International Women’s Day protecting the equality and rights of Women is being celebrated worldwide on March 8, 2017.
Two events caught my attention and set me thinking on this day this year. One ‘good and novel’ and the other ‘not so good and execrable’.
To the ‘good’ first : The word celebration brings to my mind acts of doing good, enjoying together, extolling and praising people, and such other acts that distinguish one another. This year a tech giant in an effort to laud the efforts of women who overcame barriers/hurdles; and to celebrate their cultural, social, and convivial association with others extended a gift through its ‘core competence’ , that is, ‘streaming shows’. The giant company, “Netflix”, seized the opportunity to edify the ‘bold and independent’ qualities of women through women-centric shows even as the act qualifies for being an excellent marketing move using an important occasion. The list of shows for this entertainment (that every woman will long for) and celebration includes the following : ” The Good Wife” (dealing with work pressure and a cheating husband); “Lila and Eve” (study of two women who meet in a support group when each lost a child to murder); ” Grace and Frankie” (highlighting the bond between two unlikely friends brought together after their husbands announce they are in love and plan to get married); ” My Week with Marilyn” (about the Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe’s little escapade with a young Brit for a week of self discovery and frivolity); ” Sairat” (love story between two college students, a rich man’s daughter and a fisherman’s son leading to ugly violence in the village because they defy social norms – Marathi film); “Orphan Back” ( a woman witnesses the suicide of another woman looking just like her which leads her to assume the deceased’s identity unlocking a world of secrets – Canadian film).
Tech giant’s deep engagement and strong desire to get the better of others in the pack with positive appreciation is clearly evident here.
To the ‘not so good’ Second : The affronting, archaistic, defamatory, misogynistic, offensive, and shameful attack on Women by the Polish Politician, Jenusz Karwin-Mikke, in the European Parliamentary Debate on gender pay gap : ” Women must earn less than men, they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent. He had in earlier years said that women should not be allowed to vote.” This on March 3, 2017 – a good 109 years after 15000 women marched through New York City demanding better pay, shorter hours, and voting rights; through to the UN Conference on IWD; and to this day when men honor mothers, wives, girlfriends, and colleagues with flowers on Women’s Day to spread the growth of women for positive change.
This when ‘women’ in English is pronounced as ‘wi’man’, that is, ‘we men’ implying qualities of men embedded in their character, virtues, work or any other essential features in the modern era.
This when the “Women’s Voluntary Service” of 1938-1966 acquired the term ‘Royal’ to become “Women’s Royal Voluntary Service” to provide a nationwide service assisting government departments, local administration, and other voluntary bodies in organising and carrying out welfare and emergency work for the community even this day.
This when even at times ancient women felt suppressed and to which they willingly submitted to as an accepted way of life in the society, or the days when men pursued women with a singular purpose of amorous adventures, there still existed a sense and spirit of a hidden movement with the aim of liberating women, achieving equality with men in job opportunities, legal status, pay … …
This when the possession of the electoral franchise by women, “Women’s Suffrage”, has been a big step in their becoming part of the mainstream activities which remained the sole preserve of men for long. The term weakness associated with women had come to be obliterated.
In the light of the above, the rhetoric of the Polish politician needs to be construed as a ” leze femality” , if I may use the term, by the women universally during the investigation into his hate speech by the European Parliament immediately. That this happened in 2017 is shocking and to the disbelief of everyone, everywhere. Women Protests of the nature of the Washington protest of January 21, 2017, which spread to most cities of the world like Sydney, London, Paris, Auckland, Barcelona, Berlin, Georgia, Greece, Czech Republic, Capetown, Ghana, Nairobi, Wellington may well be in order.
India has the tradition of heraldically depicting and celebrating the names of men with the names of women as prefixion in a sense. Just note the following names : ‘Sita’raman; ‘Lakshmi’Narasimhan; ‘Radha’krishnan; ‘Jaya’raman, ‘Rama’subramanian; … …and many more – all beginning with names of ladies as ‘Sita’, ‘Lakshmi’, ‘Radha’, ‘Jaya’, and ‘Rama’. These are names of goddesses too. India also holds ladies in high esteem in many different ways – You cannot witness any inaugural function, be it in a Conference, a Convention, or anything influencing anyone assuming the responsibilities of a Leader – without either an opening invocation song, or lighting of the lamp by a lady or a group of ladies.
” Honor Women! They entwine and weave heavenly roses in our earthly life.”
“Dieu avec nous”
Tuesday, March 7, 2017 – 12. 29 p.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.