ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
L.G. B. GIRLS’ COLLEGE, TEZPUR – 784 001, ASSAM
**DR. INDU SWAMI
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH,
ASSAM UNIVERSITY, DIPHU CAMPUS,
DIPHU-782 460, KARBI ANGLONG, ASSAM
Gender is a powerful and political term and a product of patriarchal ideology whereby male and female social roles and behavioural patterns are assigned. Gender equality or sexual equality can be achieved in our society when same rights and opportunities are meted towards both male and female. It cannot be assessed by ones economic, social, political, educational status, but by also assessing one at the household level. Thus marital status proves to be a great indicator to project women as truly empowered. Shashi Deshpande’s protagonists Sarita and Jaya in The Dark Holds No Terrors and That Long Silence respectively are educated, sophisticated, intelligent, bold, independent and are financially independent women, yet are victims of patriarchal values and male domination. They too have failed to clear off the besetting pitfalls created by our customs and traditions. Unless there exist a balance relationship between men and women, women cannot achieve empowerment. Hence it is suggested that existing strategies need to be reviewed and to improve the condition of women new ones should be designed. It is the time to deconstruct the construct of patriarchy. In the present era a tension lies between tradition and modernity. Western education and Postcolonial thoughts have liberated the minds of the women. The traditional shackles broke free and the ‘New Women’ emerged. Women grew conscious of their roles and demanded gender equality. Empowerment is envisaged as an aid to help women achieve equality. Shashi Deshpande is not against men, but her novels are reflective of feminist aspirations and dreams. Her novels reveal the widespread imbalance between the sexes.
This paper attempts to show that women empowerment is unfeasible without gender equality in our society.