Women Should be Parked at home!
Park women at home!” Kodela Sivaprasada Rao, the speaker from Vijayawada, remarked thus recently, on the subject of women’s safety. At the meeting arranged to inform the media about the arrangements made for the National Women’s Parliament, Mr Rao had added that crimes against women wouldn’t happen if they were parked at home like cars. He went on to say, “If a car is parked at home, accidents can be avoided. Today, women are exposed to society and this increases the chances of rape, harassment, etc... If they don’t leave home, all of this can be avoided.” As expected, these remarks sparked vehement criticism and women condemned them outright.
This made me recall a funny incident that happened when I was working as senior P.A. to the postmaster-general, Chennai, long ago. One day, knowing I’d be somewhat free due to my boss being on tour, a male employee of our office entered my room after seeking permission for a small chat with me on a social issue. I just knew him as a clerk in our office and he was not a close associate. He was just a colleague who exchanged “good morning” whenever we chanced to meet in the corridors of the office. So, I wondered about the topic he wanted to talk to me.
After taking his seat opposite, he started with this prologue: “Madam, I know quite well you won’t relish what I am going to talk now as you’re known to be a staunch feminist. Yet I think, being a writer, you’ll welcome a difference of opinion, though you may not accept it.” Greatly intrigued, I requested him to proceed and he continued after clearing his throat: “Women have started coming out of homes in huge numbers and are competing with men in many a field. Besides snatching the job opportunities of men, they cause numerous other harms to society, apart from harming themselves. At times even married men fall in love with other women which cause domestic as well as societal problems. So, I would request you to think about all these as well and write stories and articles about this aspect also.”
Swallowing my irritation, I said: “How do you think that this problem could be solved? Don’t you know doing some work and earning
is the fundamental right of everyone in the country? Girls work in offices not to while away their time. They too earn for their families where the father is a drunkard not caring for the family, or is either bedridden or is no more…”
Conveniently evading an answer, he continued: “Do you know, numerous love marriages have taken place in this office? The employees who fall in love while away their office time in chitchatting and writing love letters to one another during office hours. This is another nuisance. So, after deep analysis of the pros and cons, one’s considered opinion should be that girls should be at home. My suggestion is recruitment of girls should be stopped forthwith.”
“Yes. You’re right. So far as distraction is concerned, I agree with you. If both men and women work together, as you say, office work is hindered. So, I fully agree that men and women should not work together. To stop that, there is a way out!” I said and smiled.
He was taken aback and I continued: “For that recruitment of males can be stopped forthwith and all the workplaces could be womanised. As you say, after retirement of the existing males, women could be recruited instead and men could be at home!” He reddened and got out of my room and I couldn’t
check my laughter. After that even stopped wishing me “good morning” whenever we met! We