The Triad of Celebrating Women’s Day
It is that time of the year, yet again!The day which is mentioned across social media posts. Yes, I am talking about emancipation and equality. The celebration of International Women’s Day. “How strong/ steadfast/ beautiful women are”- these statements are way too cliched and rusty. The significance of this day goes much beyond that. I have tried to explore at least some of the beyond-the-cliche- twenty first century ‘Women’s day special’ points below.
Understanding the history of women’s struggles
When, where and how did it all start? It is important to understand the backdrop of this occasion and how the seeds were planted. World wasn’ the same as a century ago. It initially began as a labour movement (1908) in the U.S. over fifteen thousand women marched the streets of New York City to demand better working conditions for women. A year later, the Socialist party declared it as the National Women’s Day. Another year later, Clara Zetkin gave the suggestion for this day to be celebrated as International Women’s Day at an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. A little fast forward in time, and here we are celebrating our 110th International Women’s Day this year. Women and men alike could take out time to revere the Women’s movement and their contributions towards a better world.
Not giving into capitalistic ways to celebrate
How do you typically celebrate Women’s day? By gifting flowers? Jewellery may be? Or the all time favourite Cadbury chocolates? Isn’t it for real that Women’s Day has been reduced down to an occasion to increase sales- from giving offers to huge discounts- capitalism tries its best to allure you into its glimmer and distract you from the very purpose of International Women’s Day. Perhaps, some organizations organize some fun events, and others give women a day off. My point is, do women really want all these pleasantries? I think most of the women would agree that these frivolous materialistic gifts are not something they want. We want freedom, rights and equality in a patriarchal world. We seek empowerment, respect and safety. If you really want to celebrate women, do not romanticize them in socially constructed ideal identities of a sacrificing mother, respectful daughter, caring sister, and dedicated wife. Rather, lift them up, let them live their lives on their own conditions. Free them of all the social injustices. Now, all of this should be taken care of each day, not just on Women’s day. Celebrate us, but not as someone’s wife/ daughter/ mother; but as individuals with their own identity. DIY your celebration ideas for the lovely women in your lives!
Making Women’s day accessible to less privileged
The discourse around Women’s day majorly functions smoothly within the elite, bourgeois and educated classes- leaving behind a large section of society- the lower class women. This Women’s day ensure that you spread awareness about Women’s Day to at least 3 marginalized women and do something to lift them up. Educate them about their rights, sit and talk to them or simply appreciate them and thank them. Include them into the conversation and try to provide them support. We at VIDYA nurture the underprivileged girls to become the boss lady of the future and go get the world. Empowerment at VIDYA looks like second to none. It has its own unique model of fostering equal opportunities by providing them scholarships, mentors and a platform to spread their wings and fly.
PS- I am a living proof!
- Sanjana Nagar (Batch of 2018)