Manipal woke up to a plethora of WhatsApp forwards, post flooding their Facebook walls as the morning dawned to the International Women’s Day (IWD) 2018, a day honouring the various achievements- social, economic, political and cultural- that women have achieved. People also witnessed Google’s tribute to women living all over the world, who reached out to 12 female artists and through their visuals, shared their personal stories. These 12 inspiring stories has been translated to over 80 languages for a wider audience.
However, even as we honour and wish our female companions and co-workers, what really is important is, do we really need a particular day in the year to commemorate the opposite gender? The entire day is marred by scrolling through such content on Facebook, or seeing countless story updates on WhatsApp, Instagram or even Snapchat for that matter. It almost feels as if we do it as an obligation, and we really don’t mean it. Sure, the importance of women in the society cannot be neither neglected or undermined, but if we really honour and respect them, then why restrict the admiration for a particular day? Why do we have to overdo it on one fateful day in March? Companies seize this opportunity by offering various schemes and plans exclusively for women. This severely damages the little essence this day holds. Can’t they leave a single day without living with their incentives to generate profits?
Manipal is no exception to this scenario. While the various colleges and institutes affiliated to the University promote this event through its function and programmes, it more or less feels like an attempt to make-up for the ongoing instances of cat-calling and eve-teasing. How are the female students supposed to celebrate or accept any appreciation or admiration for them on this day when there is no assurance of their safety tomorrow or the day after? Be it being called by different disrespectful and objectionable names or being followed on the streets, women have to go through anything and everything. It is saddening to see this happen in a place like Manipal, mostly inhabited by students, should be a liberal and open society.
Honestly, why do we need men to give women their rights? Isn’t that where we see inequality and gender discrimination the most? Who are we to give them their rights? When men are given a voice for women, when men are used as a megaphone for women, it hurts. Why can’t men just let women speak for themselves? The worst part is that we only have questions, not answers.
A Happy Women’s Day, maybe?