As we step into the 96th year of celebrating the International Women’s Day, it’s not just the piece of history of the soviet women aspiring to win respect at their textile industries exactly a century ago , or how the day is commemorated in south east Asia today . It’s a point in time to stop and ponder over and think – ‘of how far we have come in realizing this dream ’.
I am no pessimist, but series of unfortunate events develop one question and the one which does not escape my mind is,” have we learnt to respect women?” Let me be more specific here. As a fellow citizen of 120 Crore people comprising 48 percent women, can ‘they’ all call us a nation of equality?
Traditionally, India has been a patriarchal society for over 5000 years of its civilization. We now come up with statements suggesting changes and development, sugarcoated with adjectives that run “women empowerment” and of how things have gotten better. Maybe-we are all missing the point here! Statistics that speak of a rape every twenty minutes is not only shameful and agonizing ,but spells of an unimaginative bear reed character the men have displayed ever since .
Yes, not all men would be potentially the ‘rotten fruit’, but the rest should stand up and be counted in supporting the cause. when I speak of supporting the cause –it ‘simply’ means respecting the views, priorities and making a conscious effort in motivating women around us . It isn’t very difficult. Start with your mother – the yoga academy she wants to join, our sister – the skirts she fancies to college, your wife – the job she wants to take, your friend – the man she wants to chase, your colleague – the project she wants to lead. And the men – stop your father if he tries to win terms, your friend if he’s agony to his girl friend, your neighbor if he’s violence to his wife. Stop making rapists at home. Before all those decisions and statements we men make, which do sound harsh, think not once but twice if it’s going to shred the wings or give them the phoenix’s .
There is definitely more to a country than statistics that speak of violence .And for women who do not find men around to support you , stand up for yourself for everything – for education , to compete , to vote, at the workplace , to own , to contraception, to non violence , to a life . It is about you, about the respect you deserve, and if it’s not being given – demand and fight.
And like Sridevi states in the film English Vinglish ,"mujhe pyaar ki zaroorat nahin hain , zaroorat hain toh izzat ki " .
UN theme for IWD 2013 : a promise is a promise : time for action to end violence against women
Author of the post: Mr. Shailesh Gaikwad (Client associate - BD team, Kondwa, Pune)