On this occasion of International Women’s Day, we need to look back at what we have accomplished for the better status of women in society and what more needs to be done. The status of women be it in the economic, social, or political sphere, needs to be analyzed and needs to make sure that gender is not a factor anymore.
We have several government support programs, social media campaigns, and women activism movements, but a lot remain to claim significant improvements in this regard. The hidden issues which are still behind closed doors can be looked at only when the people who suffer get a voice of their own, that is, women.
If we have a peek in the economic sphere, women contribute mostly in unpaid labor, which includes taking care of the family, bearing children, taking care of the house. Only 29% of management roles are occupied by women as of 2020, which is a direct impact of the glass ceiling effect, which does not let women grow above a certain level in corporate offices. The burden of managing workload along with family responsibilities is impacting the efficiency of women. Women form the major chunk of the impoverished population, due to the patriarchal setup of the society- no hereditary rights (termed as “Hissa maangne waali”), no decision-making rights, and not even a right on how many children they have. These common but strong reasons have a strong impact, and if this needs to change, women need to stand up for these rights – method can be spreading awareness, reducing fear from what society will think, and if need be, a legal course as well.
Talking about the social angle, the status is not much different. The number of laws in India against female foeticide and infanticide is a testament to the views of people for the girl child. Despite a girl child being twice as strong as a male child at the time of birth, we face a low female-to-male ratio. Girls need to go out of their way to have a quality education despite several upliftment programs by the government, this can be attributed to the mindset of parents. Social customs have always held women as inferior, and our histories are marred with such tragic beliefs. For curing this we need a complete reset from the past belief of considering women as a “Bojh” to “Dharohar”. Women should focus on building on themselves and need to challenge the notions to change them.
Lastly, but most importantly, we need to look at leadership. Time and again women have proved their leadership skills, but still, we see minimal participation from women in these roles. Despite the one-third reservation of women in local bodies, we have a patriarchal rule in the form of “Pradhanpati”. World politics has only 24% of representation from women leaders.
The above views show the sad reality of the status of women, which can be twisted only if women around the world are made aware of their rights, and it’s time women stand for themselves as no one understands the sufferings of women more than themselves. The quote from Rosalyn Sussman fits well, “We live in a world where a significant fraction of people, including women, believe that a woman belongs and wants to belong exclusively in the home.”