Here are some feminist moments of 2020 that made us believe that no pandemic and societal norms can stop women from shattering the existing stereotypes.
2020 has been a challenging year forcing most people to adapt to new realities. And yes, of course! This year made me realise that people are capable not only to adapt but to thrive on change. With the end of 2020 comes the end of the second decade of the twenty-first century. This year of existential threat has put the world’s nervous systems on high alert, but let me tell you that it’s not that bad as you think it is! 2020 has emerged as a year of great feminist achievements.
2020 certainly turned out differently. Despite being unique and challenging, the year didn’t stop feminists from achieving some great things over the last 12 months. This article is a comprehensive flashback of the feminist moments that shaped this year into believing us that no pandemic and societal norms can stop women from shattering the existing stereotypes.
1. Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking: Moment of Kamala Harris
Let me start by saying that Kamala Harris spoke for every woman when she said, “Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking”. It was a moment during the US vice presidential debate that women across the world found relatable. These five words by Harris became a battle cry and soon graced social media.
The moment not only was heartfelt by the women around the world but also puts the fact straight out that what it is like to be a woman in a corporate or workplace setting, a woman in a patriarchal society – and just a woman, period.
Men are often socialised to display dominance in competitive public settings like debates and interrupting is considered as a power move (Remember Trump with Hillary Clinton?), but this time Harris nailed the moment. With her calm words and a beautiful broad smile on her face, she won the hearts on social media. #MrVicePresidentImspeaking trended on Twitter for the rest of the day, while many brands announced their hoodies, masks, cups, caps with the logo: I’m speaking.
2. Equal roles for women in Defence forces
If I’m taking 2020 as a year of many feminist movements, there’s no way I can forget about a 26-year-old woman leading an all-male contingent on the Republic Day parade. Captain Tania Shergill, wearing a khaki uniform and holding a ceremonial sword created history by becoming the first woman Parade Adjutant to lead all-men contingents during the Army Day function. The very beginning of the year saw history turning around.
Other than this, the stunning and startling portrayal of women in the Armed forces via Republic Day parade, the year 2020 also witnessed the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court that will enable women to serve as army commanders. The court ordered the country’s government to grant permanent commission and command positions to female officers in the army on par with men.
3. Once a daughter, always a daughter: Rights to ancestral property:
It is rightly said that “Once a daughter always a daughter…son is a son till he is married.” We all have often heard this statement but if this is true why daughters are always considered to be “paraya dhan” and sons enjoy every right on their parent’s assets? A big and pertinent question with often no answer.
But 2020 being a hero emerged as a year of rights. 2020 will always be remembered as a year when daughters got equal rights in their ancestral assets. In September, the Supreme Court declared that a daughter is entitled to equal rights over parental property in accordance with the 2005 amendment in the Hindu Succession Act.
However, we should always remember that we still have a long way to go as a society. Though we have received this right on paper, the question remains: Are we ready to accept the new change? Well, I don’t really have an answer now but I still believe in the fact that it’s better to have something than nothing.
4. Let’s smash the patriarchy, me and you
Rhea Chakraborty the prime accused in her boyfriend Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case was spotted outside the NCB office wearing a casual t-shirt that read, “Roses are red, violets are blue, let’s smash the patriarchy, me and you.” I guess, there is no person in India who doesn’t know who Rhea Chakraborty is, you still have a doubt? You can even ask my grandmother about her. Rhea went through the most brutal media trial that our country has ever witnessed.
From a “gold-digger” to “kaala jaadu” to a “vish kanya” (poisonous girl), she was labelled all the names that exist in a stereotypical-patriarchal mindset. This misogynistic approach of the media trials and abuses on the internet was a clear case of patriarchal mindset towards a woman’s character.
During the trial, nobody wanted to interfere, some Bollywood celebs after sometime stood in support of the actress. After Rhea was spotted with the impactful message on her t-shirt, the words on the t-shirt became quite popular. While some believed that the actress was trying to play the so-called “woman-card”, some believed that the message – Let’s smash the patriarchy, me and you – shook the foundations of patriarchy in India, and also the actress was well-aware of the treatment she was receiving.
5. Scotland made period products free
Another reason to praise 2020 is that during this year Scotland became the first country to allow free and universal access to menstrual products, including tampons and pads. This empowering decision by Scotland’s government made almost every country in the world realise how important it is to provide proper access to sanitary products.
This decision came in view to eradicate period poverty as some people are unable to access sanitary products because they can’t afford them. This news from Scotland made us realise that period poverty is affecting almost half of the population of the world. Therefore, uninterrupted access to sanitary products anywhere and everywhere is the right of every single person who bleeds.