Every year a thought crosses my mind — why just one day earmarked to talk about women? Her struggles, her strength, her endurance all wrapped in a platter of International Women’s Day, ready to be served as soon as the clock strikes 12 on 8th March. Isn’t it more like tokenism? A feel-good day for women, thereafter she gets back on to the place where she is actually placed as — the Second Sex.
The daily sexism; the societal norms she is bound to, the prejudice she is restricted to — what about them? Does that need no attention? Or just one day of hailing her spirits high with a hypocrite’s heart will be enough to fill her other days with all the behaviour, mannerism and sexism till that ‘one day’ next year.
We celebrate International Women’s Day to honour the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It is also a day that calls for action for accelerating gender parity. Several groups come together to celebrate women’s success and accomplishments and assemblies for women’s equality are observed.
Like every year, the day is celebrated with a theme worldwide; this year’s theme is a goal to create a gender-equal world. Like every year we do celebrate women’s success but yet another year of raising awareness against bias. The hashtags trending this year are #ChooseToChallenge and #IWD2021.
Year after year, the same goals are being readdressed as we are not able to achieve a status of equality of women till now. The same goal will be themed for next year, then the year after that and you never know for how many more years to come. It will be the same because we are not evolving, we are not introspecting, because it’s just “another day” for us. It is a futile attempt by the advocates of women empowerment because we need every day to be women’s day. There should be no celebration of things we should preach and practice every day, we don’t celebrate Good Manners Day or Breathing Day; we must acknowledge it but is there a need for an extravagant day asking for equality?
International Women’s Day has been celebrated since the early 1900s. As the world was undergoing enormous changes and various ideologies were on a rise, women around the globe also began to acknowledge and identify the various means of inequality and oppression.
It was during 1908 that several dialogues and debate started to take place by the women, for the women. The crusade for change by the women started when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay as well as voting rights. The first Women’s Day was observed across the US in 1909; in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland post which, when women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917; whereas it was in the year 1975 that the United Nations celebrated International Women’s Day for the first time. Furthermore, many of us are still unaware that there are three colours associated with Women’s Day, which are purple, green and white. Here, Purple signifies justice and dignity, green signifies hope and white represents purity, which was slightly married by controversy. The colours for the day originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the UK in the year 1908.
Now, we need to realise that the day is not about motivational quotes on the role of women in our life or various forms of discount and gift cards or asking each other to respect women when you yourselves are guilty. It is a day to remember or honour the women who struggled for years for giving a voice to all of the others; a history of the struggle to recall and preparing for a long struggle ahead.
Rupali Sharma, Founder and C.E.O Aegte Lifescience says, “People talk about Feminism and how it will make women strong. Women are already strong, so what if nature has made us gentle from the outside, we are strong from inside.”
“I believe by providing equal rights to basic education is the most important step. There are still some places in India where women are not allowed to get an education and speak about their rights.”
We need to understand women, the truest sense of celebrating women and women’s day is to empower her every day, give her means and opportunities to grow, only then she will be able to spread her wings and conquer the world. Then only we would understand what it truly means to celebrate women’s day.