International Women’s Day was originally started by women of the Socialist Party of America in 1908 demanding shorter working hours, better pay, and the right to vote for women.
COVID-19 pandemic has put a stop to many things but one thing that still remains very much on the calendar is International Women’s Day, the event that celebrates womanhood and recognises the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women globally. March 8 always brings that time of the year when social media gets polished with pink to celebrate women! La Festa Della Donna in Italy, Frauentag in Berlin, and International Women’s Day all over the world, the day is dedicated to celebrate the achievements of women throughout history.
It’s been more than a century since people around the world have been marking March 8 as a day special for women. International Women’s Day was originally started by women of the Socialist Party of America in 1908 demanding shorter working hours, better pay, and the right to vote for women. The seed that was planted early in the 20th century has grown into an annual celebration now. The day was later adopted by the United Nations in 1975 and things were made official.
It is rightly said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Women are often overlooked when it comes to history or better, I say it as his-story. Even in the oft-heard, read and studied mythology, women often get lost somewhere. In Mahabharata when the Kauravas and Pandavas were battling in the war field under the watchful eyes of Krishna, the tale somewhere forgets to epitomize the grace and gratitude, and strength and sacrifice of Draupadi, Kunti, Gandhari and Shikhandi.
The story full of agony, struggles, pride, and love of Draupadi (PANCHALI- wife of the legendary five brothers) gets lost in the battle that continues to go between the brothers of the same kingdom. The same happens with Sita in Ramayana. Nobody noticed the pain that Sita went through and the tale forever remained the story of two powerful men: Rama and Ravana. The story deliberately establishes the fact that it becomes unfavourable for a woman to survive in this patriarchal society when she decides to live with her vanity.
Today, women of the world want and deserve an equal future free from stigma, stereotypes and violence. The fight is all about the freedom to live life on the terms established for herself by herself. With this year’s Women’s Day theme – “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”, tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world is being celebrated to shape a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Colour of Women’s Day:
Purple, green and white are the colours of International Women’s Day. Purple signifies justice and dignity. Green symbolizes hope, while white represents purity. It is being believed that these colours originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the UK in 1908.
The year 2021 got kicked off with the inauguration ceremony of Kamala Harris as the first female, first black and first Asian-American Vice President of the United States. Women are now leading the world and this is sure to become great times in history.
Stereotypes women are trying to get past:
Gender biases and stereotypes have always been prevalent in our society. There are many stereotypes today that women are trying to surpass and have been trying to get past them for decades now. Many a time, Women’s Day is seen as an opportunity by many people to create sexist jokes about women.
Many cracks jokes about women being clever, tricky, and the most obvious joke, women take forever to get ready. This is all done without even understanding the sexist nature of the joke and just to be funny. Apart from this, the glorification of women creates another type of stereotype. Women single-handedly taking care of her house, children and also in some cases her work is absolutely amazing and is, of course, laudable but nobody spares a single thought to how unfair this all is to her.
Women’s Day hijacked by corporates:
While the first “Women’s Day” was held by American socialists in 1908, it was soon picked up by others worldwide. Women’s Day often gets hijacked by corporates and brands, businesses see it as a means to earn more via special offers during Women’s Day Sales. Different brands use feminism and women as a method to attract the audience towards their products.
Positive stereotypes which empower women without belittling men, hashtags, and statements on t-shirts that with impressive words gather the attention of the audience, and many such strategies are used by the companies to make profit through a Day which is actually meant to celebrate the achievements of the women present in or society.