Happy women’s day to you. How was the day? This year International Women’s Day’s campaign theme is #balanceforbetter. It is aimed at achieving a gender-balance in the working world. That is so progressive and high up there as far as goals for working women’s rights go. It means that other parameters like exercising basic rights – right to education, right to work, right to speak, right to practice one’s beliefs, right to vote, right to give birth to a baby girl without facing backlash is already being worked on.
It isn’t. Not in all places in the world and especially so in our own country. While International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate working women’s rights, it is also being hailed as a day to celebrate womanhood. Many work spaces have tacky celebrations, half-hearted attempts, and misplaced intentions, after which things get back to being the way they were. Big companies like Airtel, Indian Oil Corporation, Siemens, P&G and many others are yet to appoint an independent woman director as per regulations that come to effect on April 1st 2019. And these are the big guys; it is no brainer what the situation is like in smaller companies. This is the stark reality in the corporate sector these days.
My post today, however, is to bring attention to the numerous women whose lives are governed by the whims and fancies of other women. As mothers, wives, sisters, employees, friends, lovers, workers, law makers women have the power to change the lives of other women for the better and though fantastic attempts are made by some, it is no surprise that many fail and are the reason for an other woman’s misery. We hear of dowry deaths and female infanticide even now.
This day deigns to remind us that there are so many many women out there who don’t have basic rights or dignity in living. There are women who don’t have the freedom to make a choice without a man or another woman giving approval. And sometimes as fellow women we fail to understand these problems. The first step to women’s empowerment should be taken by other women. There should be compassion and empathy among other traits as we give other women their due. I pledge to do so this year.
I leave you with this eye-opening interview with Germaine Greer that was published in THE Hindu on March 8th . According to Wikipedia, Greer is a liberation (or radical) rather than equality feminist. Her goal is not equality with men, which she sees as assimilation and “agreeing to live the lives of unfree men”. She argues instead that liberation is about asserting difference and “insisting on it as a condition of self-definition and self-determination”. It is a struggle for the freedom of women to “define their own values, order their own priorities and decide their own fate”.
That pretty much defines my thoughts on the subject of Feminism. There are too many blurred areas and I need to dive deep to understand it. But for now, I am glad that women like Greer have identified and defined the nature of feminism.