Sunday, May 22, 2011

"No cell phones for Indian housewives" - Mobiles May Kill Marriages

Cell phones cause divorces so chuck your phones and stick to domestic work, says a state women's commission. We say ignore it!
Mobile phones can do more harm than just damage your brain with their radiation. If the Punjab State Commission for Women is to be believed, they can spell doom for marriages too. In a strange pamphlet it issued, women have been advised not to talk much on mobile phones as it can make husbands jealous. They should instead be good wives and concentrate on domestic chores. If that gives an idea of the way some commissions for women think, so much for women's lib!
Housewife's Guidebook?
Many decried the action as regressive and trivial, and ridiculed the PSCW head Gurdev Kaur Sangha's remarks that the move would help couples avoid suspicion. Sangha found that almost 40 per cent of women sought divorce on the grounds that their husbands and in- laws did not approve of them talking on their cell phones. But did we expect a state women's commission to come up with a good housewife's guidebook? For Sarah Ali, a creative director in an advertising agency, her cell phone is her goddess. She laughs it off when we tell her about the directive. "How can you expect working women like us to handle domestic chores without a cell phone?" she asks. Her cell phone is virtually her remote control for her children aged 13 and 10.
"That's how I give instructions to the maid and my children. And also keep an eye on my parents, who live alone. I do need the phone to talk to my friends about my grievances. I have been married for 15 years and have been using a cell phone for the past eight years... and till now, my husband has never been jealous of my cell phone," she says. Indeed, having problems with cell phone conversations would indicate a deep lack of trust.
This may come as a shocker to the Punjab State Women's Commission, but society has evolved from the 1930s. Be it a man or a woman, both are equally dependent on technology. Yasmeen Abrar, acting chairperson of the National Commission for Women finds the comments pretty regressive. "I do not agree. Such remarks should not be taken seriously," says Abrar. But do these remarks deliver the wrong message and in some parts of the country help push a woman's position lower?
Doctor's Prescription
Clinical psychologist Aruna Broota, who has counselled many a suspicious couple, agrees that the use of cell phones is often one of the grounds for divorce. "But this is not the solution to it," she admits. "In modern times a cell phone has become a very important tool for a woman to manage both work and home. Such irresponsible statements shouldn't be made without getting into the crux of the issue," says Broota.
In fact, the problem here is that the real issue is not being addressed here. Dr Bir Singh, who heads a pre- marriage orientation counselling course for couples in All India Institute of Medical Sciences, explains: "Just by instructing women not to use cell phones won't solve the problem. The real issue is the lack of trust between partners. If not cell phones, they will find some other excuse to get suspicious," says Dr Singh. In his pre- marital counselling cell, Dr Singh has handled several cases where couples have got suspicious of their partners because of long chats on cell phones. "Several women have come to me saying that their husbands might be having an affair because they are perpetually on the phone. So asking women to cut short their conversations would be wrong. Women too get equally suspicious, then why the bias?" he asks. It is just a way to grab eyeballs, adds Dr Broota. If it's just an attention- grabbing tactic, it's a rather irresponsible one that doesn't try to get to the root of the problem.
India and Its Women
A nation or a state is not judged by its prosperity but by the way it treats its women and you are absolutely right that as a nation we are seriously lagging behind," says Rajita Chaudhuri, dean Centre for Enterprise Management at the Indian Institute of Planning and Management. "We may aim to become the next superpower but if our women are not given equal education, safety and other opportunities that men receive, we as a nation will never be able to compete with the best. Countries like Norway, Sweden, Finland, etc are rated as the best nations to live in and one of the criteria for judging that is ‘ how are the women treated'. We fail miserably in that aspect," she says. When a woman's body comes up with such instructions for women, it looks like we are headed nowhere. "It's a pity that as a nation we have not been able to take care of our women, give them the right education so that they feel a sense of worth and look at not just others but themselves too with a feeling of respect. The Hindu culture worships the female goddess and yet we fail to acknowledge her in our own homes as she selflessly goes about playing the various roles of a mother, sister, wife, and daughter," says Chaudhuri. And now if women's organisations start falling into the gender stereotyping trap, every empowering gadget will come under suspicion. And the future will be bleak.
 Courtesy: Mail Today

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