Editorial: International Women’s Day –Celebration Or Reminder?

Editorial: International Women’s Day –Celebration Or Reminder?

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Saturday, March 09, 2024, 10:30 AM IST
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Only political struggles hold hope for millions of women who cannot partake in the celebrations of this day | Kjell Meek/Pixabay

As is the custom lately, International Women’s Day is all about celebration with a hint of reminders about the long road ahead. The celebration has become increasingly materialistic, driven by capitalist enterprises around the world which have completely appropriated the day that was marked in calendars more than 115 years ago by socialists. There could not be irony deeper than this. However, to remind people around of the socialist origins of the day — including women’s struggle for an eight-hour workday and humane working conditions — draws surprise if not complete disbelief. Such is the power of Mammon that promises women improved lives with shopping festivals, discounts and special treats; such is the buy-in of millions of independent women into this imagination that the political aspects of the day matter little, if at all, to most of them.

The day is a reminder that violence against women — and crimes against women — continue to plague societies of all persuasions; it has been used, despite protests and documentation, as a weapon of war including in Gaza by attacking Israeli soldiers. Everyday violence in India, including molestation and sexual harassment, continues unabated as do rapes and, according to the National Crime Records Bureau, a significant proportion of crimes involved cruelty by husband or in-laws. The gender pay gap is yet to appear on agenda of governments, women in low-paying jobs — roughly 80% of the 40 million garment workers around the world are women between 18 and 24 years, thousands of women health activists or ASHA workers in India’s states are agitating for better and on-time pay — is a blot on society. Worse, studies are demonstrating that women’s weight and motherhood affect their employability and wages. Politics is, indeed, personal in a gendered way for only political struggles hold hope for millions of women in India and around the world who cannot partake in the celebrations of this day.

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