Women’s day deserves more attention

Alakananda Mookerjee

Alakananda Mookerjee

March 8 was International Women’s Day. Each year on that day, feminist scholars, women’s rights activists and even United Nations bigwigs deliver long, female-centric speeches. Impressive statistics about women’s progress around the globe are dished out like candy in a jar. A round of rallies and demonstrations are held in various world capitals.

But how many of you celebrated it? Better yet, how many of you even knew about it? Not too many, I’m afraid. What do we attribute this acute lack of awareness to? We, the women ourselves? The society that we live in? The government? The advertising industry? In my opinion, they all are guilty to an extent.

Culprit One – Women: Vitriolic as this might sound, women are their own worst enemies. To a significant number of the female population, “feminism” is still a dirty word. It hardly makes sense for women to be unsympathetic to the causes of their own kind. FYI, feminists aren’t necessarily angry, ugly, man-hating creatures. And if that’s the case, any other woman can be as well.

Culprit Two – Society: From a very early age, girls are taught to be docile, timid and shy. Is there anything remotely sinful about being audible, sociable and expressive of one’s desires?

Culprit Three – Government: The observance of one day a year dedicated to women does little to help the cause of millions of women worldwide who still suffer from socio-cultural, economic and political biases on account of their gender.

Culprit Four – Ad industry: The ad world appears to be terribly biased against women and that’s apparent in the way they are used as props in advertisements. The adman will tell you that sex sells. OK. But I ask: Why not pay a little tribute to women on a day dedicated to them? How many billboards, signs, web banners and departmental store POPs, and other marketing paraphernalia, do we see celebrating International Women’s Day?

It is naivet