Friday, January 8, 2010

The Pill

Call me a champion of woman's rights or a closet chauvinist, I don't really care. But I strongly believe that the single most important invention in recent times that has really empowered women is The Pill. The pill gives women the chance to have sex without the bother of pregnancy. It really was the spark that lit the flame of the sexual revolution in the western world in the sixties. Of course, the pill does not prevent STDs, but at least takes away the complication of unwanted pregnancies.
The best indicator of social empowerment of women lies in the sales graph of the pill. The more pills sold would mean a more progressive society, especially for women. There are numerous studies that have proved how society has been transformed by the pill and for the better.

The other great indicator of women's empowerment in India is the rapidly rising divorce rates, especially in cities like New Delhi and Bangalore. This is not a cause for concern, methinks, but a reason for celebration. It means that women have now been empowered financially and socially, and so are now more confident of walking out of unhappy marriages. Compare this to the previous generation (and before that), where women had no choice but to endure a unhappy, abusive and sexually frustrating marriages. All becuase the husband controlled the purse strings.

The next great revolution for women's empowerment in India will come with the introduction and implementation of child protection services. I believe marriages are an unnecessary societal farce and that having children in today's world is nothing short of a criminal misdemeanor but the truth is that marriage and children are a part of society. Often, it is the children who are the worst affected in a marriage. As a result, even in families where the wife has the economic freedom to walk out, divorce is not an option because of the stigma attached to a failed marriage (for the kids) and the lack of proper child protection services. Although, I am inclined to think that this could be a reason for men also not walking out of unhappy marriages.

If you're a woman and have walked out of an unhappy marriage, I tip my hat to you. Power to the people.

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