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International Women’s Day

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Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘Intellectually, mentally, and spiritually, woman is equivalent to a male and she can participate in every activity.” 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. It represents a movement that is for every woman and girl, no matter where they live. Swami Vivekananda also said, “The best thermometer to the progress of a nation is its treatment of its women.” Women continue to have a long way to go to guarantee equality and fairness throughout society. A country which respects women only can survive better in the world arena.

The evidence shows that in the developing world, women play a different role than men and are more likely to take care of their family’s health care and nutrition, things that children need to become productive adults and contribute to the economic and social development of societies. India is fortunate to have had many great women – Avvaiyar, Annie Besant, first women president of Indian national Congress, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, first Indian Woman President of UN General Assembly, Mother Teresa, Sarojini Naidu to Indira Gandhi only the second woman Prime Minister in the world, to Kalpana Chawla, Indra Nooyi to Pratibha Patil first women President of India and many more in the Indian Corporate sector who have proved to be more than a match. Their contribution to society in whole and to Women in Particular is invaluable. Equal opportunities should be available in all areas to express their respective opinions. Social and mindset change is vital for development of women to achieve success in life.

Time has now changed since women’s voting rights were the primary concern of female activists. Women have found their way into roles that were unimaginable 100 years ago.

Every year we celebrate “The International Women’s Day” but we find that the crime against women seem to be increasing at an alarming rate. Crime is endemic to the human condition, but a crime specifically directed at one sex is most despicable and unfortunately, the one that is punished least. It is found that the media exposure and all the legislation have little impact. Legislation introduced by the government is often merely tokenism. One would find that the problem before the majority of women in our country is not equality but survival. The pati-parmeshwar has rudely and gradually been brought down to earth.

The scenario for women seems grim indeed and this will continue so long as the basic social and economic structures remain unchanged and implementing and law and order agencies show indifference. Merely celebrating the women’s day is useless unless real power in social, political Cultural and economic arena women are given adequate representations. There is no gender equality. Discrimination against women prevails in all walks of life. The thinking of society has to change and parents must value their daughters on a par with their sons and should give them the same advantages and means of independence. I would like to point out that while laws alone cannot put an end to evils that are endemic in the social structure, the government can at least make some attempt to take its own enactments seriously.

The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas. Increasingly, yet the aim of the date has endured – to push governments to recognise the necessity of sex and gender equality in law.

It is time for them to introspect their positive and negative attitude towards life. They should pat themselves at their back for some of their achievements in that whole year. Road is lengthy and they have to travel steadfastly to achieve freedom in all walks of life. No longer is the “hand that rocks the cradle” the only womanly hand that rules the world.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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