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International Women’s Day

“It is not good for a man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18)International Women’s Day (IWD) has been observed since the early 1900s, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.

International Women’s Day  is now an official holiday in China, America, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia’, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. The tradition sees men honoring their mothers, wives, girlfriends and colleagues with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation.

Many from a younger generation feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equal wages as those paid to their male counterparts, women are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally the situation of women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.

Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women

To give impetus to this lived reality and to bring women at par with men, the United Nations General Assembly established UN Women on 2 July 2010. UN Women brings together four UN agencies—the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI) and United Nations Development Food for Women (UNIFEM).

In South Asia, the role of UN Women is even more pertinent, considering last progress made by women is critical to achieving development goals in the region.  UN Women work in five areas: Leadership and Participation; Economic empowerment; Ending Violence Against Women; Peace and Security and rational Planning and Budgeting.

Globally, at least one in three women and girls is victim to gender based violence, 60 per cent of all unpaid family workers globally are women and 57 percent of children out of school are girls. Even in politics, till now, Only 28 countries have achieved the 30 per cent target for women in decision-making positions set in the early 1990s. However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and Prime Ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices.

And so the tone and nature of IWD has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder bout the negatives to a celebration of the positives.

Yes, Gender equality needs to become a lived reality, because it is not good for a man to be alone and life becomes impossible.

*The article is written by R Daniel.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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