International Women’s Day
While I was researching for a psychology paper, I happened to stumble across these words of Aristotle, the famous Greek Philosopher, where he described women as,
“Infertile, imperfect and deformed men”
According to him, women were incomplete without men. He argued that ‘the greater coldness in women meant she was an inferior kind of human being as compared to man.’ He described her to be smaller in body size and claimed that they also have a lesser developed brain as compared to man. Women are weaker, physically and mentally, and should passively allow the man to dominate, he suggested. One argument Aristotle used to support this claim was the idea that during reproduction, “woman is passive and receptive, while man is active and productive” (Gaarder pg. 116 “As you would imagine Mr. Aristotle wasn’t exactly great with the ladies”. It is absurd to view women in such a derogatory fashion especially from such a respected scholar. Then again, reality has followed up on similar lines. Unfortunately, this is exactly how women have been perceived all these years. History of women can be seen as a long journey of struggle against oppression and injustice. From the beginning of time she has been a tool in the hands of man. Suicide, Sati, Rape, sexual harassment, dowry persecution, domestic violence, forced prostitution, female infanticide along with the standard menu of all the other social evils that our society suffers from.
Many people argue that even though rights and laws have been created for the protection of women, women still want to be seen as ‘victims’. Fair enough. Laws and rights to protect women have been developed, but have been enforced as a strongly as a “NO SPITTING” rule in Mumbai or some other simile. Also, these laws and rights have been fought for, not just spoon fed to women over the years.
The revolution can be traced back to the end of the nineteenth century when women had just started their struggle against inequality. Protests, demonstrations and other marches were executed and this great unrest continued through 1908 to 1909.In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding better pay and voting rights. The Leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, Clara Zetkin played a very influential role in tabulating the idea of an International Women’s Day (IWD).In 1913 IWD was transferred to 8 March and this day has remained the global date ever since.
IWD was given official recognition by the United Nations in 1975. According to the Times Of India, The IWD is observed in over a hundred countries. In many countries including Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cuba, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam it is an official holiday. In China, Nepal and Madagascar, it is a holiday only for women.
The first IWD was held on March 19, 1911 in Germany, Austria, Denmark and some other European countries. This day is not highlighted to assert any sort of superiority of one gender over the other. It is just another excuse like Valentine’s Day or Mother’s day that reminds us that we need to respect the role that women play in our lives. We owe our lives to women. So take every chance and pamper the women in your life.
From the past few years IWD has attracted tremendous attention thorough media and other social events. Historically, IWD was celebrated solely with political motives; today it is more about loving and honoring women.
Women have reached outer space, joined legislations, headed successful businesses and are even leading the country today. The younger generation views male dominance as less of a threat as compared to the older generation who have lived through the struggle and know too well that even today that the ratio still remains biased towards men. Men want their royalty and women want just the same. It’s never too late to start afresh. This year, we’re going to celebrate the 101th Women’s day. Forget about dominance and power today. Nobody needs to struggle to be the upper hand in society. It’s time to let go of this pointless rivalry. Work as individual personalities giving your potential best to the society and respect every other being. Equality will follow.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts on this article.