All was going well on Indian Prime Minister Narendera Modi’s visit to neighboring Bangladesh until he decided to pay tribute to the host country’s leader Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
“I am happy that Bangladesh prime minister, despite being a woman, has declared zero tolerance for terrorism,” Modi said during a speech.
His words backfired massively as people in both countries – and eventually around the world – took serious offense to his sexist remark. But no one is more offended than the women of his own country.
ok. off to work. after cooking sending kid to school to write big story and run errands. like every other woman i know #despitebeingawoman— Gayatri Jayaraman (@Gayatri__J) June 8, 2015
Despite of being a WOMAN I can do every god darned thing a Man can & do it better! Go ponder over that #ModiInsultsWomen— Monicka Vadera (@mvadera) June 9, 2015
Managed to get a train in my own today #DespiteBeingAWoman— Sammy Radford (@sammysthinkings) June 8, 2015
Indian women have been having a tough time, what with dealing with an alarming rate of crimes against women and misogynistic attitudes from a large part of the population as well as the politicians governing them.
Modi’s words seem to have added fuel to the already smoldering fire.
It could be an honest mistake, an unfortunate choice of words uttered with the best of intentions. But this is not the first time. Narendera Modi and his political party are known for their sexist views. In fact, his famous words during an election rally about Sunanda Pushkar (late wife of Congress' Shashi Tharoor) in 2012 are still remembered vividly: “Wow. What a girlfriend? Have you ever seen a 50-crore-girlfriend?”
It is understandable why many aren't willing to wave off his words in Bangladesh as just an unfortunate instance.
Prime Minister Modi promises women empowerment but has failed the women of his country time and again.
Perhaps journalist Monobina Gupta worded it aptly when she wrote about Modi’s misogyny in article for the Times of India:
“Narendra Modi, like many of his ilk, the Gujarat chief minister too has unfailingly stayed true to the stout tradition of masculinity.”
“A torch-bearer of this woman-hating culture, the irrepressible BJP chief minister has made a sport of targeting his opponents – Sonia Gandhi or Sunanda Tharoor – in a language that can easily be defined as unabashedly sexist, if not outright misogynist. Modi, like his compatriots from every other party, has turned this crude word-play into an 'acceptable' political and electoral language.”