It’s been carrying on since the 1900s and the world wakes up to the needs and rights of women for that one day. Organisations plan how the day would be celebrated, individual and collective text messages are exchanged on the day celebrating the power of womankind and the day closes on an unusual high. But the next day is just the same.
The next day is like any other. The girl in the bus still gets those looks, women still think twice about taking a cab at night, the washer man’s son gets preference over the daughter in the family, choices are skewed in favour of men and sometimes women themselves are biased against their own kind.
So what does the day change if at all? Is it just a day for brands to come up with eye-catching ads to outdo each other? Is it a day when all of us women feel great about ourselves or is it that we celebrate it simply because that is what everyone is doing? It is important to look deep within ourselves and find out why we want to celebrate womanhood on one day? Shouldn’t it be celebrated every single day of the year?
This year, on International Women’s day, multiple initiatives were kicked off, most of which made it to headlines. Hillary Clinton took to twitter to talk about women’s empowerment, google released a video titled #onedayIwill, women took to the streets to ask for gender parity, brands like Titan released special ads.
Clinton tweeted, ‘Advancing the status of women and girls makes economies grow and nations more secure. It’s the right—and smart—thing to do. #IWD2016 –H’. She also referred to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt holding the first women-only press conference at the White House.
Google took the opportunity to release a video which featured not only the aspirations of women captured in the phrase, “One day I will” but also Malala Yusufzai poignantly saying, “One day we will see every girl in school”. A touching tribute to womanhood, the video presented as a Google Doodle, became the talking point for the day.
Several brands took to different media to express their positioning on Women’s day, Titan being one them. Titan Raga’s #breakthebias advertisement about workplace bias set minds thinking.
Some enterprising men also participated in the public discourse around women’s rights. While it is great to have people commemorate a day through a variety of initiatives and remember for that one day that we were born equal, it goes without saying that this can only be a starting point to usher in a change.
But when will this change occur? Haven’t we waited long enough? Here are some statistics to make you wonder about the dismal state of affairs. The World Economic Forum predicted in 2015 that gender gap won’t close till 2133. Now that’s a long wait!
So what can be done to change the status quo or simply to urge the needle to move in the right direction?The first prerequisite for any kind of change, is a change in our own mental attitude. While it may sound cliched to repeat words that have been spoken through generations, any change on the outside will be ineffective till the mind decides to change.
Let’s get rid of hidden biases that we all harbour, respect ourselves more than ever and take a step to change attitudes including our own. Let’s take forward the healthy thoughts and actions we come up with every year on women’s day.