The contemporary world seems to be in divisive crisis. Heads of States from across the globe are stating that they only want a certain group of people in their countries and would like to send foreigners packing. The ‘foreigner’ category here, is ironically, non-discriminatory. Whether you’re seeking refuge from assault against humanity (Syrians), looking to work an IT job (Indians in the US), looking to attend university (applicants to the United Kingdom) or contributing in enriching a country through generations of services to it (Bangladeshis in Eastern India), right-wing governments would still want to throw you out. They’ll refuse to relax borders to facilitate your entry, hike visa or university fees, or in case of India, bombard your fate with the National Register of Citizens or NRC.
The NRC tries to establish the meaning of ‘citizenship’ in an isolated and arbitrary world of the BJP’s own making—but at the grassroots, it tears the lives of female migrants and/or refugees into pieces. Why do I not mention the male ones, you ask? I do. The whole body of migrants are getting discriminated against. However, as always, women are set to be hit harder than men. Here is why:
Our education structures are flawed
In India and surrounding developing/underdeveloped countries, education is both unsatisfactory and prejudiced. In this article, I shall talk about the Indian system, about how India educates its women and men. Not very well, it appears.
The educational prejudice is gendered (also casteist), and the results of that are easy to see. The literacy rate for Indian males stands at 82.14%, while for females it is a meager 65.46%. This makes women economically dependent on the men in their families. During partition, forceful expulsion among other evils of non-consent, led to the decreasing chances of women getting a job due to their lack of training. Thus, they were left with almost no fair means of supporting themselves.
Recruiters just don’t like the idea of women working
Say, you are a specially driven immigrant/emigrant/any-kind-of-geographically-footloose woman. You have received education even in the poor suburbs of India or its nearby impoverished countries before the NRC came calling for you. Even then, you shall not be as fortunate while job-hunting in your new homeland as a man of the same qualifications will be. Repeated studies have shown that hiring managers prefer to hire male over female employees, both in India and globally. What does that portend for female immigrants at stake? Even with education, you are less likely to be successful in finding a new job overseas to support yourself in alien circumstances, compared to your male counterparts.
The pay gap still exists (and it is 2019)
This is the third stage of discrimination. You might have managed to get an education and a job after you were forcefully expelled. However, you still might be struggling to make a living. Why? Because, workplaces worldwide pay women lesser than men for the same jobs and roles, giving rise to the noxious phenomenon of the ‘pay gap‘. This transcends industrial sectors, geographical locations and ethnicities in varying degrees of severity. The Modi government has been threatening to send back a lot of people to Bangladesh with the NRC, where the gender pay gap is very real. For the working women fortunate and qualified enough to migrate to the developed world, there is hard news too, with UK, USA, Japan and Canada making it to the list of the 12 countries in the world with the highest gendered pay gaps.
Childcare mostly burdens women
Migration during chaotic situations like the Partition of India, or the anticipated NRC purge, is a messy business that is impossible to be chronicled in totality. There is legitimate evidence suggesting that male parents give up custody voluntarily much more than female ones do. This means that economic pressure on them increases two-fold over men. They struggle to find jobs and are paid less. Additionally, they also have the fiscal responsibility of supporting one child, or in most cases, multiple children.
Work and home are places rife with sexual danger for women
Hunting for lodging in any place is tedious. For women, there always comes the attached risk of being molested in any accommodation they manage to obtain. Studies say the phenomenon is appallingly common. This data points to the fact that, for women, sexual harassment abounds in realms that are tied to their home and the place they go to earn their bread, even before the quality of bread they can afford comes into the picture. These are realms where they may be raped, mutilated or even killed. In a new land where they have almost no connections, these realities shall loom more urgent concerns.
In light of the bullets above, forceful and politicized eviction may be termed as an inhumane reality. However, the life of women post-eviction may be gauged to be significantly worse than men. What struck me while carrying out research for this article was that, the points listed here are what hold women back in their homelands as well, prior to banishment—can the conclusion then be that the world will treat you unfairly, no matter where you are, if you are a woman?
The answer to that question used to be ‘yes’ in the past. With the same breath that we condemn misogyny, however, we must also call out forceful geographical expelling for the evil that is, an evil pernicious enough to rip families, institutions and people, scarring them for life. Respect for consent is a must, be it territory and property of any sort. This is my appeal to you to bring out your candles in protest of human polarization and objectification.
Featured Image Source: The Hindu