If you’re living the way you want, you’re a feminist

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Gul Panag, Shelja Sen and Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan come together to speak about creating a more equal world.

They attended the India Today Woman Summit at the ITC Maurya, New Delhi emphasizing on the discrimination against an entire section of society.
Important points they pondered on was – :
The lack of gender justice in the public sphere, where there is tacit acceptance of discrimination against an entire section of society, takes the struggle to a whole new level. The fight for equality aimed against a deep-rooted prejudice perpetuated through every sphere of social, cultural and economic life needs to take on the dimension of a crusade. 
Gul Panag, Shelja Sen and Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan come together to speak about creating a more equal world.
Granted there is a difference between the capacities of  men and women, but the limitations imposed on women should be of their own making and not that which society dictates. E.g. women should not be pre-emptively excluded from the field of combat simply because it is considered ‘unsuitable’ for them. 
Apart from the physical aspect, neurologically as well, men and women are wired differently. There has been some dispute over whether in fields that do not require physical prowess, women can compete on an equal footing with men. Over years and across fields, women have been breaking this myth and coming out on top.  Â 
Since women have been at a disadvantage for years, the entrenchment of gender roles makes an attempt of change so much harder. If we were to look at the birth of gender roles, the systemic dichotomy is maintained through a host of public and private structures that  thrive on the imbalance. We need a sweeping change as comprehensive as a polio vaccination drive to effect a change in the mindset. 
A lot of people are consciously trying to bring up their children in a gender-neutral environment, letting them discover their interests through experience. This is an important step because socialisation starts at a very young age, so if a child imbibes ideas without categorising them into gendered boxes, chances are they will grow up to be more sensitive and understanding people. 
They are not defined by men surely.
In the larger scheme of gendered identity that prescribes normative behaviour for the sexes, women are prone to internalising their issues. Boys, on the other hand, externalise their emotions and become aggressive. This acceptance of socially prescribed roles reinforces gendered identities. 
Labelling works for both genders. Women get the raw end of the deal but it’s not much better for me, who are under a lot of pressure to be ‘manly’. Most people miss the fact that the term ‘manly’ is a social construct that sweeps diversity under the rug. A lot of men may find normative, gendered roles set for them stifling, but questioning socially accepted constructs inevitably turn out to be futile and there is the pressure to conform. 
Meenakshi: You cannot deny a job to someone based on the fact that they have ovaries. 
Gul: I am very happy to enjoy the benefits of chivalry. Does that make me any less of a feminist?
Gul: The pendulum has been on one side for so long that it naturally creaks when attempted to be taken to the other side. 
Kalli Purie: What do we tell our daughters? Stay away from all men? Is that a valid response to the gender crisis?  
Meenakshi: Men and women are physiologically very different, with varied strengths and weaknesses.
Shelja:I struggle to understand my son. But, I am pretty much clued in on what is going on in my daughter’s head.

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