Dr NC Shanta
International Woman’s Day is observed on 8th March, every year. It was started since the year 1975 when United Nations passed its resolution to observe this day after a prolong struggle to protect and promote the rights and liberties of the women in different parts of the world, particularly in western world. The main reason behind the revolution of its observation was to observe the inescapable era of struggles for the long and impaired group of women in their rights in the United States, Russia and Europe. It also informed to all that the only women make a society so let the women folk be promoted and uplifted. Theme of the International Women’s Day 2018 announced by the United Nations as, “Time is now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives”. The theme shows all those activists who work for the uplifment of the gender equality as human rights need to work more as transforming is on the way to come as the time waits none.
The movement of International Women’s Day for the upliftment of women and girls had its origination after the march movement of garment workers of United States started their hard struggle against the long working hours, less wages as compare to male, and unavailable to get the right to vote in 1908. To support the movement, the Socialist Party of America launched its movement again in the year 1909 to avail the said rights and liberties of women. Next to the movement launched by women leader Clara Zetkins of Socialist Democratic Republic, Germany in 1910. The next movement may also be cited here was the great march on 19th March, 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland by more than a million of people against the women’s rights and other discriminations. Women groups were also support to the world peace when the First World War broke out. During the First World War more than two million people of Russian army were died. Against it a large march movement was launched to protest the war giving slogan as the ‘bread and peace’ on March 8th of Gregorian calendar and remembering the first voting right in Russia. On the same day of March 8th whole of the Europe celebrated women’s Day. Then, the United Nations also declared gender equality based on human right between male and female in 1945.
Thus, the International Women’s Day become the world’s women’s Day through many movements around the globe. Here, Clara Zetkin of Germany, Aexandra Kollontai of Russia, and Lucy Burns of United States were also among the women leaders and supporters who framed this historic day as international women’s day.
But, it is to be discussed here with what they say. As the Bible says God>Christ>man>woman>child, in other religions also, women’s place is unrecognised fully. But many philosophers and writers filled their views upgrading the values of women as “You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation”, Brigham Young, a saint leader in United States. Again, what would men be without women? Scarce, Sir ………….mighty scarce”, Mark Twin, an author and humorist, United States. Further, Anais Nin, a French author in her journal, “The Diary” Vol. 5. 1947-1955, p-70, stated, “How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?” At another statement on the same, “The Diary” Vol.I, 1966, She emphasized, “it’s alright for a woman to be, above all, human. I am a woman first of all”. On the same way many more statements were given throughout the world about the women’s values. But, now after such long intolerable and discriminatory versions about the conditions and values of women since the religious practices started, different organisational and non-organisational struggles have been launched. So, the inequalities, oppression, discrimination, harassment, exploitation, etc on various issues of rights and liberties come to closer.
The important facts about the violence against the women’s rights and liberties as reported by a study group were Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Sudan, Guatemala, Mali, Somalia, India, Pakistan and Iraq as the most advanced countries in the world. As the study further stated that for developed and advanced countries, less violence against women’s rights and liberties show as their solidarity. In such countries women’s participations are also more in any governmental or public functions and decision making areas. India’s position in the higher education stage, the percentage of female was 41.6% and 54.4 % for male in the year 2010. It was only 11.4% in the Lok Sabha and only 11.1% in the Rajya Sabha as participatory members in the year 2014. The most important report provided by the World Bank, in the year 2013 as the participatory percentage of women in their countries show very low for India as only 30%.
In most of the countries, the gap of wages among the male and female wage earners have a dissatisfaction as it shows discriminatory action against the rights and liberties of the women groups. Thus, gender equality is necessary to bring a harmonious living throughout the global level. The present Secretary General, Antonio Guterres of the United Nations when he stated his views about the International Women’s Day, he asserted, “Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world”. Thus, it is the challenging task for all to overthrow traditional and unconditional concepts and thought which have its eclipse for many centuries as the most common and global zero tolerance. Thus, dear citizens of the world, let’s make free in concepts and thinking with or without gender as the rights and liberties of our citizens.
(The writer can be contacted at [email protected])
Dr NC Shanta