It has been over a century since there was the first observance of the woman’s day on 28th February, 1909. Millions of women have been fighting for the women’s rights since then and it still goes on. Today, on the 108th International Women’s Day, we can say that we have come a long way but we have got a longer way to go!
Age Old Struggle
Feminists from around the world have exhausted their efforts; their entire lifetime, working to empower women; their never ending efforts of pulling her out of the oppression she faces and the burden she bears. Even though there have been many who were not as vocal as others about the cause but one can never undermine their contribution. The combination of active and passive feminism over the centuries have shaped world as we see it today.
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International Women’s Day
Today, 8th March 2018, happens to be 108th International Women’s Day. No! The world is not moving towards the matriarchal social structure. We need feminism. Societies around the world have progressed through the years gone by. However, there are still many sections across the globe where the treatment of men and women is not as equals. The International Women’s Day is not just another day, it is a reminder to us all that we need to fight harder; that we don’t have to give up; that this world deserves better; that there is a lot of scope still.
I could point out a few things that I would love to see change before I kick the bucket:
Oppression Of Women
Women have always faced oppression from every section of the society and every religion. Time as our witness, we can question why no man was ever burnt at the stake? Why did no one ask a man to self-immolate upon his wife’s death? I am sure that it wasn’t women who decided that they must cover their bodies from head to toe. Most certainly they didn’t set these limits and boundaries for themselves that we don’t see for men.
We have seen it all and every single woman has faced some sort of oppression in her life. Unfortunately, women play a greater role in this than men do. In many cultures across the world, it is the mother who would tell her daughter that it’s not lady like to sit the way boys do, or to talk in a certain manner or to laugh with their mouth open. As a result, you’d find many women standing, sitting, walking a certain way. Many women would cover their mouths while laughing.
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This kind of social conditioning since an early age leaves them with low self esteem and lesser confidence compared to the men folk. How can we expect them to compete against men in the same manner while we burden their subconscious minds with so many guidelines to follow?
Glass Ceilings Mile High
Regardless of which society we come from, no matter what level reach, we can find excruciating evidences of bias and unethical work practices when we compare the treatment between the genders. Unfortunately, it still exists. We are in the 21st Century and we have not been able to get rid of the gender roles and gender based discrimination. It is like a bad case of fungal infection. We can all feel the itch and burn but still don’t want to cure it. Are men in this world so insecure that they stand in the way of giving women an equal space in time? Do they feel the gullible woman who used to dance at his tune will have a tune of her own to hum? It is probably so in some cases.
Roopa D Moudgil narrates how a strong woman can overcome the challenges that she faces in the man’s world. Even though she reached to this stage with her hard work, strength, determination and perseverance, she still had to prove at every stage that she deserves to be there. I am sure men don’t get to face similar challenges.
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It all started the day we started calling women the weaker sex! Or maybe the day this thought propagated in our mind that women are weaker by any means. To my astonishment, I would hear this term as an acceptable term across genders.
How do you expect to stand up and fight if you already believe that you are weak and your opponent is strong? You might as well just face the music, at least it will only hurt your ear drums? It must have been a man who came up with this sort of terminology.
The moment you deem someone as weak, the other takes its default place as the strong one. Once this relationship of weak and strong is established, we start talking about how the strong can protect the weak. We stop thinking of empowering women because we put all our focus in empowering the strong; the Man!
Automatically, the chores and work gets polarised between the strong and the weak. We begin to see a strong contrast and call it nature. The moment anyone tries to break what has now become a stereotype, they face the ire of the conditioned minds.
Once you are weak, the strong tend to take advantage of you. Sometimes they also want to teach you a lesson. This all happens in form of sexual harassment since this is something that will definitely hurt your pride and break you from inside; leave you weak.
Many renowned feminists have used poetry as a tool to express their deepest agonies and desires. These subtle messages weakened the then social structure and brought about a magnificent change. We often underestimate the power of passive resistance. We can’t compare it to going to a salon and get decked up but nothing underneath changes. It is more like a consistent workout where you strengthen from within and the results show on the surface. It sure is a slow process, but a more effective one. In a way, the International Women’s Day is truly an tribute to these strong willed women who are now a pillar of this world’s society.
The need of equality
The International Women’s Day should be celebrated for the achievement and where this world has reached. But at the same time, it should be a day of remembrance. We must never forget how women today reached this place where they are walking shoulder-to-shoulder with men. How women today are bread winners of the families and how they bear the larger burden in many cases. One must never forget to remind oneself that it is not over yet. We have to carry on with the consistent efforts towards attaining the equality among men and women. We must never give up till more money is spent on the boy’s education and less on girl’s. It is our responsibility to keep fighting those who don’t want it to happen.