Friday, March 8, 2019

Awaiting the true International Women's Day

Today March 8th, 2019 is the 110th year that the world is celebrating International Women's Day. How far have women really come from the early 1900s to now? Iceland has been voted the most gender equal nation for the 10th consecutive year. Let us see where India stands.

Closer home, the population Census 2011 states that there are 940 females for every 1000 male. Hence, we still need campaigns like 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' even in the 21st century. India has been ranked in the 108th position out of 149 countries on the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap 2017. The Gender gap was measured across 4 key pillars - Economic opportunity, Political empowerment, Educational attainment and Health, and survival. Despite the same qualifications, Indian men get 30% more pay than women according to an ILO report in 2018,

The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs ( MIWE) has ranked India 52nd out of 57 countries, judged on the parity for Women Entrepreneurs. The 6th Economic Census by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), finds only 14% of businesses in India are run by women. Considering all these aspects, how much time and effort is still required for women to celebrate this year's theme of #BalanceforBetter?

The above might just be numbers and statistics. But when we observe within our own environment, it starts with the microcosm that is the 'Family'. Within our own spheres haven't we come across women who are being subjugated or abused either physically or emotionally by the men in their lives? Mind you this is not restricted to any particular socio-economic class.

Sex determination and female foeticide are still rampant, be it in urban or rural areas. Girls are still considered to be a liability.

I have come across women who work at menial jobs, just so that their children can get better education translating into better job prospects and better lives, with absolutely no support from their husbands.

Women working outside of the home are still trying to put on different hats to be that 'Perfect' mother, wife, daughter, daughter in law, friend etc all at the same time. At times they have to sacrifice their promotions and job assignments outside for the sake of the family.

A woman who is a homemaker has to face the ignominy of 'not working outside and earning', though she is the busiest, working to make family life that much more meaningful and comfortable for all.

These are the everyday women, the real heroes, who despite facing hardships and frequent knocks are out there with boundless energy, smiling, working harder because they want to bring about that change. A salute to all the women out there, and hoping that a time comes when we no longer need to celebrate Women's Day to showcase different facets and areas where women are facing challenges, but celebrate a lifetime of 'Humanity Day' where the word 'Gender' is stuck out of the dictionary.

3 comments:

Unknown said...

So true.

Unknown said...

Shobhana, this is a brilliant write up. I just loved it. Hoping for more empowerment to all women out there

Unknown said...

Shobhana, this is a brilliant write up. I just loved it. Hoping for more empowerment for each woman out there. Kanu