Yes it’s Women’s Day, yet again! This year the day is even more special as it marks the 100 years of the observation of the 1st International Women’s day. The first time, the Women’s Day was officially celebrated was on 19th March, 1911 at Denmark, Austria, Switzerland and Germany. The decision for observing the International Women’s Day took place in the year 1910 at the 2nd international conference of the working women that took place in Copenhagen.
During the second half of the 19th century, turbulence and confusion in the industrialized societies, made women demonstrate and protest against the poor pay structure, domineering working conditions, inequality etc. This coincided along with the increasing demands on the part of the women for having voting rights in different countries. The year 1908 saw the march of 15,000 women through the New York City in demand for short hours, good pay and of course voting rights. In the year 1909, the Socialist Party of America announced that 28th February is observed as the 1st National Women’s Day throughout the nation. Till 1913, the last Sunday in the month of February was being celebrated as the National Women’s Day in the US. The Russian women who were campaigning about peace during the World War I celebrated their 1st International Women’s Day on the last Sunday of the month of February in the year 1913. Nevertheless, in 1913 itself, an agreement was made where in International Women’s Day came to be celebrated on March 8. It is celebrated in more than hundred nations.
Pt Jawaharlal Nehru once said that “You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women”.
International Women’s Day happens to be the story how the ordinary women make it big in the pages of history or the minds of the people. It is the age old struggle and fight of women for life, enjoying equal power and opportunity as men and many more. As the entire world come together to celebrate this special day for the Women’s, a striking yet interesting facet in this male dominated corporate India represents the Indian Women at the top echelons in various sectors of life. Today some of the largest and finest organizations in the Country have some efficient and talented women as leaders at the top!
India witnessed a series of changes over the years with a woman speaker, a woman president and a woman heading the ruling party. Indian women have successfully and proudly broken into many ‘male-only’ quarters and today the country has women pilots, taxi-drivers, bus drivers and conductors and many more! Making their presence felt in a big away, at the corporate world are women engineers, scientists, doctors etc.
In the villages also, many women can be found entering the work stream as non- conventional role players such as panchayat heads, plumbers to just name some of them.
But on this Women’s Day 2013, one question that creeps into million minds and specially the women is, are these changes truly for the better or are these mere cosmetic, superficial changes? Are these just tokenism’s, existing in the face of a unfortunate reality?
Indian Women: The Unfortunate Reality!
Another Women’s Day: is it another chance for the national assessment of the position of women in India wherein the glass ceiling is definitely within the reach but not yet broken, where the entertainment of the public is dominated more by patriarchal cliches where the health statistics are ascertained, still by gender, and wherein the female infanticide continue to grow despite the strides in different sectors.
People often say that India is the land where gleaming high-rises exist parallel with the desperate poverty. Quite similar is the case with Indian women. On one hand there are women making it real big in different sectors and there are also women facing gender discrimination, abuse and ill treatments, domestic violence etc. Figures give us a complete and true picture of the Indian Women: The Unfortunate Reality!
Gender discrimination continues to pose serious threats to girls and women in various sectors. Early marriage of girl child is yet another serious issue faced by India. As per the report of the UNICEF, India has the highest percentage of underweight girls.
Adding to this are cases of dowry deaths, female foetcide and female infanticide, unequal pay rape, sexual harassment’s at the workplace and so many other threatening issues.
The entertainment industry, media, cinema, advertisements, television etc banks heavily on these women but unfortunately has done very little to address the problems and issues of the women in India.
There’s a strange numbing pain that throbs within whenever the topic is brought up. The Delhi gang-rape is one such incident that compels a person to cringe in disgust, shock and an entire range of inexpressible emotions. The girl who was brutally raped and killed has been written about till pens would no longer permit it; she’s been remembered in prayers, her case has been protested against and who knows what other method has been employed to make sure that she never fades away from the collective consciousness.
