forget to adopt their etiquettes. Girls should understand that boldness or modernism is not in only the wearing. It is in their impressions and attitude. Boldness is in carrying yourself with dignity. Also I strongly feel that covering girls from head to top won’t stop rapes. Beside girls also should apply common sense in dressing style.

NB: Rashtra Sevika Samiti has been undertaking various initiatives in women empowerment. How you address women’s issues?
Geeta Gunde: Rashtra Sevika Samiti is an initiative of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). RSS always considered equal participation of women in nation building. Rashtra Sevika Samiti organizes various events for women’s awareness such as self defence trainings, seminars, games. Rashtra Sevika Samiti aims to empower women at all stages of the society and get them equal opportunity. Through our workshops and seminars we inculcate the sense of national interiority among them.

Geeta Gunde is chief of Rashtra Mahila Samanvaya. Rashtriya Mahila Samanvay is an initiative by the RSS. It is a network of women working in various fields. The aim of the program is to bring all women having one ideology on a platform and address women centric issues. Geeta Gunde is connected with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad since last 22 years. After 12 years job Glaxo Company as an executive officer, Geeta Gunde became full time activist of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. She was the national vice president of ABVP. As a senior ABVP office bearer, Geeta Gunde traveled through various parts of the country. She also led various student agitations. She organizes orientation programs for girls.


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