In olden times medical facilities were limited, infant mortality was widespread and hence the universal propensity to have more and more children. As late as the 17th century, probably the world's richest man Emperor Shah Jahan fathered through his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal alone 14 children of whom only seven survived. Even in the 20th century, circumstances had not changed vastly as confirmed by Catherine Mayo's book entitled Mother India. All this stresses the preoccupation of the woman in bearing children, rearing them, leaving little leisure to otherwise develop herself. Little wonder that she was given an inferior status by man.
The book Head Scarves and Hymens by Mona Eltahawy, highlighted in this issue, narrates particularly the tragic practices of female suppression. It is time that across the world, we move ahead and treat the woman with the same respect that we men expect for ourselves.