Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Women working in Bars

From the news today: Karnataka lifts ban on women serving in bars

I was surprised that such a ban existed in the first place. Where is equal opportunity? What surprised me even more is the reaction of common people to this verdict. One guy who was interviewed on the street condemned the verdict stating that the same women would come back in a few months and complain that they are being put in harm's way and offered no protection. Another lady disagreed with the decision stating that it is not something she would do. Such ignorance pisses me off. We are our own worst enemies.

I welcome the decision by the court and I believe everyone should do so. As for the guy I mentioned in the earlier paragraph, I hope he realizes the solution to his conundrum is not preventing women from being put in dangerous situations, but to take adequate measures and offer protection that would eliminate the danger in these situations. If our solution to problematic situations is to avoid them, god help us. To the lady, I would ask her to stop making the matter about her preference. The question at hand is whether or not women should have the freedom to choose if they want to work in a bar or not. No one is being forced. The lady in question would probably choose not to if given the choice, but she is absolutely wrong in saying that the choice itself should be eliminated.

The court in its decision states that meeting international standards is one of the reasons behind the verdict. I hope they add additional rules that would safeguard women in bars. Part of being "international standards" is making bars hire their own security in case problems arise. There should also be rules that would address the safety of these women who will often be commuting back home quite late at night. The bar should be held responsible for making safe transportation arrangements. Defining and enforcing proper accountability is key to the success of this decision.

Going by the viewer's reaction to this news, we, the people of India have to evaluate our stance on rights and freedom. We have a long way to go before we can claim to be a truly progressive society. This is one small step towards that.