The world is your garden
where you bloom in colors and
spark the eyes with vivid light
Now think about it,
you, being restricted to a part of the garden
seeing flowers blooming, but you can’t smell
shining sunlight you can’t embrace
opinions to support, but you don’t have the power to speak
acts to build a society, and you are limited to act
covered from outside, neglected inside feeling
oppressed to express, emotions of sorrow to hide,
obeying men without question
otherwise, harsh consequences waiting,
restricted access, limited footsteps,
you are caged within,
belong to society to impress.
Like caged birds,
and so is your right to bloom.
Words by Suntonu Bhadra
Gender discrimination is prevalent in every country; however, the situation is much worse in some developing countries. In many of those countries, women are still considered property for men; they don’t have the right to go against their family for marital decisions or decide major things of their own life independently. Child marriage is still a burning issue, severe domestic violence is taking place, and outside violence towards women is increasing rapidly. Although having so-called progress in the economic and academic scenario, those countries are failing to ensure the woman’s rights. And although awareness is slowly building up, it feels like it will take more than a lifetime to ensure equality.
Some statistics, FYI:
- # of countries that do not have laws to ensure equal pay: 113 (*)
- # of countries with rules to make specific jobs off-limits for women: 104 (*)
- # of countries that have laws mentioning that a daughter cannot inherit the same proportion of assets as a son: 39 (*)
- # of countries which restrict the working hours of women: 29 (*)
- # of countries where men can prohibit their wives from working: 18 (*)
- # of countries who limit when & how women can travel outside the home: 17 (*)
- Roughly 33,000 girls get married each day before the age of 18, or one in every two seconds (**)
- it will take 202 years to close the economic gender gap (**)
Most of these countries often halt the necessary steps to ensure equality in the name of societal practices, laws, culture, and religious rules. No culture is perfect, yet abusing the powers vested by the society, culture, and faith to ensure gender discrimination or any inequality seems utter nonsense to me.
This poem attempts to write down words on the prompt theme of ‘Caged Bird’ written by Maya Angelou; I have taken a slightly different aspect of the theme. I believe it’s not women, and their rights, that are caged in those countries; it’s our humanity that’s been confined for a long time.
Thanks to Sneha Mankar for selecting the prompt theme. The following is the content of Sneha from the last prompt.