AIZAWL, April 17 2017 – Mizo people have a unique social system. The male head of the family controlled the social,economic and religious affairs of the family. women were looked down upon in the society and this has been reflected by some of the Mizo sayings. some of the sayings are:
A woman’s opinion was said to be no opinion.
Crabs and women have no religion.
A wife and a rotten fence can always be changed, have been proved wrong with empowerment of women in traditionally strict patriarchal tribal society in Mizoram.
Mizo women, unlike in the early period took up various social work acivities for the people in general and for their fellow women in particular. They formed a number of state level Non-Government Organisations like- Mizo Hmeichhe Tangrual Pawl, Evangelical nurse fellowship, young women christian association etc.
More and more women in the northeastern state of Mizoram are climbing the economic ladder, with little help from the government and also by taking up alternate livelihood activities like opening petty shops and small businessess or expanding the existing ones like farming, poultry and piggery, the women in Mizoram have however dominate workplaces in the otherwise traditionally strict patriarchal tribal society in Mizoram.
A recent survey conducted by Mizoram Presbyterian Churchs Synod social front has revealed that women outnumber their male counterparts even in the male-friendly workplaces like butcher houses and stone quarries.
Women, who constitute 54 per cent in different government offices, also contributed a whopping 71 per cent in commercial establishments, like restaurants, shops and vegetable markets.
Even in what is considered to be male-friendly workplace like stone quarry, 62 per cent of workers belong to the weaker sex, the study revealed. Most of the women working in stone quarries are engaged in chipping stones.
In the teaching profession, women are outnumbered by men with the fairer sex constituting 36 per cent of the total number of teachers from middle school to university.
While 51.5 per cent of students from middle school to higher secondary are female, 47 per cent of university students are women.
The study further revealed that people between 45 to 65 years of age constitute the major workforce in Mizoram. Only nine per cent of the workforce in Mizoram belong to 18-35 age group, while 58 per cent are aged between 45 to 65. Another 33 per cent are aged between 35 to 45, the survey revealed.
The participation of women in workplaces appeared to have increased, compared to a similar research conducted by Dr Lalhriatpuii recently. According to this woman researchers book Economic Participation of Women in Mizoram, the weaker sex constitutes 43.98 per cent of the total work force.
The other two areas where women hold their heads high are education and competitive examinations. Women have held top positions in high school board, university and competitive examinations for the last many years.
When the European Missionaries set up schools in Mizoram in the early 20th century, the students were mainly boys as girls were not allowed by their parents to learn. Now, more and more Mizo girls have joined professions like medical, engineering, mass media and communication, management, computer engineering and IT. Many Mizo women have also become contractors and suppliers, doing brisk business with the State Government.
However, there are still some areas where women empowerment does not work church and politics.
Though the Presbyterian Church, the largest denomination in Mizoram, has many women theologians, woman ordination seems still a far cry.
In politics, only four women have been elected to the State Assembly since its inception in 1972.
Source: TNT NEWS with inputs from The Assam Tribune