- Did you know that it’s been more than a century since we started celebrating Women’s Day?
- Did you know the United Nations (UN) started celebrating it officially in 1975?
- Did you know that every year it has a different theme and the first-ever theme was “Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future,” adopted by the UN in 1996?
Remember the Date: March 8th, 2021
It’s okay if you didn’t know the above trivia questions; what you should know for sure is that International Women’s Day (IWD) is being celebrated on Monday, March 8th, 2021. Like every year, we will celebrate women’s progress in every sphere, be it society, political, and economics. The year 2021 is unique in many ways; after bidding goodbye to the pandemic year 2020 and suffering many setbacks, we are gradually coming back to track. We will hardly remember the pandemic lockdowns, losses, and looming hopelessness in a couple of years. One thing that will still remain is gender bias. We have come so far. However, there is still a long way to go when it comes to gender equality.
What’s the 2021 IWD Theme?
While we celebrate the progress, it’s essential to keep progressing by raising awareness. Choosing a new theme is an excellent way to create awareness. For 2021 the theme for women’s day is #ChooseToChallenge. The idea is to stay alert and challenge gender bias and inequality—the campaign states. “We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.” Such a powerful theme; that calls everyone to take responsibility and question anything and everything that may directly or indirectly widen the inequality gap.
Why #ChooseToChallenge Is Super Important?
In most countries, society, education systems and, governments don’t like the idea of being challenged. If we talk about our country, we are encouraged to not challenge the status quo right from childhood. Be it home, school, or neighborhood. In the pursuit of respecting our elders and seniors, we lose the fundamental spirit of speaking our minds and challenging what doesn’t feel right. As we grow up and become an obedient taxpaying workforce and join various industries, obedience remains the same for our bosses and seniors.
This attitude of not challenging and accepting things as it is from our higher authority or someone more experienced does more harm than helping us. Things are gradually changing; I remember moving from writing “Your’s obediently” to “Thank you” during my school days. A better way could have been “Lovingly” or “Respectfully” after all, love and respect are far superior feelings than showing obedience.
Challenging the norms is way more difficult for females. One can argue, present random findings, show data and share few examples, but we all know the truth. Gender bias is for real and still very much prevalent.
What Can We Do?
Well, we can do a lot to improve the situation than we think. Here are few basics that don’t require massive effort and can be done at an individual level:
- Charity Begins at Home: It’s easy to lecture others, however it is tricky to change our own mindset. Introspect, and you will find many things which you can correct within yourself. A small example, during the pandemic lockdown, how proudly we (men) claimed that we have done dishes or household chores. In contrast, if it’s done by women, it’s considered normal. Interestingly, women must also introspect; many times, they are the culprit of gender bias themselves. Remember a woman, can do a lot to sensitize the men in the house, be it your father, brother, husband, or friends.
- A Wrong Remains a Wrong: Change is necessary; however, it is the most challenging aspect of human behavior. Let’s take an example of the “Dowry System” everyone knows it is wrong, in fact, a criminal offense. However, it is still prevalent. Doesn’t matter how well you have raised your daughter, and if she is a doctor or a pilot, the moment you agree to give dowry, you mess up everything. If something is wrong, it is wrong; you may wrap it up beautifully with the cover of beliefs, traditions, societal pressure, and so on. The fact is it is still wrong. Imagine a life-long relationship starting on un-equal terms.
- Sow the Seeds Early: Children are impressionable, especially during early childhood (age 0-8). We need to take care of what we do, say, or behave in front of them and hence create a healthy value system. Never-ever discriminate based on gender; they should learn the importance of respecting each other. Those small statements “don’t cry like girls,” “boys don’t cry,” “girls are weak, you are strong” may look like a pep talk, but they remain in our heads throughout our lives. Let the kids ask questions, let them prove you wrong, and challenge your beliefs at a young age. If they can prove it, accept graciously.
Let’s raise our hands high to show that we are in this together and committed to “choose to challenge” and call out inequality and gender bias. Happy Women’s Day to everyone, Don’t forget to Choose to Challenge, Cheers!
Photo: quang nguyen vinh on pexels
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