March 8th is celebrated as ‘Women’s Day’ globally. This day marks a special status for women worldwide. This day has been celebrated as ‘International Women’s Day’ since 1931. The United Nations creates a theme each year for the celebration of this day. The theme for 2018 IWD was “Time is now: Rural and Urban activists transforming women’s lives’. The aim is to empower women in all settings, rural and urban and relentlessly claim women’s rights and realize their full potential. The theme for last year (2019) IWD was “Balance for Better” it meant to promote a future in which both men and women are equal in professional status, media perception, the position they hold in government and more. The year 2020 is a pivotal year for advancing gender equality worldwide. The theme for this year IWD is “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights” and “Each for Equal”. The year 2020 represents an unmissable opportunity to mobilize global action to achieve gender equality and human rights of all women and girls. The day isn’t simply a celebration, it is a call to action for everyone to continue to push for gender equality. Although it is a day in a year but it aims to make the year of this day every year.
In the contemporary world the distinction between sex and gender represents an important issue of debate concerning the status and role of women in society. Well, the term ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are sometimes used synonymously and interchangeably. But in a broader sense the two terms are completely different. The two terms refer to ‘biological’ and ‘sociological’ distinction between man and woman. The term ‘sex’ refers to a certain biological difference between man and woman, which is the product of nature. Here, the difference is made by nature and it is unalterable. However, opposite of it, the term ‘gender’ refers to cultural ideas that construct images and expectations of both males and females. Gender is the product of culture, the inequality here is conventional. Nature has divided human race between men and women but their status and role in society are determined by our culture.
According to United Nation report; 1981, “Women constitutes half of the world’s population, perform nearly two-third of its work hours, receive one-tenth of the world’s income and own less than one-hundredth of worlds property”. The condition remains more or less unchanged today.
Talking about our so-called civilized society, a women is recognized as the ‘fair sex’ endowed with special dignities. Manners like ‘ladies first’, ‘reserved seats’ in public vehicles, ‘offering seats’ to the ladies standing in the buses and the invent of ‘ladies special’ are evolved to confirm that dignity. However, in spite of so much importance accorded to women in social life she is systematically deprived of her share in power. She is given security but not an opportunity to learn certain things that would make her competent as man and thereby indicate her claim to equality.
Women are the victim of discrimination in every sphere of life, political, economical, cultural, emotional and so on. She is the victim of harassment, assault and violence. Each day our social media comes with dozens of news regarding sexual harassments and domestic violence.
The Nirbhaya case, Khatua’s Aasiya, the Mathura rape case, Nelofar and Aasiya case, Kunan Poshpora incident, Ayesha Meran, Imrana’s case, etc. are some of the great concerns.
In this world of 21st century, there are instances where one gets this feeling that women are still not considered human. Somewhere she is tortured and beaten like animals, somewhere she is psychologically blackmailed, somewhere she is abused, verbally, emotionally or sexually, somewhere she is murdered and killed at the time of birth, somewhere she is thrown in gutters and dustbins, somewhere she is oppressed by her in-laws, husband or parents, somewhere she is kept inside and somewhere she is burnt alive. Alas! this somewhere exists everywhere.
Our men folk call women “Naqai-ul-Aqal” meaning a “dim witted”; tell them they are the product of the same. They claim that nature has made her inferior, tell them they are given the status of ‘goddess’ by nature and are privileged as ‘heaven beneath her feet’. As it is well said by Moulana Rumi;
“Woman is a ray of God. She is not earthly beloved, she is creative, not created”.
Syed Saba is perusing graduation from aaa Memorial Degree College Bemina.