Shobha shrieked with pain: the blows continued to shower. When she could not defend herself against her husband’s cruelty, she fainted. She found herself in the hospital ward as she opened her eyes. “Do you have something to report ma’am?” asked the police officer. “No,” she replied simply.
Men subject more than 60 percent of women in the poor countries to domestic violence, according to the UN development program. It says: “Women may be half of the world’s population, but seven tenth of the poor people around the globe are women. Two third of the illiterate adults are women, and those who remain, if they are lucky enough to have the freedom to work, can only expect 75 percent of the salary as the man doing the same job. Everywhere women continue to be the victims of violence listed as significant cause of disability and death among women of reproductive age.
International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8. The idea of celebrating this day is for recognizing the importance of women’s role in the society. It is an occasion to review how far they have come in their struggle for equality, peace and development. It is also an opportunity to unite, network and mobilize for meaningful change.
It dates to the year 1857, when one of the first organized actions by the workingwomen anywhere in the world took place. Hundreds of garment and textile women workers went sent on strike in the New York city protesting against low wages, long working hours and inhumane working conditions. The event ended in violent struggle with the police. Fifty-three years later, in August 1910, at a meeting in Copenhagen, the women’s Socialist International decided to commemorate the strike by observing an annual International Women’s Day.
Today, they still refuse justice to women in those countries, where women are treated as second-class citizens or the property of men. Women’s work is unrecognized everywhere in the world and there are still disputes over women’s rights, sometimes cultural, sometimes religious and sometimes social. There are some women, who feel that there is no point in having the international woman’s day every year if the woman is forgotten for the remaining 364 days of the year.
Man and woman, both are essential parts of the most basic human equation. While the circumstances of the cobbler and the judge may clearly differ, nobody would question the right of each human to equality as a citizen, or before the law. In the same way, man and woman can only reach the true equality through the recognition of their substantial differences. A truly civilized society would relish those differences rather than punish women for their sex. But still, nowhere in the world can a woman claim to have same right and opportunities as man. “The advancement of the woman and the achievement of equality between woman and man is the matter of human right and a condition for social justice and should not be seen in isolation as a woman’s issue.” According to the Platform for Action the final document of the conference held in Beijing in 1995. “They are the only way to build a sustainable just and developed society.”
Society neither helps a mother to work, nor makes her feel that she has right to do so. Regardless of the evidence of research, a deep almost subliminal idea is encouraged to needle away at her conscience that the child needs his mother all the time. The guilt can go with her everywhere, augmented by the notion, that only woman has the natural proclivity towards the mother. At work she feels the guilt of not being a good mother and not spending more time with her children. Since she has children, she also suffers the guilt of not working hard enough at her job. In both the quarters, working mothers feel compromise and inadequate.
International Women’s Day is the day we need in order to remind the women around the world to stop, take a deep breath, and think about where we are, what have we achieved, to re-energize ourselves, to mobilize ourselves and set new goals to where we want to reach. This is the day, which the UN has conferred for women because it also enables nationals to stop and think about what they want their women to achieve.
Addressing the problems faced by the women is at heart of a global agenda promoted by the United Nations. By adopting international laws and treaties, United Nations has established a common standard for society to achieve equality between man and the woman. The world now has a growing number of women as policy makers, with a recorded ten women as heads of the state or government.
In his message marking the International Women’s Day in 1995, at Beijing, Boutros Boutros said; “In the global efforts for peace and enduring progress, the promotion and protection of women’s rights are central. Success in the tasks means progress for everyone, young and old, men, women and children,”