“To tell a woman everything she cannot do is to tell her what she
can.” –Spanish Proverb
“Here’s to strong women: May we know them. May we be them. May
we raise them.” –Unknown
Women’s rights are a responsibility that must be supported and celebrated throughout the year. But on International Women’s Day which is being celebrated on March 8, it is even more important that we should take a strong stand for women’s equality. For those of you
who are not aware, International Women’s Day started in the early 1900s and was slowly transformed into a global day that celebrated the social, cultural, economic and political accomplishments of women throughout the world. The day also serves as a call to action
to accelerate women’s equality and free them from the shackles of both patriarchy and matriarchy.
The theme chosen for this year’s International Women's Day is both novel and unique.
The theme is ‘Choose to Challenge’ and states that the women are responsible for their own thoughts and actions every day and they challenge the world every day.
The theme also denotes that women have every right to challenge gender bias and inequality in the world. This is understandably so as it is high time that women all over the world have access to an environment that is peaceful as well as the access to equal opportunities and rights.
It is also both endearing and fascinating to see how people’s outlooks have changed towards women and how their immense contributions have been valued in today’s world. Saudi Arabia’s decision to include women in their military services was a landmark
decision, encouraging other Gulf Nations to shed their prejudices as some of these nations have always held a traditional view about not drafting women in the armed forces. Well, as
Bob Dylan famously sang, the times they are a changing.
An interesting back story emerges when someone asks why International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8. For the answer, we time travel back to 1917. On March 8 in the same year, women gained suffrage in the then Soviet Russia. Later, March 8 was declared as a national holiday in Russia and the day was celebrated by communist countries as well as the socialist movements across the world. 60 years later, in 1977, United Nations recognized this date and began celebrating it as International Women's Day.
It’s 2021, and we have come a long way! The International Women’s Day has an official website which came up with this unique and lovely campaign theme. Now, it asks the organizations and the people in it to share their images with #ChooseToChallenge in the
caption. All that one needs to do in the picture is put a hand up facing the camera which will symbolize you calling out and standing against gender bias. The picture with the #ChooseToChallenge hand- up pose should be in the of ratio 16:9 and can feature on their
Because of the challenges still posed by the pandemic, safe distancing is a practice that should still be practiced in our day to day lives. But you can overcome these challenges and yet choose to challenge!
Here are 5 simple and safe ways you can celebrate IWD 2021 to pay
tribute to the women who have made a difference in your life,
whether at home or at work.
At work, get your entire team involved in the official #ChooseToChallenge campaign. Collect the team in an office or virtually in a chatroom and strike a pose by raising your hand. The #ChooseToChallenge pose that is! This pose signifies your commitment to choose to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes, and help forge an inclusive world & Why not submit the picture as a pledge on the IWD site too?
Take some time out and deliver a speech thanking the women in your team or organization. Remember, it’s the little steps that help to push the bigger cause of gender equality at the workplace.
Extend support to women who run small businesses. To run any form of business is not easy, and many women are emerging from their moulds and starting the trend of being self-reliant or 'atmanirbhar’. Show your support for these women by signing up for a yoga session or purchasing flowers from the local woman selling flowers to vegetables. Even a kind word helps. Shout out your encouragement online by writing a good review. A simple action can go miles.
Ask your HR to review your internal policies as what’s most needed is a mind-set change in the organization. The management must be coerced for flexible work policies for
women who have to balance work as well as family. Better pay structures to ensure gender pay equity in the workplace is a must.
Last but not the least; keep things simple and classic with a personalized thank-you note. Often, we see people forgetting the ladies at home who work tirelessly and without pay to
make our lives more meaningful and happy. Spare a thought for those ladies as well! We often tend to underestimate the impact a simple ‘thank you’ can have on someone which is much more than a gift. It shows that you choose to care and love! As they say, it’s the thought that counts! Remember that we are all responsible for our thoughts and actions
and that a challenged world is an alert and safer world. So, it’s basically up to us and we can choose to challenge to highlight gender bias and inequality. Similarly, we can choose to find and celebrate the achievements of women in our lives as well as around the world.
It’s one world, and together we can make it better by uniting to help creating a world that is inclusive.
From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge.
Wishing everyone a Happy International Women's Day 2021!
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