Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s audio message on International Women’s Day was meant to be his tribute to women.
It, however, seems to have ruffled some feathers and angered a number of women instead, who deemed the CM’s address as a lost opportunity to really make a difference.
In his one-minute address telecast on radio, Kejriwal had attributed his success to his mother and his wife.
“My wife ran my house when I was fighting the corrupt system and my mother lent her support,” said Kejriwal. He urged men to take lessons from women, who he said juggled and fulfilled multiple responsibilities daily with ease. “Maa, beti, bahu...saari zimmedari nibha leti hain aur uff tak nahi karti,” he said in his address.
This, however, did not go down well with the listeners who then took to social media to express their discontent.
Activist Kavitha Krishnan termed the address a mockery of women’s day. “Mr Kejriwal cited the role of his wife and mother in running the house and supporting him while he fought corruption. This sounds ominously like ‘Men will lead, women will run the house and support the men who lead’. Is it because he sees this as the only role fit for women? Is that why he has no women in his cabinet and his party’s PAC?” she wrote on Facebook.
She further stated: “You praise women for their ‘rock solid tolerance’ Mr Kejriwal. Tolerance of what? Is IWD an occasion to praise women for tolerating’ injustice, inequality, unfreedom?”
For some women, even Kejri’s choice of words in the address was an issue of contention.
“The address reflected his patriarchal attitude. Even in appreciating his wife, he said she ran his house. Not their house. There is much more to women than being just a bahu and a beti,” said Maya John, convener, Centre for Struggling Women.