The males have outnumbered females in the land’s total headcount and one of the reasons for that to happen is said to be the unlawful practice of female foeticide which the authorities are finding it tricky to detect and unable to stop completely. Even catchy slogans created some years ago and flashed across the country for many years through large-sized hoardings and media publicity calling upon couples to have only two kids, male child to bring glory (keerthi) to the family and female for upholding the land’s religious customs (aarathi) didn’t seem to change the outlook on female child in the camps indulging in such inhuman practice.
Further, ironically enough, we read nowadays about sons as a class failing in their duty to care for their aged parents while daughters have emerged as not only bread-winners of their respective families but also care-takers of their parents in the evening of their life. The ethos towards gender-difference seems to be dictated by pragmatism as the males provide the workforce for agriculture and the females in total charge of keeping the hearth burning. Old-timers didn’t exactly relish when unisex attires emerged some years ago virtually eliminating the time-honoured way of distinguishing the two genders at first sight.
Two age-old customs of some sections in the land’s population are lingering to this day. One is naming the newborn child with interchangeable terms such as Vasantha, Prasanna, Kantha and Keerthi. The other is to deliberately give an exclusively male name to the female child in the belief that the female child is not snatched away by fate, a bizarre-sounding custom. The reverse practice of naming a male child with female name has also been in vogue, as in the case of renowned scientist late Prof. Y. Nayudamma.
Dress, while seen in public domain being an unmistakable identification of the gender of the wearer first and name (barring examples cited in the previous paragraph) by which a person is addressed second are features that have endured in the cases of defence personnel and Police force for a long time, given the females in the two sectors having to don uniform meant only for males. However, Karnataka Government has just relaxed the dress code for the females in the Police force. Also, according to a four-column broad headline in a section of the Press, women in Central Reserve Police Force, numbering about 8,000, will soon get specially designed body gear to ensure protection of soft parts of their anatomy and also their vital organs. More cases of diminishing male image in public domain has come from abroad. There will be no manholes anymore in one of the regions of the United States of America, yielding place to maintenance holes. The term man-made is replaced by human-made. The term human-power displaces the term man-power. Lastly, the terms ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘her’ and ‘him’ will be replaced by ‘they’, ‘them’.
Attire and terms with prefix ‘man’ have played their role in favouring the female. But, the aggressive stance taken by some males, particularly episodes of sexual assaults, dowry menace and so on may not be of much consequence of the aforementioned changes.