Over the past year we saw many movements, marches and social media campaigns run for women’s empowerment, rights and causes. We saw a global movement against social harassment and every woman agreed and said #MeToo. This has brought United Nations to spearhead #TimeIsNow on International Women’s Day, which is on 8th March.
The organisation says that the time for change is now. The time for improvement is now. We must make use of it while it is worth it. And if not now, then when?
Rashmi Tiwari, who runs Aahan Foundation to bring tribal women to the mainstream and help them build their futures, agrees with the UN theme. She told Shethepeople.tv, “This is the best of times for women across the world. It’s best because there is increased awareness about the need for women to have equal rights and also women across the sections of society realise the need to raise their voice, demand for their rights and stand for other women as well.”
“Campaigns like #Metoo has created a solidarity among women that no woman is alone and irrespective of the country, race etc the issues of women are same and this calls for a solidarity and sisterhood among women.”
Asha Kowtal, who speaks for the rights of Dalit women, feels that it has been a long time since we must have put the focus on women from this particular community.
“In my opinion, the time for bringing the focus on Dalit women is not now .. but in fact a long time ago! Women from historically marginalised communities have always fallen between the cracks of analysts, policymakers and civil society as well. Aggravated forms of violence, discrimination and impunity need to be challenged urgently. At the same time, constructive, workable models of transformation, healing, hope and justice need to be created.”
Kowtal, who is a part of All India Dalit Mahila Manch, believes in collective action towards justice and freedom.
“If we look at it statistically, this is actually the only real possibility in the history of mankind where gender equality looks like a possibility. It means that it is not just a rhetoric, it is not just something that we keep talking about.”
Collective action is the only way forward for improvement in the system. We need to have a focused approach towards uprooting the deep-seated biases and stereotypes that society has attached with women and what better than a time where we do have some attention.
UN representative of India, Nishtha Satyam, says that there is a much more substantive backup to when we say time is now. “If we look at it statistically, this is actually the only real possibility in the history of mankind where gender equality looks like a possibility. It means that it is not just a rhetoric, it is not just something that we keep talking about. If we give the right push and continue to do and centrestage to women’s issues as we are.”
She feels that the UN and the world have set for themselves a very ambitious 2030 Sustainable Development agenda and goal 5 of which is to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment. Satyam aptly sums it all up by saying that we don’t have much time to get there and it is absolutely time to start working on it.