For centuries, in many climes and cultures, the expectations from women have remained the same – be virtuous, be submissive, be hardworking. A woman is expected to ‘’keep the home”, to “bear it”, to live a life of sacrifice because she is “woman” – a word that equated to “object” as well as subject. We were taught to act a certain way, not because we had the dignity of being human but the duty to comply as “woman”. And so it has been, that women have been sidelined, subjugated and humiliated by cultures, laws and systems for thousands of years.
In recent times however, and in line with this year’s theme for the International Women’s Day celebration, ‘Balance for Better’, laudable achievements have been recorded across the world through vigorous activism by both women and men alike. In 2017 and 2018 the ‘Me Too’ and ‘Time’s Up Movement’ which began in the United States led to the rise of a universal movement against sexual harassment and discrimination against women at work. In Africa, the Rwandan and South African legislature have witnessed remarkable growth in gender equality and female representation. In Saudi Arabia women are now free to exercise their franchise and most recently, to vote. In India and other parts, efforts are being made to break the barriers against the girl child education.
While today many advocate for equal rights and representation for women, to still so many, the thought of a woman conjures a baby making factory, a pounded yam machine, a caretaker, a punching bag. At work, we are considered liabilities because if we aren’t at ante-natal, we are on maternity leave right before we become pregnant again!
But what remains indestructible is the force that lies within us women. They put us through fire, but they forget that gold does not burn, it refines. They put us through the storm, but we are the sea. They trample over us, but we are seeds and so continue to give life. They dim our light, but we are the sun!
So are we getting the representation we deserve? Not yet. But soon we will, because now more than ever we know who we are and will fight to just be, to live freely. Now we know that the word WOMAN means strength, it means power. It means equal, it means capable. It means brave, it means fierce. It means love, it means kind. It means crown, it means Queen. It means divine, it means infinite!
So join us at C4C as we celebrate today, the 8th of March, which is the International Women’s Day and as we continue to do our best to ensure #BalanceForBetter for women. It is the only road to sustainable envelopment and peace.
Happy Women’s Day!