A mere day is not enough to celebrate the contribution of women in our lives but surely it gives us a chance to distinctively appreciate all that they regularly do to sustain millions and billions of families across the globe. The International Women’s day, falling on the 8th of March every year is a symbol of collective acknowledgement of the importance of gender equality. The need for this day arose due to the continuous exploitation of women both at the workforce, by seniors, and at home, by family members.
The idea of this day was born out of inequality and the lack of pay parity across genders that reached a grave high in 1909 forcing women of all ages to come out on streets in the United States and stand in protest unequal treatment. They wanted their contribution to be recognised and working hours be brought down in proportion to their wages. Moreover, the goal was also to bring down gender-based discrimination. Over a century later, it is tough to say if the target has been achieved or not but that the world together is moving forward in that direction is a ray of hope. Earlier, women were considered second to men in most Indian states and something like a women’s day was unheard of. Though today the situation is far from becoming perfect, the country has surely taken many steps both on paper and in practice to eradicate gender inequality and change the stereotypical image of a woman. Resources like the internet, social media, electronic media, etc. have only furthered the progress. Over the years, the country has improved its gender ratio and reduced inequality with both statutory and non-statutory measures.
The best thing is that people have started looking at the female gender with respect not because of the fear of society or the law but due to a sense of self-realisation. Looking at it with a different perspective, this self-realisation has itself been difficult to achieve. It took a lot of medals in Olympic Games, scaling the moon, reaching the highest level in the government, and whatnot. On the rural front, issues remain and there are loads of inaccuracies and shortcomings concerning the treatment meted out to women, but it is also important to talk about the positive side as well. The patriarchal mindset has taken a beating and people have started allowing women to choose career and dreams over marriage. Over the years, examples of women outclassing men in the aspects of academics, services, etc. have remained in the news.
Off late, issues such as menstrual hygiene, sexual education, family planning, domestic violence, etc. have been at the forefront. It is the need of the hour to make women aware of their rights and help them raise their voice against any kind of injustice. In a typical Indian household, from the first cup of tea for the day to the last meal, women of the house have a role to play. It is ironical how we have a mother, daughter, sister, wife, at home and still need a day to honour their contributions. There are still many patriarchs who consider manhood to be the most superior thing, but the change is coming thick and fast. The society is evolving and with the new generation growing up with an open mind, the day is not far when we would recognize people by their names and not by their genders, or, for that matter, any other bodily feature.