Quite similar to the status of the Indian women in the country, is the Women’s Day, too; funny for many, a comment for some and just a celebration for others!
Can We Change it, this Women’s Day?
8th March has been dedicated to the women of the entire world! It is the day when every woman should for once stop and reflect on one’s own achievements and congratulate oneself for the same.
“The origin of the child is the mother, a woman…she shows a man what loving, caring and sharing is all about…”
Women’s Day brings us an opportunity to honor and appreciate the women at our home, workplace, at the shop or the grocery store. Just a simple, small wish, a pat on her back, or only a small sms or email can make all the difference for her. Thank that special lady in your life, be it mother, wife, friend, sister, colleague etc; tell her how she is important to you. This small effort on your part is just enough to make the women smile with pride and joy!
They say that “Charity begins at home” nothing better than to start by apprising the “everyday heroes”, the women at your home! Be it the working woman, a homemaker or a single mother, every day is a new day for them to struggle and fight their best out! They deserve as much praise and appreciation as the celebrities. 8th March is the day to acknowledge and love these dynamic and courageous women in our lives! Let your mom, sister, wife, girlfriend, and every other lady feel special and happy about their invaluable contribution towards the society!
A woman’s essence surely lies in her abilities to love, care and sacrifice for others. Playing an enveloping character of a mother, wife, daughter, teacher, sister, friend, guide, nurturer and partner, Women are truly indispensable. Vulnerable yet emotional, erratic yet serene, women is the perfect combination of a diverse range of emotions Talk of being patient, she won’t disappoint you; expecting her to be courageous in crisis, she would never fail.
Tormented and subjected for a long time and through ages, Indian women have fought through harassment, exploitation and fight their way out to secure their rights publicly. Despite the continuing injustice and exploitation against the women, at the working field as well as domestic, many milestones have been accomplished in connection with freedom of choice, education, liberty, equality etc. With increasing literacy and the financial independence enjoyed by women, today the women deserve a life of self worth and dignity! Women’s Day comes as a chance to celebrate the social, cultural, economic and political achievements by the women in India, and the entire world.
On the occasion of the Women’s Day, to name or point out one single woman in India for her contribution, won’t be fare, as we believe that everyone is special, valuable and unique in their own rights. Every woman makes a difference to India and to this World!
Women in India: The Past and the Present!
The women in India have seen their positions rising and falling from time to time and at various ages of history. While in the ancient India, the women enjoyed an equal if not higher position to that of men, the middle age saw a completely different picture. The women in the middle ages experienced very low points, where majority of them were suppressed and had no independence whatsoever. Child marriage, sati and ban on widow re-marriage became very common during this period.
In modern India, however, the position of women seems to be very different, paradoxical and contrasting. On one hand there are terrible stories of ‘dowry deaths’; female infanticide, child marriage happening in India. Villages and small town women are faced with constant victimization, by influencing figures and even their families. On the other hand, high offices at various sectors are held by the Indian Women. They are excelling in all fields from sports, education politics, art and culture to media, science and technology and other service sectors.
The Constitution of India has guaranteed equality (Article 14), no discrimination by the State (Article 15(1)), equality of opportunity (Article 16), equal pay for equal work (Article 39(d)) to every woman in India. However, how much of these are executed in the practical life is a question that still lingers.
India is honored as the “Motherland”. Adoration towards feminine faith and power and recognizing the potential of women is that what have been the source and foundation of strength and growth. India is home to a large number of distinguished women who breathed in development and change in every section of the society. While some remain at the helm of respect and tribute, some others fade away in one of those uncertain corners. Women’s Day and Indian women: Few prosper, many languish!
So this International Women’s Day, we would like to reach out to those ‘unknown heroes’ whose untiring efforts couldn’t find a way of expression. Let’s celebrate for those women in India, who stand out with their wisdom, grit and everything, which prove them worth appreciating. We believe that every woman is special and we respect what we believe!