The fundamental purpose of obtaining complete gender equality for women in the world has still not been accomplished. A gender pay gap persists across the globe. Women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics. Figures show that globally, women’s education, well-being and violence towards women is still more severe than that of men.

World Economic Forum report asserted that the gender gap wouldn’t close until 2186. On IWD, women across the globe come together to overpower the world to recognise these inequalities, while also valuing the achievements of women who have overcome these difficulties.

Violence against women

Rape is the fourth most prevalent crime against women in India. 98% of cases reported that the perpetrator was known to the victim. It also stated that crime against a woman is committed every three minutes.

65% of Indian men believe women should endure violence to keep the family together. Some even believe that women deserve to be beaten. In January 2011, the International Men and Gender Equality Survey Questionnaire reported that 24% of Indian men had committed sexual violence at some period during their lives.

Even a large number of cases go unreported. This is because of the threat of contempt or humiliation faced by the woman. As well as an enormous burden not to spoil the family’s reputation.

The police officials are encouraged to accept bribery from the family of the accused. And in fear of more gruesome crimes, such as Honour Killings. Even doctors often resort to extremely invasive and rudimentary procedures such as the offensive “two-finger test”. This can worsen the situation and be emotionally deteriorating for the survivor.

The perpetuation of patriarchy since birth

The perpetuation of violence against women in India continues because of many systems of sexism and patriarchy in position within Indian culture. Starting from childhood, young girls are given less access to schooling than their male counterparts.

Gender-based inequality is present even before that. However, it is recorded that female children are fed less and are given less hearty nutrition that contains little to no butter, milk, or other wholesome foods.

Married women in India serve to see violence as a habitual component of being married.

Global Equality Gap

According to a 2017 study by the World Economic Forum, it will take another century before the equality gap between men and women goes entirely. In 2019, women worked “for free” from November 14 until the end of the year because of the gender pay gap. The pay of women is half of what men get paid for the same work.

For the past years, women’s rights have dominated the news, following global accounts on sexual abuse crossing all industries. Following the flow of allegations against Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men in charge, the #MeToo movement gave a pedestal to women to voice their anguish against the exploitation and harassment they experience in film, fashion, music, politics and art. It became a watershed moment for the movement, bringing together women from various walks of life.

With gender parity still a sharp 167 years away, many are envisioning the trajectory of women’s rights advances as the year continues.

Also Read: Women’s Day Special: Ladies You Have Made Us Proud!

What is this year’s theme?

The theme for IWD 2020 is #EachforEqual, upholding all of the steps we can take as individuals to defy stereotypes, fight discrimination and celebrate women’s achievements.

The year 2020 is an imperative one for women rights. Its the silver jubilee anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most radical strategy for achieving gender equality in the world. It also marks ten years since the founding of UN Women. And it is the 20th birthday of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

What Women Have To Say

Amira Dhawan of Symbiosis Law School believes that International Women’s Day is crucial today more than ever because women need to empower other women and not clash with each other. “More than telling others about our strains, it is about embracing each other, reminding us that together we can transcend all societal boundaries”. She further says that we should rejoice the sisterhood and stop rivalling our traumatic experiences.

“This day is to celebrate the importance of women in any country, by highlighting our achievements and how special we all are. Because without women, the country’s progress fails”, says Anugya, a media student at Delhi University. She says that we all celebrate this day on March 8, but in the coming days we again start to take women for granted. “Men as usual question the essence of feminism. Such a day is the need of this hour, but we should celebrate women every day and break this vicious cycle.”

While Prachi of Indraprastha College for Women, says that women work so vigorously, yet their work goes unrecognised. “Women not only work hard bodily but mentally, as well. It is difficult to be a woman because a woman is always doubted in society”. She accepts that every day we should celebrate women, but eventually, people do disregard their importance and stop appreciating them. “For a housewife and a working woman, even a festival is not a festival. She has to work hard, prepare food, decorate the house, and that is why there should be a separate day to celebrate women, especially”, she adds.

What Men Have To Say

Aayush believes that there is nothing more important than celebrating Women’s Day. He quotes Virginia Woolf and says, “Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size”. He emphasises that this day enhances the self-confidence of women worldwide as for years women have served as the models of inferiority who enlarge the superiority of men.

“Women are still discriminated against in every sphere of life. They do have the same rights as men, but are not allowed to exercise them”, says Vipul, a business executive. He firmly believes that one should celebrate women every day, but this day should be an example of what to follow for the rest of the year.

While, Shanker, a grandfather of two beautiful girls, says that in Indian culture, we worship Goddesses daily and Women’s day is a western concept. He still believes that women’s day is vital as it helps in recognising where we stand together as a society on women’s issues. “Its a moment of self-reflection as what one can do to ensure gender equality.”

Also Read: Embrace Your Womanliness And Yourself: A Women’s Day Poem

Saumya Rastogi is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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