The International Women’s Day is celebrated with much pomp and grandeur all across the globe except for the fact that it is celebrated for all the wrong reasons and in an entirely wrong manner. It has been reduced to a consumerism tool with special offers for women on jewellery, perfume, spas and even special ladies’ nights in clubs. The consumerism aspect of the celebration completely eclipses the true spirit of the day and the acknowledgement of the simple fact that women are essentially not treated equal to men is not taken seriously. The very fact that all industries take this opportunity to flog all sort of “feminine” things to the women in the community feeds into the cycle of inequality and identifying women with only colours like pink. Contrarily, to make the day useful to bridge the existing inequality, the day could be observed with more solemnity and seriousness to illustrate the extent to which women are discriminated against. The sheer pomp and grandeur of the celebration, takes away from the day, the real purpose of its celebration.
While all multi-national companies look at this day as an opportunity to sell feminine products, they could contribute to the cause in a different manner. For example, these companies could just check what percentage of their workforce was comprised of women, how many women held senior posts or if there were any female CEOs. Moreover, companies could do their bit to make sure men and women in the same post get equal payments and also enforce a logical maternity leave policy.
Several inherent biases exist in the minds of the millennials as well, because even in the so-called liberal environment, they have grown up with a surrounding that has normalized certain biases. For instance, all companies, schools and all other sort of institutions make things for women which are pink in colour by default. Clothing brands make clothes for women without pockets because they assume women will carry a handbag. In corporate meetings or normal parties, we have grown up seeing mothers being seated at the back while the fathers always occupied the front seat. The very normal everyday things that portray certain biases are extremely problematic. When the waiters at a restaurant push the bill towards the males on the table, the feminist movement dies a little.
In order to fix the challenges to feminism, the starting point was to deal with the legal barriers. However, once they were fixed, they caused little benefit to the feminist movement because embedded cultural biases continued to prevail. The minute number of women in politics, engineering, adventure sports point out the flaws in the society at large. In a country like India for instance, where women’s sins are considered to be the reason for a husband’s death, feminism has not evolved much. Not exercising feminism at all is, however, not as big a problem as implementation of pseudo-feminism in the country. A country where fathers have to be worried when their daughters go out of the house post 9 pm because she might be raped is a country that has not taken care of its humanitarian growth, let alone the concept of feminism.
The root of this problem could be tracked down to the top-bottom approach of misinterpretation about the image of women. The people in power need to set an example for the people of the country regarding treatment towards women and only then can the change percolate to layers of middle-class section of the society. Further, a major problem began when people started associating a feminist with someone who is completely different from the normal people and hates men. This can be fixed when the majority of the populace start believing that everybody can either be a feminist or a misogynist because feminism isn’t essentially about hating men, but about equality for women in every aspect.
Picture Courtesy- womensorg.com