Just like every year since February, 1908, the day is making huge female-centric news across the globe, after all it is International Women’s day. And each year, the day is marked by governments, giant international corporates, NGOs and pretty much everyone – isn’t it amazing to see the revolutionary mindset to adapt gender equality?
The hype of International Women’s Day reaches every other organisation of the world. PM Modi launched the “beti bachao, beti padhao” programme in Rajasthan to promote awareness of saving girl child and educating them. Then see how McDonald’s upturned its brand logo of M so that it will look like “W” (W for women on women’s day, you see?). International companies like Morgan Stanley, Proctor & Gamble lit up their corporate skyscrapers with women’s symbol for the sake of work equality. Google has the special doodle. Barbie (despite stereotyping feminine beauty) has launched a new ‘history-making’ dolls line. Newspapers have front pages painted in pink and some local Indian daily even put up a “scented” edition (I bet it smelled floral, duh!). Oh, even Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has called for enhancing women’s rights – how about providing basic human rights in your country first, miss?
Isn’t it all good? After all, people are actually respecting women and stepping towards gender equality – even if it lasts for an entire day in the entire year. The powerful messages, those revolutionary thoughts – it passes out a rippling message of change, right? Well it does, but the message fades away the very next day and well, nothing has changed in a century. This can be justified with a look back in history. In February 1908, tens of thousands of female garment workers went on strike and marched through the city to protest against their working conditions. The protests lasted for over a year and then on February 28, 1909 – a National Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time in the U.S.
Then, it was in 1910 when a German campaigner Clara Zetkin took it to international level by introducing it at the International Conference of Working Women – spreading it to most of Europe. However, the truly revolutionary form of Women’s day had been conceived in Russia in 1917 – it was when the protests shifted to March 8 and cutting the long story short, it brought an end to the Romanov dynasty in Russia and abdication of Tsar Nicholas. Sure it was revolutionary back then, but the true revolutionary essence of the event has eroded. Are the situations better for women today? Ask me and you will get a big “NO”. Like today, the women those days too fought against inequality at work places, working at lower wages compared to their male counterparts and facing sexual harassment. Not much has changed. Not for women. And the changed that had occurred back then has faded away. But yes, we got to dress up pink and wish each other a very happy Women’s day, don’t we? Yeah, move over.