By Neha Singh and Divya Badri
This world women’s day, like every other March 8th, women around the globe will come together to share stories of their personal struggles; of their mothers and grandmothers. We get to see how far we have come and how much more is there to achieve. Before we discuss any of that, let’s look into what is the theme of women’s day: “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights For An Equal Future”
By equal future, we mean access to:
- Equal pay
- Equal sharing of unpaid care and domestic work
- End to sexual harassment and violence against girls and women
- Healthcare services which cater to women’s needs
- Equal participation in political life
- Equal participation in decision-making in all areas of life
Wewill not go around listing the years of oppression and discrimination women have suffered. Neither will we elaborate on how society has changed and the condition of women of my generation is far, far better than that of my female ancestors. Rather, we would like to contemplate the present, in 2020 – a good 25 years since the visionary Beijing Declaration, what have we women done to improve our destinies? Have we caught the bull by its horns?
Women’s Day: Same Gender, Different Struggles
To put all the women and their struggles & issues into a single box would be a gross misrepresentation of the real concerns. One must understand that just like men, women also come from different walks of life. Women from different geographies, from different cultures, and from different educational backgrounds will obviously have very different kinds of struggles. In order to achieve the formidable Goal no 5 on Gender equality, it is important to understand this and the complexities that come with intersectionality.
So while on one hand there is a highly educated, well-qualified lady in a corporate setup facing the glass ceiling effect; there are women in Afghanistan who are denied the right to education. Similarly, while in one part of the globe the conversation is around equal sharing of domestic work; there are a whole bunch of women who have been reduced to nothing but a bank of unpaid laborers. But there is one common thread that binds all these women, i.e. the fight for EQUALITY.
Struggle for equality takes on different roles in different geographies. While for some it is safety on the roads, in case of the others it is the risk of date rapes using date rape drugs and spiked drinks. While some women are fighting workplace harassment, there are others struggling to get their voices heard within their patriarchal family system. Even in international events like the WEF Summit at Davos, which provides a platform for conversation around equality and sustainability, women are under-represented.
Is Davos a Boy’s Club?
Whatever be the kind of struggle, each of these struggles is for real. It involves a deep sense of resolve to voice it out, and a stronger conviction to make life better for, if not their own, but a future generation of women.
Call for Universal Sisterhood
For decades we womenfolk have waited for the men, for the society, for the government and policymakers to come to our rescue. I think it is time we mobilize ourselves and work towards being more assertive to build a case for our better future. After all, no one can understand our struggles better than fellow females.
The need of the hour is to building systems and frameworks, where we can empower each other through actionism more than activism. There should be no conversation on women, without active participation by women. No more manels, please!* No doubt, an inclusive society is the foundation on which an egalitarian future can be built. However, what is needed is women coming together to not just acknowledge the past and current struggles, but also to focus on workable solutions to overcome them. It is our game, and we need to be on top of it. Gender equity is representative of the kind of inclusion we need in society today. When we include everyone, diversity is power.
*All male panels during conferences
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