Although women may legally have equal rights as men in most countries today, it will be a long time before they are truly considered equals. In a patriarchal society like ours, women equality and respect must not only be taught to the men of the country, but also the women who do not consider themselves to be equal to their partners. When women are no longer oppressed, or treated as the weaker sex, and most importantly, respected, a true shift will occur. This will be the point when issues like rape, female foeticide, dowry, and domestic violence will cease to exist. However, changing the mentality of the masses is much easier said than done. Nevertheless, until such a shift has occurred, we are grateful for any safety measures taken.
Panic Button on Handsets – Modi
PM Narendra Modi has requested mobile phone manufacturers to add a panic button to all handsets sold in the country. Administration believes that it would be nearly impossible to access an emergency app in a rush, and the lack of a proper internet connection could be life-threatening in the case. Instead, they would configure one of the existing buttons on a phone to do this. The button would require a long press or a double press, to make it child-proof and prevent accidental activation. The action will send an SMS to a set of numbers along with location information.
What began as an idea to curb accident rates in the city, might also consequently be a measure for women’s safety. PM Narendra Modi recently said on air that the government would soon implement national road safety policy. Part of this process would be lighting up some of the dark patches using futuristic luminous lighting. This would cost about 15-20 percent more than regular highways, but would eliminate the need of street lights. The streets would light up on their own due to a photo luminescent coating similar to glow-in-the-dark paint that gets charged by sunlight. This could substantially reduce fatalities and crashes and save energy consumed by street lights. Additionally, if the project is further expanded to include city roads, it would reduce the empty stretches of darkness that are prone to the miscreants using the dark as a cover.
It is such measures that go beyond the general propaganda of women’s rights and empowerment, that make us hopeful. As a women who writes this, I can truly say, we do appreciate the support towards the feminist movement, but let’s not forget the bigger picture here. We do love the ads that aim to break women stereotypes, such as the Inspire Her Mind – Verizon Commercial and the #LikeAGirl campaign by Always; they show us support, encourage us, and maybe, inspire some man somewhere to see his woman differently. However, these do not even come close to the real issues of feminism, in parts of the world where women are not allowed to work or step out of the house. Especially when brands like Whisper, Dove or Pantene decide to ride the bandwagon for the popularity, and slip up, they make the feminist movement seem entirely petty. We appreciate the gesture, but please don’t do it for the branding, and please don’t trivialize the issue.