By Aakash Joshi:
Like any other morning, this morning started with the usual course of activities at our home. It was a pretty normal day for me and everyone else in the house. They began their work and I started mine. We had breakfast together and dispersed off on our routines.
So what’s the difference between today and any other day?
Just a few additional things happened today. The inbox of these women was flooded with some 40 odd messages. The newspapers, both online and offline, were full of articles portraying different perceptions people held for this day. Facebook was full of images with the message of “Happy Women’s Day” and about a hundred women tagged on each of them.
My mother saw the messages, but didn’t reply, instead she put the phone aside and went to the kitchen. My sister marked each one of the messages and deleted them all at once. My crush didn’t even bother opening them. She preferred being offline. All of them untagged themselves from those posts on social media.
It is not that they don’t respect the achievements of women and their contribution to the world, or that they don’t appreciate initiatives for women empowerment. But making women feel so very important and special on this particular day through messages and wishes and labelling this day as the “International Women’s Day” just doesn’t suit their, or my, understanding.
Sitting with them and talking to them about this day made me realise the fact that making them feel special on this day by showing unusual respect, or taking them out for dinner, gifting them the things they love is not really something they would necessarily like. These things are just meant to pretend to the outer world that we have a positive approach towards women and we respect them and treat them with equality. But what we fail to realise is that just showing isn’t equivalent to feeling the same from the core of our hearts.
8th of March has been marked as “International Women’s Day” since the 1900s to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. However, the sensitivity that is associated with the issue of women empowerment and parity can be judged from the fact that it’s been over a hundred years and we still need a “Women’s Day” to respect women and treat them well. Whereas, it is the approach towards women for the entire year that should define the celebration of this day on the 8th of March.
Let’s all question ourselves – are women safe and secure around us? Are they given rights equal to men? If yes, then are they actually able to exercise those rights? Do we treat them equally in our minds and hearts as well? And, will women be treated better for the rest of the year until the next women’s day?
Trying to answer these questions yields more doubts in our minds rather than answers. Hence, we avoid them. The fact that we don’t have answers to these questions signifies how “happy” this day must be for the women around us.
The entire year goes in satisfying the ‘male’ ego, satisfying the urge of being the ‘superior’ gender through rapes, molestations and public humiliations. Suddenly on the 8th of March, we treat the same “inferior” gender as goddesses!
Birthdays are not celebrated only because you were born on that day, but also because you survived a year more and for all the learnings and understandings you developed in that year. Similarly, we forget that the entire year, women have been treated badly. Whether we consider it at national platforms or even at our homes.
People argue that women are being treated well and are being given equal opportunities on the basis of a sample space that hardly forms 5-10 percent of the entire population. But what they neglect is the way they are treated in the rest of the space. Providing a handful of women with opportunities and a stand in the society when a majority is being objectified, or a means to get dowry, and are being deprived of even the basic human rights is not something to be termed as women empowerment and felt proud of.
Do the wishes count? Do they change the perception and understanding of men towards women? Does the standing of women in the society become the way she wants it to be and not the way the egoistic male wants? When the answer to all of them is No, then how can we say that the wishes of a happy women’s day are even valid? It is all a myth.
A day cannot solve the plight of women in the mind of the entire society. What I contend is that we should mend our behaviour in a way that we no longer need the crutch of a “Women’s Day” to treat females fairly and equally.