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What does International Women’s Day mean to us?

International Women’s day is celebrated on the 8th of March, a global day meant to commemorate and cheer for the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It is one of the most important days of the year to remember and celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about women’s equality, lobby for accelerated gender parity, fundraise for female-focused charities and other similar issues. 

A big question faced upon framing a particular date meant to celebrate women and their achievement remains, ‘ should every day not be Women’s Day? ‘ We asked several men and women alike, about their opinion on the purpose of women’s day and what it meant to them. While several women felt that the concept of having a particular day set aside for women seemed to tokenise the larger cause for women’s liberation and alienate women from the mainstream that is largely composed of men in the public domain, several felt a set date can surely be kept aside when everything starting from love to health is brought under the umbrella of exhibitionist displays and cheerings. 

Several men felt that while the behaviour of all should reflect the spirit of Women’s Day everyday, celebrating womanhood can surely be pinned to a particular date since women contribute to building, be it a nation or a home. Several felt that centuries of patriarchy can be mitigated by raising awareness about the rights of women for the less privileged who aren’t exposed to ideas of liberation that most urban modern women are well versed in. 

Baishi Dutta, a homemaker from South Calcutta in her late 40s believes, ” If men are compassionate to the women in their lives every day, there would not be much need for a woman’s day. Men can show support through the little gestures in domestic life, specially by appreciating their women more, an act they deserve in more amounts than they receive. “

Tiyasa Biswas, a young IT person in her early 20s believes, “Women’s Day is to be celebrated for all women on a whole irrespective of any grounds. It’s an important cause, in the society we live in, it’s not always that a woman and her achievements are celebrated. So in order to honour her services one must pay respect by dedicating an entire day to their name, that’s the least this mankind can do.”

Her sister, Tirisha Biswas, a high school student of Science in a prominent South Calcutta school takes on Valentine’s Day to exemplify her stance. She says, “If we can celebrate 7 days for our loved one’s in the name of Valentine’s Day, then we should undoubtedly dedicate one day to the women who take  not a single off out of all the 365 days.” Definitely, our younger generation seems to be growing into a wiser and more out-spoken one than their predecessors. 

Aneesh Dey, a young journalist in his 20s has a robust opinion on the matter. He says, “Well it’s sad that years of patriarchy and inequality in treatment forced the advent of one particular day to remind the world women have rights. Education, awareness and willingness to engage in dialogue with an open mind is important and I can only earnestly hope that change comes from within permanently. Not just on a single day.”

While both youngsters and older individuals have mixed views to the existence of a day specifically meant to celebrate womanhood, let us hope that our society evolves enough to infuse the spirit of Women’s Day in all the remaining 364 surrounding it.

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