Monday, February 26, 2024

Have women lost their voice?

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It is said that “Voice is Agency.” The recent case where a well-heeled businessman stabbed his wife for whatever reasons, should have raised the hackles of all women’s organisations in the State. They should have voiced out their protests vehemently. This incident should have prodded the State Commission for Women to take the case up suo-moto. After all, this Commission was created to address the very issue of violence against women which could be physical, mental or by use of harsh words etc. But there has been a stunning silence from all quarters. This is a frightening scenario and it reveals the indifference of women themselves
To what happens to one of their own. Since the controversy that arose about the outgoing Chairperson being involved in active politics and of campaigning actively in the last elections (an allegation she hotly denies) therefore being removed, which was at least about eight months ago the task of appointing another chairperson to this important body has been hanging fire. Why should it take so long to find a capable woman who can take on this job without fear or favour? The outgoing chairperson was known to be a member of the National Peoples’ Party (NPP), yet she was appointed and there was not a whimper from the several women activists and women-led organisations in the State. Or is there a vacuum here too? These days the voices of women seem to have been muted. Yet voice in the only agency that women have to get their manifold grievances addressed. Has any women’s organization approached the Social Welfare Minister, Paul Lyngdoh to urge him to speed up the appointment of an effective and efficient, non-political person to head the State Commission for Women? If not, why not? Why this indifference to the fact that an Agency meant to address violence against women has been headless for so long?
What is it that is delaying the process of the appointment of the Chairperson, State Commission for Women? Is the Government looking at appointing someone who will not be a trouble maker and will only adorn the office because she is appointed to it? Why must every appointee have political affiliations or be someone who is beholden to the Government for the appointment? Why can’t things move flawlessly without any need for any push from any quarters. It has to be said of Meghalaya that some of the great women leaders it produced have now all passed away. The next generation of women leaders seem to have no spunk to take on those in power. If the educated women in the city remain silent, can it be expected that women from the rural outback of Meghalaya would raise their voices against the oppressions they face? Would they have the courage to speak up when their peers in the city are silent in the face of daily aggression into their rights? Matrilineal Meghalaya indeed is a contradiction in terms!

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