I remember how HH Bhaktivaibhava Swami was once asked by a brahmacari in a lecture in Ukraine how he should behave towards women, seeing them as mothers. And he exclaimed: "You better respect them! Women are very powerful. They can finish you off! So you better show respect!"
A man likes to protect a woman and be her hero - it is built into his very nature, and it gives him a higher purpose in life. Whenever I travel by train in Germany, I never lift my luggage into the train myself, but I always ask a young fellow to help me. And I can clearly perceive how much pleasure and encouragement he receives from such service. It gives him a sense of accomplishment, which is indeed empowering him to be active and responsible.
However, he can only play this role of being the protector if we women accept an inferior position. As soon as we want to be equal, men cannot protect women any longer. One can only protect somebody when situated on a higher position. Therefore women are considered to be of a lower birth - because they are meant to be protected. Within Krsna's system, higher and lower simply indicate the flow of protection - who protects whom. In materila life higher means 'more fun' and lower means 'less fun'. Everybody wants to be 'higher', nobody wants to be 'lower'. But in Krsna's system, higher and lower have an entirely different meaning.
When once giving the ladies' course in Chandigarh, one mataji was relating how she was on a bus when she was pregnant, and nobody was getting up to give her a seat. When she was requesting some young fellows to get up and let her sit, one of them replied: "You women want to be equal - so why should I get up?"
Men tend to become more and more reluctant and even afraid to get married. Even though they might not have the clear understanding of Krsna's system, nevertheless they intuitively can sense that something is wrong - that women are not so easily agreeable to play the role of being the auspicious source of energy and inspiration any longer. Please take a few minutes to watch this little video, as food for thought:
People in these modern days are frustrated - life is becoming more and more crazy and absurd. People are searching for alternatives. We do have access to Krsna's system, which brings harmony and stability into this material world. When will the day come when ISKCON can serve as an example of the perfect society, where the ladies are true Laxmi Devis, with beautiful feminine qualities, playing their role perfectly of being the auspicious source of energy and inspiration to the men, and where the men are chivalrous and heroic leaders - taking charge, protecting and providing. Then Lord Caitanya's Sankirtan Movement will become very powerful, and we can actually show the world how human life is meant to be lived. But as long as we are facing the same problems as the general society - what do we actually have to show?
On the 13th of October I flew off to Delhi and traveled out to Vrindavan....
Your servant, Devaki dd