On this significant day I take pride in wishing all women who have been in my life, my mother, sister, friends and all those women who have played a vital part in my life a happy women’s day and pledge to work for their safety, equality, health and better quality of life and to improve their life style. Thank you for all that you have contributed to me and for making the person I am. Now it is my turn and responsibility of every man to contribute to a women’s life.
International Women’s Day or IWD celebrated on 8th of March every year, is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. International Women’s Day was initially celebrated as International Working Women’s Day and the earliest celebration is believed to be held at a socialist political event in New York City in 1909.
In 2016 leaders across the world pledged to take action as champions of gender parity, not only for International Women’s Day, but for every day. Groups and individuals also pledged their support.
The theme for IWD 2017 is #BeBoldForChange – encouraging people to step up and take groundbreaking action to help drive gender equality. It’s an active message that is likely to resonate with the millions of women, girls and men who have taken to the streets to march this year, in opposition to divisive politics.
The first IWD to be officially recognized was in 1911, so the centenary was celebrated in 2011. This year is the 106th. In 2011, former US President Barack Obama proclaimed March to be ‘Women’s History Month’.
Hillary Clinton initiated the 100 Women Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls through International Exchanges, on the eve of IWD this year. Many programs to prevent rape and help rape survivors and those oppressed in conflict zones were also started later across the world.
In spite of all the efforts by various women organisations and initiatives of famous personalities, it is sad that not much has been improved for women. The original aim – to achieve full gender equality for women the world – has still not been realized. A gender pay gap persists across the globe and women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics. Figures show that globally, women’s education, health and violence towards women is still worse than that of men.
On this day let us stand together for the equality and empowerment of women.
Where do women in India stand?
The Constitution of India guarantees to all Indian women equality (Article 14), no discrimination by the State (Article 15(1)), equality of opportunity (Article 16), and equal pay for equal work (Article 39(d)). In addition, it allows special provisions to be made by the State in favor of women and children (Article 15(3)), renounces practices derogatory to the dignity of women (Article 51(A) (e)), and also allows for provisions to be made by the State for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief. (Article 42).
In modern India, women have seen some great heights. From being entrepreneurs to leading the country, from serving their home as proud home makers to serving their nation in the army, women have played some serious role in the development of the nation. women have held high offices including that of the President, Prime Minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Leader of the Opposition, Union Ministers, Chief Ministers and Governors.
But what is the actual condition of women in the Country?
According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India a total of 3,37,922 cases of crime against women (both under various sections of IPC and SLL) were reported in the country during the year 2014 as compared to 3,09,546 in the year 2013, thus showing an increase of 9.2% during the year 2014. These crimes have continuously increased during 2010 – 2014 with 2,13,585 cases reported in 2010, which increased to 2,28,649 cases in 2011, which further increased to 2,44,270 cases 2012 and 3,09,546 cases in 2013. In 2014, a total of 3,37,922 such cases were reported.
The proportion of IPC crimes committed against women towards total IPC crimes has increased during last 5 years from 9.6% in the year 2010 to 11.4% during the year 2014. From Incest rape or Rape by blood relations like father, brother etc., to marital rapes, dowry deaths, honor killings, female infanticide, witchcraft killings or killing for witchery or magical powers, women have been facing a serious threat for their living day by day.
Incidents of incest rape in the country have increased by 25.7% during 2014 over 2013.
In 2012, the Thomson Reuters Foundation ranked India as the worst G20 country in which to be a woman.
- Few female police personnel
- Not enough police in general
- Blaming provocative clothing
- Acceptance of domestic violence
- A lack of public safety
- Stigmatizing the victim
- Encouraging rape victims to compromise
- A sluggish court system
- Few convictions
- Low status of women
65% of Indian men believe women should tolerate violence in order to keep the family together, and women sometimes deserve to be beaten. In January 2011, the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) Questionnaire reported that 24% of Indian men had committed sexual violence at some point during their lives.
Restriction on use of alcohol
There should be prohibition of alcohol use in mass gatherings in institutions, public places like trains and buses. The number of alcohol outlets should be decreased. The age for purchasing alcohol may be raised to 30 years. Special checks on festive occasions are recommended with the help of breath analyzers. Involuntary treatment of persons with alcohol dependence should be carried out.
Role of parents
Any change that is required must be made from young age. Children must be taught to respect and treat the opposite gender equally, instead of restricting from interacting with them. Restriction is only going to create a hype in their mind and will not help at any circumstances. Parents have a vital role to play in this.
Teachers will be given training in value education. Sustained awareness campaigns on gender equality will be undertaken in all schools and colleges and gender modules to be integrated in the curriculum at every level.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau 2013 annual report, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012. Out of these, 24,470 were committed by someone known to the victim that accounts to an astounding 98% of the reported cases. Self defense and martial arts must be made compulsory to every girl student in schools and colleges. A huge level of crime can be reduced by this.
Role of Police
Some research indicates that only 5-6% of rape cases in India are reported to the police. This is mainly due to fear of losing their respect in the community. This attitude must be changed and reporting of crimes must also be made more confidential, that would give the victim and their family the promise for non disclosure of the complaint.
More Women Police
Rapes in prison and jails can be reduced by appointing more women police personnel for both day time and night. Thereby maintaining equality and creating a secure environment to the criminals or the women under custody.
Better safe than sorry
Women must also have more cautious mindset and be prepared for any circumstances that may arise.
- Self defense
- Carrying preventive weapons like pepper sprays and pocket knives
- Using technology that alarms people about your distress along with your location
- Knowing safe and unsafe locations that can be explored while being alone
- Having emergency contact numbers like women trafficking help line, police help line,etc.
This clearly shows that both men and women have huge responsibilities in making India and the world a safe and equal place for women to live in and prosper.