Monday, June 25, 2018
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Does International Women Day celebrations carry any significance ?

Balbir Ram Rattan

Once again, International Women Day is going to be celebrated on March 8 throughout the world and in length and breadth of our country as well, wherein various political, social, governmental and non-governmental organisations will organise number of functions, workshops, seminars and similar other programmes to highlight the problems of the women, need for their political empowerment and condemnation of ever rising crime against them. Once again, like past practice, the speakers in such programmes will shed crocodile tears on the atrocities committed on the women. At the end of the day, the organisers will greet each other for successful conduct of the programmes patting each other’s back. They may claim of bringing revolution in just a single day of March 8 as far the women are concerned but fact remains that overwhelming majority of women remain exploited, treated shabbily if not harshly. Now the question rises what about remaining364 days till the next International Women Day?

India, the world’s largest democracy, has about fifty per cent of its population of women but still it remains the male dominated society notwithstanding pretensions and claims of treating women equal in all fields and at all echelons of society. Unfortunately, the realities have not changed even after 66 years of independence and the claims that "society is incomplete without a woman" or "behind every successful man, there is a woman" have proved to be totally misleading and mere slogans designed to pay lip service to the fair sex.

Just a glance on the role of a women in her lifetime, while passing through different stages as daughter, as sister, as wife and as mother would reveal that she is expected to work for the family continuously and without any acknowledgement of her services and sacrifices
. Take for example in Hindus, a woman as a wife, is expected to fast whole day on the festival of Karva Chouth, for the good health and long life of her spouse and the spouse on his part, without any corresponding obligation, is free to pursue his pleasures and passions. Every year, on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, she as sister ties a rakhi to her brother expecting her protection by him and thereby acknowledging that she is not safe in the society, is incapable of looking after her interests and brother being male is powerful and capable of making up for her weakneses as a woman. What a woman as mother does every day for the family is universally known. In other words, it can be said that in whatever relation a women lives in family, her contribution has always been splendidly pivotal as a sheet anchor of the family.

Many women have also proved their ability and intelligence in almost every field of life and achieved new heights of success. In many cases, they have even excelled males. Despite their so crucial and irreplacable role in the family and the society and successful career in political, social, business, art, culture and sports fields, they suffer age-old prejudices, injustice, biases and discrimination.
How much concerned the male dominated society in India has been towards the welfare, development and upliftment of women can be well judged from the fact that despite making hue and cry for their political empowerment, a bill regarding grant of reservation to the tune of 33 per cent to them has been hanging fire in the Parliament. Our Parliament has males in majority as its members and the hanging of the said bill for more than two decades itself speaks that the males cannot overcome their personal macho nature and digest the state of equality to women and their adequate representation in decision making bodies.

Will the organisers of programmes and functions of the International Women Day explain as if they are aware of the fact that the mindset of males in our country has not changed and in their eyes a baby girl of four years or an old woman of eighty year are just less than a person. The males, who love and respect their own daughters and sisters and even resort to bloodshed if anything wrong is meted out to their family females, forget that the daughters and sisters of others need to be treated on the same footing.

Although there may be some circles wherein women can be seen enjoying some loaves of freedom and equality but majority of them are underprivileged, poor, illiterate and underdeveloped and are subjected to domestic violence, orthodoxy and inhuman treatment. They are denied property rights.

Despite high claims by government to start various welfare schemes and stringent laws to check violence again them, there has been rise in crime against women with each passing day. Incidents of last few months have shown that even the national capital city like New Delhi is not safe for women.The Damini rape case shook the whole nation and forced the people across the country on come on the streets in large numbers to register protests and demand speedy trial and capital punishment for the culprits.

Upliftment and ensuring fair treatment to the women requires total and complete change in the mental make up of the males. We shall have to abandon our age-old concepts of moralities and so-called proper conduct with regard to the fair sex and treat them as equal in all fields and capabilities. This requires a continuous struggle with our own selves, prejudices and pre-conceived notions.
Merely sitting together once in a year and making claims of brain washing the mindset of males will not serve the real purpose. Hence, let us all use all the 365 days in a year to work towards the welfare and equality of women otherwise every March 8 celebration on international Women Day will only be a ritual and futile exercise with high claims but zero results.The women of the society, who are at high places and have their say in public, should also come forward and utilise their power, enegy and influence to get the society rid of crimes against women.

(Opinions expressed in write-ups/articles/Letters are the sole responsibility of the authors and they may not represent the

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