The Women’s Day is almost here. So, let’s ask the important question – Who is the independent, successful, empowered woman of today? If the media and the advertising world is to be believed, if you want to be the independent woman, you need to follow certain steps. Your hair needs to be colored with a particular hair color, you obviously need a new haircut, and oh yes! Bring on those cosmetics and make-up products! And what good is all this, if you are not wearing the correct clothes and shoes? Here comes the shopping spree. And lingerie? Everybody knows an empowered woman has to be beautiful inside out, isn’t it? And don’t worry. Shhh! We have Women’s Day discounts on everything! And did you book the table for the women’s day celebration dinner? And what about that event on women empowerment which is also an exhibition cum sale, so you can pick up some nice stuff while chatting about how women need to fight for their rights?
The above might seem a tad bit harsh, but it’s true. Women’s Day has become just a day to celebrate and send flowers and presents across to the women in your lives. A day for the urban woman to take a break from the kitchen and go out for a fancy dinner. A day to post ‘thank-you mom’ or ‘thank-you wife’ messages on the social media. A day for sending quotes on woman empowerment placed prettily on an image with a strong-looking woman in the background.
But is that enough?
Hardly! While female fetuses are still being killed in the wombs or infant girls buried alive or abandoned; while women still feel unsafe on the streets and in their own houses, we can hardly say the women are empowered. Domestic and sexual violence is still on the rise in spite of the laws. The gender pay gap is an issue so big all over the world that experts believe it will be another 118 years for this gap to close. The sex ratio in India is skewed even today despite the government’s efforts to educate the people on this subject. In rural India, girls are still being forced by their circumstances to drop out of the school.
The way ahead!
We must admit, though, that women empowerment, even though highly lacking, has come a long way! From the times when girls were denied education and basic rights and were married off without their consents to men twice their age, we have definitely come a long way.
But a woman’s life is not easy in a country like India with its deep-rooted patriarchal views. Education is definitely the first step to bring about a change. Awareness about one’s rights is important for women to know what is wrong and what is right. The normalization of women’s issues, saying that this is how the world works needs to stop and it needs to stop right NOW! There is a strong need to sensitize people about the issues of women. Today’s boys who will be men tomorrow, need to be taught early on that men and women are equal. Not just the men, even the women need to understand that they deserve equal rights. Women need to support each other today, more than ever.
Women are born strong and can reach for the stars if they set their minds on it. The self-victimization needs to stop and it’s time women took matters into their own hands. But just as the world is incomplete without women, it is so without men too! Equality between men and woman can be achieved only when both the sexes work together towards it. And equality is the first step towards true women empowerment!