I was talking to a friend the other day about buying a bigger house.
'Sure! You have to do it for your son'. He replied.
'Well also for our daughter', my husband interrupted.
The story I am relating is of a man settled in the United States for almost a decade and half. One would expect Indian men to have a broader outlook, once they move out, especially to an advanced country like the United States. It is sad but Indian society is the same anywhere in the world. Most Indian men have the same rudimentary thoughts more so when it concerns women It is an unfortunate fact that most Indian men expand their horizons in every other aspect of life expect when treating their women.
Last year, I was reading the coverage of a Time Magazine columnist (sorry forgot the name to give credit) on America's war against terrorism. The columnist was enjoying the hospitality of a Pakistani officer. At the dinner, some kids were also present. During the course of his conversation, the columnist asked, 'How many kids does your brother have?' 'Four' came the reply. Noticing that there were nine kids the columnist asked again. 'Four' was the answer again. The columnist did not believe his ears and asked again, 'But there are nine kids playing'. 'Oh my brother has four sons.' This was Pakistan, need I say the story is any different in India! Girls are the non-entity.
The limited privileges that Indian girls enjoy are the same anywhere in the world. Most Indian girls go for quality higher education solely on their own hard work and determination. They take the treatment given to them as a challenge and try to be better than their male counterparts. The Indian parents do very little in motivating their little girls to get higher up in life. They probably think, it is a waste of money because the benefit would go to the husband and his family. Here in the United States Indian girls who do not get the scholarship go to community colleges while the boys have the advantage to attend private institutions. Girls decide on their major of study by help from their counselors or other students, while boys are pushed into Engineering and Medicine.
We Indian parents still cling to flaky values of so called good reputation, which can be easily tarnished if the girls elope or do some thing similar. As soon as the girls get involved with an opposite sex, they are forced into marriage irrespective of their studies being complete or not. Like India, here too the sole responsibility of running a household falls on the girls' shoulders. Obviously the girls lag behind in school and have no other alternative but to quit, or wait to finish after they are able to fulfill their obligations towards kids and family. Sometimes, it is too late. At my work in the CUNY college, I am faced with this dilemma of the Indian and South Asian girls more often than one can comprehend.
Most Indian men continue to stay in joint families in the US. While the girls are expected to go to work and help financially, they are not allowed to go to school and leave the kids to be taken care by the in-laws.
The stories can go on to pathos unendingly. I believe if the mothers decide on a brighter future for the girls no man on earth can stop that.