Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
We men

Women are encouraged to rise at forums but in practice they are expected to be housewives and servants at home. There are men who talk about women's empowerment to be politically correct. These include leaders, social workers, and writers. A second type of male accepts that women should move ahead-in principle. But this is not obvious from their behaviour. They talk about women's empowerment but have never made a cup of tea for themselves. They do not realise that change begins from oneself. They talk about policies the state must adopt but do not try to change themselves.

A third kind of male talks about women's rights and actually help in whatever why they can. There are few males who encourage women in their family to work and simultaneously help them with household chores. However, a closer look reveals differences in the work load, social acceptance, and opportunities that male and females enjoy. Many individuals who talk about equality for women have double standards-there are a few that actually support women's empowerment and are equal partners.

This is clearly reflected at the family, social and state levels. As a result, the number of people who talk about women's empowerment may be increasing but the expected changes in women's lives have yet to take place. It's not only men who fall into these three categories. Women fall into them, too. The behaviour of one woman towards another within the same family, the behaviour towards a woman who is moving ahead in society, and the views of the few women at the decision-making level, have effected the whole process of women's empowerment. But as the views and behaviour of men have more impact on all aspects of society, the impediments created by women are negligible.

There has been talk about providing protection for women, appointing women to various posts to raise their status. A few attempts have been made to make policies and regulations along these lines. But judging by the speed with which these policies are effecting changes in the lives of the majority of women and their results, it will take centuries to create a world where men and women are equal.

Let's take a moment to dream of a world where women are in all the top decision making positions, where they are the breadwinners, the technocrats, politicians, professionals, where there are hundreds of organisations and projects for the welfare of men. The exercise is not to belittle the position of men but to make them aware of the status of women. Some may ridicule the idea. But if men were honestly to introspect and put themselves in the position of women that would be the beginning of change.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)