International Women’s Day

Perfectly aware that Streak Hue Fall is a hair, fashion and beauty blog, I still feel compelled to address a few socially relevant issues that I deeply feel for through this blog. I would like to share with you all this article that I wrote for an editorial magazine in reaction to International Women’s Day.  Sometimes, a little time from our busy schedules spent ruminating over the ubiquitous situations that affect thousands around us is not much to ask for.

International Women’s Day: An Insight.

8th March 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. A day dedicated to honor the Suffragettes struggle demanding women’s right to vote, International Women’s Day is a timely reminder of women’s achievements and success along with the embedded inequities and discrimination. However, my argument rests on the current day scenario wherein the popular perception and interpretation of Women’s Day is reeling under the heavy burden of popular culture, with its inherent significance being lost in the eventual transaction.
International Women’s Day is highly discriminatory and biased towards a select few. While Bombay Times featured Rani Mukherjee as the guest editor for the Women’s Day issue, Times of India on its front page highlighted the plight of Aruna Shanbaug. Two women, both exemplary and iconic in their own right, exemplify the neat line of distinction that is clearly drawn and repeatedly reinforced in today’s times. While the ‘modern women’ as a concept and a living reality is an achievement and needs to be celebrated, the focus today rests solely on her milestones and applauds only her triumphs. The impoverished and acutely discriminated women are reduced to a mere ‘non-entity’ by both people and the media. International Women’s Day harps on the empowerment of women, but the women who need to be empowered are oblivious to the very existence of this day. Here lays the greatest loophole, often overlooked, in the celebration of this day.
The gender discrimination that a woman has to face raises its ugly head from the time an embryo is formed, explained by the rampant indulgence in female genocide. If given a chance to see the light of day, female infanticide is not an unheard concept. And if you thought that such practices are a story of the past, (chances are that you will as media seldom projects these stories with the same fervor as the glories of celebrities) the recent finding of a new born girl child in a dustbin should be an eye opener. It is on occasions like these, when gender as an identity begins to alarmingly blur and the fundamental rights of women as human beings is called into question.
The State plays an important role in dispensing the fundamental rights to its people. However to ensure that women willfully demand what is rightly theirs, awareness about the very nature of these rights is a prerequisite. Literacy plays a pivotal role in the actualization of this utopia. Education of the girl child will weave together the fragmented and fractured identities of the ‘’Second Sex’’, to quote French feminist writer Simone De Beauvoir. It will shape a woman who is not only economically and politically sound, but also more sensitive towards the needs of other women subjected to violence and abuse. An educated woman will have a voice which will demand to be heard and that voice will thus destroy the tarnished age old vicious web of ignorance, domination, and patriarchy.
A new epoch will dawn when women from countries over the world, not divided by any barriers will celebrate their liberation from the weakening shackles of illiteracy and hegemony. International Women’s Day could then be deemed as a success in its true essence. And if wondering how that day could be attained, Edith Wharton’s words might answer your question if not raise a pertinent few.
“There are two ways of spreading light…
To be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.”
Written by Kavya D’Souza
Photo courtesy: Nikhil Nair

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