With all due respect to the festivities and emotions surrounding Women’s Day, I seriously doubt how many people really know why this day is a special one for women.
I heard something quite amusing while travelling in the metro yesterday. A petite girl who was standing next to me was quite anxious and the reason behind her anxiety, which I discovered while overhearing her conversation on the phone, almost made me question the importance of Women’s Day in today’s society. All I could gather from the one-sided phone conversation was that her boyfriend had arranged for a lavish date with her on Women’s Day and she was worried that she didn’t have the perfect dress for the occasion and there was no time left to go for shopping.
I was still thinking about the girl I met in the metro when I reached home and I was greeted by another surprise waiting for me. One of my cousins arrived at my place full of plans for Women’s Day. She was planning to celebrate the occasion with her friends and came to invite me to the same party.
“What’s so important about Women’s Day that everyone is celebrating it?” I asked her.
“Stop being such a spoilsport! Tell me are you coming or not?”
“I would come, if you tell me why is Women’s Day celebrated?” I counter questioned her.
“What do you mean. It’s a day to celebrate womanhood,” she replied without even bothering to explain further.
“Do you know that there was a once a time when women were not allowed to vote and this day has something to do with that?” I probed.
“Errr. Yes, of course. Do you really want me to explain that?”
I had caught her on the wrong foot. It seemed people were busy celebrating Women’s Day without even realising it’s real meaning. I didn’t feel the need to explain to my cousin that on March 8, 1917, women gained the right to vote in Russia and this day became a national holiday there and it was mostly celebrated by people in certain countries until United Nations declared March 8 as International Women’s Day.
It was because of the sacrifice and protests of millions that women today can enjoy many rights, including the right to vote. This is the real meaning of womanhood—when one woman fights for her sisters’ rights, supporting each other all the way. But sadly, not many know about them nor does they realise the real spirit of Women’s Day.
I don’t need a special day to remind me of womanhood. I will still be a woman, even if there aren’t specials days to remind me of that. However, we do need a special day to remember and respect all men and women, who made this day possible—a time where a woman can exercise her rights, feel free and do whatever she likes. And for that, I would forever be grateful.
Happy Women’s Day!
—By R K Kashyap