Hey all International Women ‘s day was celebrated yesterday! and celebrated every year on March 8.
While looking up for the past behind this day, we came across a website and found that the International women ‘s day is celebrated for two reasons according to UNGA( cited by Women Watch) one of them primarily being ‘to recognize the fact that securing peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms require the active participation, equality and development of women.’
However there was a time when even celebrating the idea of being a woman, of recognizing woman as a social and a political identity remained grim.
There were other problems in face like transition from Monarchy to Constitutional Monarchy and then a Republic in France, World Wars, and the quench of power. To ask for the rights for a woman, was to merely raise a voice with inflection but which could not deter the status quo of women in the society. That is women being lower than men.
Europe, which boasts today of guaranteeing the most rights of people in its laws, was quite different in the nineteenth century. This image did not prevail in the nineteenth century perhaps waiting for some realization, protests to change the stillness of no change.
Long working hours, and poor working conditions were problems bemusing themselves in the dark while we saw an advantageous Industrialisation in Europe and America. Women were betrothed early and expected to run households. In Russia, women were an essential part of the workforce but were paid less than men! Poor working conditions and gender inequality gave the push to women to finally come out in protest!
From France which saw women demanding essential rights denied to them, to garment worker ‘s strike in New York which saw women coming out- women joined a greater narrative. One highlighted their gender of course, but the second intertwined their identity to that with a common person facing struggles.
World War outcomes saw many women taking up the lead. Like in Petrograd, Russia, women came out on the streets and opposed the food shortages caused due to war.
The opposition in Russia was one of the major events behind International Women ‘s day. The opposition to common problems transformed the identity of women and the way we perceive a female ‘s role now! The world shares an extensive history knitted together by various struggles of common people for better working conditions and better rights.
During the pandemic peak, ASHA workers in our country India played a major role from taking covid tests and ensuring home isolation, to conducting vaccination drives and surveys and holding awareness campaigns. They have been integral in reducing the impact of the first wave of the pandemic. However, the condition of ASHA workers today is deplorable and categorized by irregular pays. A tweak of imagination will unfold the difficulty of facing myths, fears, prejudice, and reluctance by the people in rural areas all in one. This is what ASHA workers do though.
As we celebrate international women ‘s day, we must understand that it not only celebrates a woman and her identity but also takes us into the fights she made for achieving better working conditions and for coming out of problems. One problem beckons our attention now!