March 8 is celebrated as International Women’s Day. This year, the United Nations declared the theme as “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality” to emphasize the importance of technology in bringing gender issues to light.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), International Women’s Day emerged from the activities of labour movements in North America and Europe in the twentieth century.
The first National Woman’s Day was observed in the United States on February 28, 1909, in commemoration of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, during which women protested against harsh working conditions.
The United Nations Charter in 1945 became the first international agreement to affirm the principle of equality between men and women. Later, on March 8, 1975, during International Women’s Year, the UN observed its first official International Women’s Day.
Apparently, the context of the theme was about the need for the women to challenge odds and march ahead in every sphere of life. There is perhaps more needed to be done to let her flourish and prosper.
Women and girls experience the greatest impacts of the climate crisis as it amplifies existing gender inequalities and puts women’s lives and livelihoods at risk. Across the globe, women depend more on, yet have less access to, natural resources, and often bear a disproportionate responsibility for securing food, water, and fuel.
There is also a pressing need to challenge the ills prevailing in the society which continue to threaten her because all sorts of tragedies befall daughters-in-law from kitchen fires, suicides and mysterious ailments. Marriage and money continue to be tied together. The fact that dowry has been illegal since 1961 means little. The vast majority of families, from the urban elite to other sections, still pay some form of dowry. The deaths remain an ominuous ignominy across India. Jammu and Kashmir is no exception. Various forms of crimes against women exist. Sometimes the murders are disguised as suicides or kitchen injuries from exploding stoves, even though husbands or in-laws drove the women to kill themselves.
UNESCO’s message is important: there is a need to ensure that women and girls benefit from the opportunities provided by technological transformation while also ensuring equal footing.
International Women’s Day is not only an occasion to celebrate the progress made towards achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment but also to critically reflect on those accomplishments and strive for a greater momentum towards gender equality globally.