11 March, 2019
As we all know, the much awaited International Women’s Day (IWD) is here on the 8th of March 2019. This year the theme that has been identified for the IWD is #BalanceforBetter. This theme has been carefully chosen considering that there is a lot that needs to be done, in terms of attaining gender balance in society. No doubt, considering, our grandmas, we are perhaps way ahead in terms of achieving success and balance in life. However, not all women are as lucky, and also there is still a long way to go. So, the IWD theme is a call to action, that urges society as a whole to work towards achieving this gender balance.
History or Herstory!
The history of IWD goes back to a century to the year 1911. What started as a campaign for women’s rights and was celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland, slowly gained momentum across the world. So, for well over a century, this day has been celebrated all around the globe, since women have been oppressed in one way or the other in society. This day has been marked out to celebrate the achievements of women in social, economic, cultural and political successes of women. Hence, we should perhaps refer to it as herstory!
Across this century, many women have risen against odds, to succeed in almost all spheres of life. More and more women, even in developing countries are stepping out of their homes, to study, to work and make a career and give shape to their dreams. Financial freedom is an essential aspect of a woman’s life as, when she earns, she has self-respect, as well as gets respect from others around. It also gives her the freedom to boldly make her own decisions, since she is independent and need not be coerced by anybody into something that she does not wish to do.
Perhaps, one of the brightest examples that can be picked up from the last century would be of the Pakistani girl Malala Yousafzai. The world watched with amazement the grit with which this girl fought for her right to study and go to school. In her hometown of Swat in Pakistan, the local Taliban had banned girls from attending school. Malala, urged by her supportive father, however, wanted to study, as she was convinced that it would give her the knowledge and freedom to succeed in life. She was shot in the head, by the Taliban on her way to school, and airlifted to the United Kingdom, where she recovered fully and continued her studies.
The attempt on her life did not deter her one bit; instead, it only strengthened her resolve, and she became an activist for the education of the girl child. At the tender age of 17, she became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, sharing it with the Indian Child rights activist, Kailash Sathyarthi, in 2014.
Make it your day
Typically, many people say that women do not need a separate day to celebrate as the Women’s day and that every day is a Women’s day. This may be true, as almost every woman, is contributing to society, whether she steps out of her home or not. Managing the family, household, and work (for the career women), and also contributing to the society in whatever way they can, every day, women are making a mark. Today, we have women who are teachers, scientists, pilots, lawyers, software professionals, doctors, fashion designers, actresses, politicians, and so on. It is difficult today to find any field where there are no women!
So, while it is true, that we do not have a separate day, let’s take time out to celebrate our achievements on this day. Let us also remember that there are many more women out there who may need a helping hand to come up and find that balance in society. It is up to each one of us to make this happen. And if you have any wonderful stories to tell about what some woman has achieved, please go ahead and tell us.
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