The following information and video was shared with the pupils:
In the past
In the past, the status of women in India was inferior to men in daily life. However, they had a higher status in scriptures, such as Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Durga, Parvati and Kali. They are famous for being tough and determined and devoted to their families.
In India, many women did not have the same rights or freedoms as men. They were not allowed to leave their homes, be educated or take on roles in the community. Women were prohibited from taking on external matters as well as domestic matters. They were under the influence of their parents before marriage & their husband after marriage. They were treated badly by their husbands, for example they ate after their husbands, sometimes eating their husband’s leftovers.
In modern times, women in India are given rights and freedom. There are a number of women education grants that offer help to women from poor backgrounds to be educated.
The government of India provides money that women who have business ideas can borrow in order to start businesses. Women are encouraged to start small businesses in order to have their own source of income and become independent.
The status of women in India has greatly improved and there are many women who hold high positions in the government and businesses.
Women Off the Map video link showing empowerment of women in Neemrana
The children then developed their questions, using this quadrant (adapted from SAPERE P4C Level 1 handbook):
These were some of their questions:
- Why don’t women get lots of money compared to men?
- Why does it have to be women?
- What is the point of having rights if they can’t use them?
- Why can’t men serve women?
- Why don’t women have equal rights as men?
- Why are women treated badly?
- Why do you think women are treated badly and men are treated well?
- Why do men have more power?
- What can we do to get more rights for women?
The chosen question was: Why can’t men serve women?
These are some of the children’s thoughts that they wrote down after the philosophy circle.
‘I think men should serve women because they do all the hard work and the men just relax and get free food. So for a change I think women should relax and all of the men serve and do the hard work.’
‘I think that women in India should be treated differently. They should be able to go to work and school and be educated. I think the men should help the women and do some cooking. The men should look after the children and help them to have fun.’
‘India: Because men are bigger than women. In 2009 women got tired and started to complain. The president changed the rules and now men can do the job as well.’
‘Sheffield: Sheffield is a big place and women don’t have all the things that women have in India. Women in Sheffield, even teenagers, are not scared of men.’
‘I think it was a good thing to discuss because the way women in India used to be treated wasn’t right. It helped us come up with good ideas about how we can stop it. I think that they should be treated equally because women are capable of working proper paid jobs. It should be fair and maybe they could do what we do in Britain.’
‘I think that the husband and wife should share the work equally so that they would not fight or get tired. If men are really physically stronger than women, why don’t they do more work?’