Emancipation of women connotes a certain freedom from the restrictions imposed upon them by their domineering male counterparts in order to achieve political, social and economic equality. In most traditional societies, women were expected to stay at home, do house chores and bear children, especially male heirs. In the last century, women like Florence nightingale and Elizabeth Blackwell, pioneers of the feminism movement organized campaigns to show that women could do more than play solely the traditional, subservient role of mother and wife.
Consequently, nowadays, women are earning growing recognition as a result of their competence and intellectual power. There are certain countries, like the Islamic and the Asian ones, who are still showing their disapproval. However, many women failed to understand the proper meaning of ’emancipation’ and are becoming their own exploiters. A glaring example of women’s progress is in the field of education. At first, girls had been able to accede to primary education only and by the time this was over they were married off. Afterwards, they have been able to carry on up to secondary education.
But nowadays, they are being given even greater opportunities. Parents no more sacrifice their daughters for their sons and instead give both of them equal chances. They also have access to tertiary education. According to recent statistics, girls’ performance is even more outstanding than their male counterparts. There is not field of study exclusively meant for men; women are doing extremely well even in mechanical engineering. Education not only makes the girl aware of her rights and duties, but also provides a gateway to success and happiness.
As the saying goes: “to educate a boy is to educate and individual; to educate a girls is to educate a whole family”, no stone should be left unturned in imparting the right and proper education to a young girl. Moreover, in the field of work also, women are doing astoundingly well. The greater rate of development in rich, rapidly industrializing countries is due to the greater manpower resources at their disposal. Indirectly, it is also partly due to the contribution of women who constitute a large majority of the manpower resource. Many women have the urge, drive, involvement and commitment to shoulder responsibilities and lead.
This is why many of them are appointed directors, general managers or even administrators. These working women have growing responsibility – that of work and of children, husband, house chores etc… It is not easy to sacrifice one’s family. Yet, women have managed to maintain their position at work and produce fruitful results, without their family incurring any kind of loss. For example, the credit of the success of the ministries of various countries goes to the administration of the permanent secretary which comprises mainly of women.
They have been able to prove that they can very well work under pressure and that they can easily compete on equal terms with men. In addition, women have been able to successfully pave their way even in sports despite the fact that this has been a very long struggle fraught with all sorts of hardships and difficulties. For instance, when the modern Olympic Games started in 1896, there were no women athletes. Four years later, at the Paris Olympics, charlotte cooper became the first woman to win a gold medal in tennis.
In the 1992 Olympic Games, Algerian middle-distance runner Hassiba Boulmerka received death threats – not support – from some people in her country. They objected to the Muslim woman running in the track and field competition dressed in shorts and sleeveless top. She should cover herself, they said, a not run with naked legs in front of thousand of men. Hassiba resisted on the grounds that she was an athlete and was appropriately dressed for the race. Women now compete in almost every sport, whether the competition is team, individual, or mixed gender. There are thousands of women athletes worldwide.
Today in the US, over 1/3 of all female students in high school play sports and the number of women participating in university sports has tripled. However, unfortunately, many women have not grasped the proper meaning of “emancipation” and have instead taken it for a challenge to prove their ‘absolute’ equality to men. This has led to their very own exploitation. For example, the involvement of women in some sports, like wrestling and weight-lifting, which are unsuitable for them create a bad impression in people’s mind. Biologically, it is not reasonable for women to go for such kind of sports.
It spoils and distorts their figure. Women should have at least a degree of frailty and fragility. But the practice of such sports causes them to lose their charm, grace and feminity. Besides, many women are resorting to prostitution, which has often been characterized as the “world’s oldest profession”. For many, it is the only way out of abject poverty. Nowadays the majority of prostitutes are young runaways from home to urban areas who turn to the streets for financial survival. They want to lead an easy life and find nothing more appealing than ‘prostitution’.
They engage themselves overtly in sexual-economic transaction where sexual favours are granted to others for a specified sum of money. The prevalence of the virulent disease, HIV/AIDS, among prostitutes and their customers is causing renewed concern about the practice of prostitution. 42 million of the world population is HIV positive with the majority of contamination being due to women. For example, 4 years ago in Japan- Bangkok- a rough estimate of 4 million aids cases were detected as a result of frequent visits of the people to the so-called “massage-parlours”, a newer version of the old brothel where women used to be exploited by women.
In the light of the above expose, it can be concluded that the emancipation of women has indeed brought remarkable changes in the attitude of people towards women and their status in society; so it can be justified. Even though men and women are complementary, we should not forget that women have the right to enjoy equality with men. However, some women have failed to grasp the rationale of the term “emancipation” and have consequently contributed to their own downfall.