28 Jun The Big Debate – ‘Has the 21st century been fair to all genders?’
“Don’t ever diminish the power of words. Words move hearts and hearts move limbs.”
– Hamza Yusuf
I’m Arnav and I am a grade 11 IB DP student of Sharanya Narayani International School (SNIS), one of the best boarding schools in Bangalore offering IB and Cambridge curricula.
Speech is not only unique to human beings, but it is what makes us unique: it provides a mechanism for connecting body and soul and translating intelligence and spirituality into physical reality. The future world we dream of must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. At SNIS, we have regular healthy debates on various burning topics. It helps us develop key skills like critical thinking and presentation skills. It uncloaks and helps us demonstrate our latent talents and encourages us to think rationally and have a free thought process. The students, through debates, demonstrate rational thinking, citizenship, manners, organization of thoughts, and persuasion with utmost conviction.
For one such debate, I had to prepare a speech for a very contemporary and interesting topic ‘Has the 21st century been fair to all genders?’
While writing down our points for the speech, a phenomenon I noticed, was the repeated usage of patriarchal terms before matriarchal ones. We constantly wrote men and women, not women and men. I felt it was paramount to address it as it helps me show you that patriarchal influence has taken each one of us by our necks and has infiltrated the deepest crevices of our fickle minds.
This infiltration happens because we are nurtured that way from birth through our surroundings. Over millennia, men have resumed control over every aspect of living and have tried to suppress other genders from reaching equality. The 21st century is invariably the same.
In fact, the 21st century has brought along a different set of inequalities. Women who have been subject to centuries of abuse have now started using their voices unfairly to threaten males with false accusations to get what they want, which usually leads to false convictions and the destruction of innocent lives. In India, 53% of last year’s rape accusations were falsified according to the Delhi High Commission. Rather than moving towards equality, we seem to be straying farther away from it.
Despite many who think that the 21st century is getting there, in terms of gender equality, a notable share thinks men should have more right to a job than women when jobs are fewer. This is despite the fact that women have proved to be better web-thinkers and critical analysers.
Politics still sees huge gender discrimination, as you may realize India has only had 1 female prime minister in our 74 years of independence, while first-world countries like Italy and USA are yet to conceive a female head of state.
We live in a world where trans genders live in fear. We have witnessed 50% of trans genders India attempting suicide before the age of 20, as a result of the deplorable conditions they live in.
There is a plethora of topics yet to be touched upon such as the abhorrent discrimination in religion, but I’m afraid it’s too big and too sensitive a topic to get into. Therefore, I would like to conclude that today’s battle has not been between red and green, but between what is fair and what is not. I would implore everyone here to ponder upon today’s proceedings and despite my stance, I truly believe that we should continue to strive towards equality, even though we are miles away because just one step today can become a light year tomorrow.
By Arnav Timmapur