True Equity Network (TEN) India, the youth wing of All India Forgotten Women’s Association (AIFWA) was inaugurated on 1 Feb 2010 in Hyderabad, India.
On behalf of AIFWA, I welcomed the guests and reiterated the reasons for starting TEN-India, the principles on which TEN-India is based, and our “TEN Commandments” for promoting harmony between men and women.
I introduced Swetha and Jagadish, our two young volunteers who recently graduated from college, and have worked with me with amazing enthusiasm and energy to lay the foundation for TEN-India.
I then invited Swetha, on behalf of ALL the women in the world to present a peace offering, a “dove carrying an olive branch and the TEN logo”, to Jagadish, who received it on behalf of ALL the men in the world. This was our symbolic gesture to mark the END of the gender war started by the feminists many decades ago.
Swetha and Jagadish also inaugurated the TEN flyers. These flyers will be distributed across all colleges in Hyderabad until 8 March 2010, the International Women’s Day. Beginning Women’s Day we will spread our campaign to all parts of the country.
Swetha gave a wonderful inaugural speech which I am reproducing below:
When you ask anyone, especially women, as to what women’s empowerment means, the first thing that comes to their minds is financial independence and freedom.
In my recent conversation with a close friend, I happened to mention that I did not want to pursue a career and that I wanted to be a homemaker. She was quick to ask me as to why I wanted to continue studying instead of just getting married? She quipped that I did not belong to 21st century because I was planning to become another “vanTinTi kundElu”.
Really? Why are women today made to feel that slaving overtime for a corporate establishment is empowerment, but caring for one’s family and looking after our dear ones is slavery? I do understand that in certain families, both men and women have to work to make ends meet. But what of women like me, who have the luxury of making the choice to stay home?
Are all working women empowered and happy? Are all women who chose to stay home powerless and unhappy? Isn’t true empowerment all about the freedom to make one’s own choice?
Women from all walks of life are empowered when they are able to make their own choices in their life. But unfortunately, today our thoughts are more influenced by others and what they think about our choice?
The other sad reality of today is that women are feeling pressured to do ALL the things that men do for a living and a career in order to feel empowered.
Why is that? Are women in any way inferior to men?
Why do we always want to compare ourselves to men when we know that we are different from men, with different strengths and capabilities? Why are women feeling pressured to enter ALL fields which are supposedly “dominated” by men and then asking for preferential treatment and concessions?
Late Smt. Sarojini Naidu once said, “The demand for granting preferential treatment to women is an admission on her part of her inferiority”.
I think it is only fair that women are given opportunities to enter all fields. We do need the opportunity to prove our worth, but does that mean we need to be pampered? Today, when women are given so many opportunities why do we want preferential treatment or lowered standards of performance compared to men?
Isn’t empowerment all about self-actualization and the full realization of one’s potential?
TEN-India is a great initiative whose main objective is to free the minds of women from wrong notions of freedom, independence and empowerment.
The event received good media coverage, with a few local TV channels airing news clippings and 5 regional language newspapers carrying excellent news articles.
The following is the URL for the website of TEN-India, which contains our contact information and also contains a link to join our yahoogroup.
Please encourage youth to join TEN-India, a movement for true empowerment and gender harmony.
All India Forgotten Women’s Association (AIFWA)