International Women’s Day

On International Day for women, huge sentiments are expressed about the power of women and many proverbs and poems directed towards women. It is really nice to have a special day for yourself where you are glorified to a point of being dazed, honored, awarded etc.

All this is fine.Then let’s talk about the day after all this hype about women’s day subsides, when I am brought back to mother earth – My true place.

I ask, why is that after so much awareness and acknowledgement of a woman’s contribution to life ,society, family and work; saluting her strength, resilience, sacrifice she still is considered only second to men and treated like a second rate citizen ?

A woman is the full circle.
Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.~ Diane Mariechild

Are men to blame? Not really I say.

Let me tell you a story to highlight what I want to say .There was a farmer who found a warm egg in an eagle’s nest, about to hatch .He took it and put it among his hen’s eggs for hatching .Pretty soon the eggs hatched and the tiny chicks came out and followed the mother, imitated her and tried to be like her. The baby eagle also believed that she was a chick and behaved like one. The mother hen saw and knew that one of her chicks was different, but was afraid to acknowledge it .The baby eagle, all her life, believed she was a hen and behaved like one .Then one day she saw a beautiful, powerful eagle soaring high up into the sky with her powerful wings. The hen eagle looked up and wistfully said, I wish I could soar into the sky so high like the eagle.” In my next birth I would like to be born an eagle”; not realizing her own, strength, power and abilities as an eagle.

Many of us women also believe we are hens, when in reality we are eagles. Only, we never believe we are capable of doing so much more.

Why is that? That’s because deep within us somewhere, it has been ingrained since generations, that we are not capable of many things. We cannot or must not or should not or will not…..

“Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.”- Elizabeth Gilbert

Ratan Tata’s quote about how none can destroy iron except its own rust, rings true here. One’s mind set and lack of self-esteem can do more harm to one’s self than any other thing in the world.

Added to this is the indisputable fact that most of the times, it is women who are obstacles to women themselves.

If you have seen lobsters lying together after they are caught, open in a basket, you will wonder why they don’t escape .It is simply because every time a lobster tries to climb out, the others pull it back.

This is pretty much the attitude of many women while dealing with their daughters when they don’t accord them the same privileges that they do with their sons, or when a mother- in- law treats her daughter- in -law as if she is altogether a different species . Or when women colleagues turn a blind eye when one of their kind is a victim to some kind of harassment. Sometimes in the form of a police woman who instead of empathizing with a dowry /abuse victim, yells and roughs her up or a lady gynecologist who doesn’t bat an eyelid aborting a female foetus.

“Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it by use.”- Ruth Gordon

I have been witness to my women friends and the attitudes they encounter from their families; women from various strata of the society whom I interact with and their helplessness in doing things that you and me would consider regular and normal – like taking up a course of higher studies or finding a new job or even styling their hair differently. I have been beyond shocked because young girls who want to study and have a career are forced to get married and have no choice or say because of lack of support from their mothers, fathers, families and society. This is happening today not 100 years ago.

Well-meaning consistent support, however small, for however trivial situations in life, if honestly given to women by people who matter, will truly make a big impact on women’s empowerment.

Here it’s not just women’s support that will matter, but men’s support also without which true empowerment cannot be achieved .For, men play very important roles –Father ,Brother, Grandfather, Uncle ,Husband, Son, Teacher, Adviser and Friend .The influence and mind set of all these roles is extremely vital for the true empowerment of a woman.

“If you don’t like being a doormat then get off the floor.”- Al Anon

Small things like encouraging a daughter to find her dreams and helping her achieve them; appreciating the efforts and helping a woman at home; treating all children equal boy or girl; making a woman believe in herself and increase her self-confidence by letting her take some important decisions;making a woman feel safe and other considerate gestures shown to women at the basic unit called family, will impact the society positively and tremendously more than any lofty women’s day celebrations will.

While stating all this I would like to thankfully acknowledge my mother, my dad and my family and their role in supporting me, developing my confidence, treating me on par with my brothers, while encouraging me to believe that I was better if not equally as good as anyone else in this world. This faith reposed in me, helped me stand up for myself and rise time after time, in spite of innumerable setbacks, failures and falls in life and still be able to stand tall and face life courageously with enthusiasm and a smile.

We all look up to strong, independent women. But how do we become one ourselves?

There are two ways of spreading light …To be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.~ Edith Wharton

By honoring yourself and treating yourself with respect, you set the stage up for others to treat you with respect.Developing great self esteem,believing in ones self, having a never-say-die attitude and most importantly by supporting other women, women set the sails towards true women empowerment.

The celebration of this event varies from region to region. Generally, it is celebrated to provide respect to whole women fraternity, appreciate them and to express love for them. As women are the major part of the society and plays a great role in the economic, political, and social activities, international women’s day is commemorated to remember and appreciate women’s all over achievements.

Why International Women’s Day is Celebrated

In the month of August in 1910, a meeting (organized by the International Women’s Conference) of the Socialist Second International was held in Copenhagen to establish the yearly celebration of the International women’s day. Finally, the annual celebration of International Woman’s Day was established by the support of American socialists and German Socialist Luise Zietz. However, no particular date was decided in that meeting. The event celebration was decided to promote the equal rights for all women.

It was first celebrated on 19th of March in 1911 by the millions of people in Austria, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland. Variety of programs was held like demonstrations, women parade, banners and etc. Another demand of voting, holding public office and removing sex discrimination in employment was kept in front by the women. It was celebrated in America as a National Women’s Day to the last Sunday of the February every year. It was first celebrated by the Russian women in 1913 at last Sunday of February. A rally by the women (members of the Australian Builders Labourers Federation) was held in Sydney in 1975.

International women’s day celebration of 1914 was held on 8th of March. From then, it was started celebrating everywhere on 8th of March. The 1914 event celebration in the Germany was especially held for the women’s right to vote. During the 1917 year celebration, women of Saint Petersburg demanded the “Bread and Peace”, end of the World War I as well as Russian food shortage. Gradually, it was started celebrating in various communist and socialist countries such as in China from 1922, in Spanish communists from 1936 and etc.

International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. This year’s theme, “Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity: Picture It!” envisions a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education, having an income, and living in societies free from violence and discrimination.

International Women’s Day has been held annually on 8 March. It is an important forum because:

  • It celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women, and their vital role in societies across the world, and
  • It provides an occasion to reflect on and promote the work that still needs to be done towards true gender equality.

International Women’s Day is a crucial opportunity to keep women’s issues on national and international agendas. Despite greater protection for the rights of women – improved access to education; health care and employment – women still do not enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men in many areas.

The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970’s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life.
Today has been a fabulous global celebration of women past, present, and future ~ the largest gathering of women for International Women’s Day in the history of the world!

Women worldwide have connected to celebrate and honour women past, present, and future, in many exciting ways. Amazing women celebrities, athletes, political leaders, and experts will speak about women’s issues today. There will be live musical entertainment and much more!

On this day women “Celebrate, Commit, and connect.” They’ll celebrate like never before connect as only women do and commit to improve in 3 areas of their lives:

  • Personal improve their personal health and well being, and their businesses as employees, business owners, entrepreneurs.
  • Family help their families be healthier and prepare for the future right now.
  • Country let their voices be heard: to speak up, to make positive changes in their communities/countries.

Happy Women’s Day.

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