Women in Naga society: Are Naga women empowered?

Women in Naga society: Are Naga women empowered?

Although the customary laws are much respected and revered among the society, certain norms that are being followed have been causing difficulty in the growth of not just the society but also the individuals as well. Having to do away with such laws would not seem to cause any trouble in the laws.  For instance, as Vivi Aye, a teacher says, "Restricting women from entering or even participating in a village council meeting is disrespectful to the women. Such rules should be removed because we are living in the 21st Century and equality of both genders should be respected."

The women of the Naga society do exercise political rights, and by rights, it means casting a vote. But rarely has there been a time when one will find a woman in the constituency. The fact that a woman is on top of the field than a man is not seen as an everyday affair. If only women were encouraged and supported by the men in the independent decisions they make without having to raise eyebrows and be skeptical about it then the empowerment of women would not be such a problem. The gender bias has been widely debated with no real solution except emphasizing on the efforts in targeting the sources of violence and ill-will towards women.

"My dad tells me to learn how to cook and wash and look after the house as it is a woman's job, but I have never experienced discrimination because I am a girl. I get the same treatment as my brother. I do not understand why it is so important to fight for our rights when we already have it," said a student who did not wished to be named.

Yes, the younger women apparently seem to have equal opportunities as men which make them less aware of the fact about the older women fighting for their rights.  But no matter the generation gap, when all seem to look like equality, it is hard to realize that the final and important decisions are always made by men. Thus unaware of the chains binding them, they fail to take up the role of being the one to make the decisions. Patriarchal mentality have been instilled before anyone realizes it and words with gender discrimination are often used however trivial it may sound in almost all Naga families, that a demarcation between the genders is already set and is expected of from them as the children grow up. It has become a practice going on for years that some actually enjoy being grounded of their moral rights and continue with the age-old practices.

Women now enjoy a more respectable position than before thanks to the influence of education and values like women rights, etc. Most problems which have handicapped the position of women for years are done away with, freeing them from the traditional laws. But the answer to the question "Are Naga women empowered?" still remains unanswered.

(Feature Image:www.thebetterindia.com)

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