A friend called last Saturday evening and asked whether we had a woman’s association. I was bewildered by her question and asked her the reason for the query. Her response was, they had formed a Women’s association in the Dungkhag where she worked and by default every working women became the member whether they liked it or not. Hearing her blurt out information, I couldn’t help chuckling because she said that she had to attend a meeting the following Sunday and by her sound she definitely wasn’t for it.
She sounded really annoyed and on further conversation, I came to know that the Education Officers from the Dzongkhag had visited her school that day and they had to be in the school till 3.00pm. They were asked to show their lesson plans which I found very irrelevant because all the schools have monitors who look into the matter and keep a record of all the plans of each individual teacher. And moreover the principals are there to ensure that the teachers carry out their responsibilities. If the monitors and the principals had some problem with the teachers concerning the matter then their intervention would have sounded reasonable. If such things starts happening in schools then the policy of decentralization would remain just in paper and the people in the field will have tough time carrying out their duties.
Learning her condition, I couldn’t help wondering whether we really have freedom of choice and expression in the democratic country.
As a teacher working in a remote school, she is deprived of the luxury of the urban facilities that her counterparts have the benefit of. And she works on Saturdays unlike other office goers. If she has to sacrifice her Sundays for some meeting that she is not interested in, when will she be able to dedicate her time for her infant child? Doesn’t she have the freedom to decide whether she want to be the member of the so called women’s association or not? Doesn’t she have right to the only free time she has in a week?
I believe that an organization or an association can function well if the members are interested and willing. And I also assume that the association is formed to uplift the life and status of women but learning the helpless of my friend in her present condition, I doubt whether the said group would really be able to achieve their objectives.
I know my friend in her present condition is not one of a kind. There might be many like her in every corner of the country and I think it’s time we speak our mind out and be responsible for our action.
(This writing is based on the conversation with a friend and some observation made by the writer and bears no malice to anyone. Just my personal perception)