It’s to the credit of activists like Theresa Malkiel, Clara Zetkin, Käte Duncker and Paula Thiede that Women’s Day has transformed itself from being a national endeavour to an international celebration on March 8 every year. This is the day to celebrate womanhood and acknowledge the achievements and contributions of girls and women globally.
The UN theme for IWD this year is, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world.”
Over the last one year, we have witnessed how the pandemic has turned everyone’s lives, especially of women, upside down. Female frontline warriors battled their personal and professional lives simultaneously. They took to the social media to explain the struggle of wearing PPE kits for long periods even when they were menstruating, but this did not deter them from discharging their duties in trying times.
Every year, the International Women’s Day gives me an opportunity to reflect on the positive changes taking place in women’s rights. On March 8, we get to hear about the stories of women who fought for us in the past, and this is time for us to spread awareness about our rights and on feminism on various platforms that will help us achieve our full potential.
For me, IWD is a day when we also speak of the several barriers we as women face in our lives. Every IWD helps me work harder to realise my ambitions and goals in life. On a personal note, I have been posed with absurd questions regarding my academics, professional life and future plans, the most common being, why do I wish to study any further when I already have a job with a national daily?
Being brought up in a patriarchal society, we tend to ignore such questions but I prefer to react. It was in my middle school when I became aware of the IWD and read about the continued struggles of women despite facing abuse from their male counterparts. They succeeded in competing against their male contemporaries and bringing out the injustices against women in society.
IWD is a day for protest too. It’s a day to protest against unequal pay, undervalued labour, rejection of basic human rights, and lack of security. These matters cannot be spoken of only on a particular day and be forgotten the next one. We should speak of it more often in order to increase awareness. The stories of women empowerment should become a part and parcel of our life and the notions of patriarchy should be challenged every day to bring gender equality in society.