The law in India doesn’t discriminate against women. It supports and protects us. But how many of us can put our hand on our heart and say that our society is gender-balanced? Isn’t it absolutely shocking that even in 2017, we the women of this country, live with a constant fear for the well-being of our body, pride and self-esteem?
People in India’s northern-belt (to which I belong) observe Navaratri – one week of strict abstinence, twice a year – a grand religious affair to offer prayers and sacrifices to the feminine essence of God – Shakti. Wonderful ideology one would say, except this region is also home to highest number of crimes against women.
I wonder if Devi and her enormous Shakti is deified and respected only because she is a speechless idol, dressed in her brightly-coloured saree, sitting calmly inside a decorated templ? Is her glory but an idea? What about her flesh & blood avatar a.k.a. women who are struggling to be seen, heard and recognised for who we are – equally human, equally important?
On 8th March 2017, it would be exactly a hundred years since the 1917 strike by Russian women that helped force the abdication of the czar and the right of women to vote. Before that in 1908, on the same day in March, 146 women died protesting their labour condition in a New York garment factory. Those were some of the first instants of women coming together to battle society’s discrimination against them.
I wish they were stories from a by-gone era, but we all know, they are not. Gender equality and development – which was the original aim of International Women’s Day – is still far from being realised.
This year’s theme : #BeBoldForChange
In our homes, even today, it is the women who have to ‘let go’ to keep ‘peace’. Our voice, more often than not, is secondary. Those amongst us making big waves in corporate, business and political worlds’ are having to work twice as hard as the man standing on our left, while pay-gap & discrimination persists.
According to the World Economic Forum, the gender gap (globally) won’t close until 2186
This year let’s make a promise to take groundbreaking steps, in doing more than we imagine ourselves capable of, to not only help ourselves but help other women who need us. Let us aspire and inspire, be bold and make the change, be the women we dreamt of being before fear and the bias of our society stepped in. Let us start today. We have to. Because there is simply no time to waste.
10 Quotes for sharing, inspiring and taking the first step towards a greater change….
“Blessed be she who is furious and magnificent” – Taylor Rhodes
“She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the Universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings.” ― Ariana Danku
“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” — Marie Curie
“It’s not your job to like me, it’s mine.” — Byron Kati
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” — Coco Chanel
“Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got. There is no yesterday, no tomorrow, it’s all the same day.” –Janis Joplin
“No one knows what you have been through it what what your pretty little eyes have seen, but I can reassure you – whatever you have conquered, it shines through your mind” – Nikki Rowe
“You take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.” — Erica Jong
“We have to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves” – Beyonce
While great strides have been made since 1900s, it is important to mark International Women’s Day because it is both a symbol and an opportunity to reflect on the choices we are making, as individuals and as a society, and how each one of us contribute to a just world and a culture of equality.
Here’s to being bold, being courageous and being the change we want to see.