This International Women’s Day, UN Women, BSE India in partnership with SheThePeople.TV, tried to ‘Ring The Bell’ with all that resonates with the story of feminism in India. Eminent personalities like Milind Soman, Dr. Swaroop Sampat, Ashish Chauhan (MD and CEO of Bombay Stock Exchange) and Mr. Pooran Pandey from the UN came together to literally sound the gong for gender equality on this special day. The agenda was to talk about gender equality in all walks of human life.
In her opening remarks, Dr. Sampat pointed out that the social position of women was much better than men during the times of Indus Valley Civilization, though that changed over the course of history. Women today are denied of their basic social, political and economic rights. Women’s health and well being has become a questionable terrain. On the same, Milind, who is an advocate of physical and mental well being of women in the country and runs a nationwide marathon phenomenon for women called the ‘Pinkathon’, spoke on the issue of cultural barriers to mental well being of women. He said, “Health is all about making the right choices.” The only problem is that women can be expected to almost never make autonomous, informed choices as long as we are considered as belongings. Ashish Chauhan spoke on the need to economically empower women and the rippling effects that it could have on economic growth.
In an equal world, both men and women would have equal access to opportunities and resources. But an absolute utopia is only a human fantasy yet. Speakers pointed out how we only speak about women’s issues and the pressing need to address them on certain special occasions, while the need of the hour is to delve into them each day, and most importantly, ‘Do it Yourself’. Dr. Sampath declared that she wouldn’t wait for the government to do something about it, it’s a battle that each person must take up each day.
Empowerment and access to it were the two important agendas that came to light. The means to it- education, healthcare and finance. The powerful almost always project their perceptions on the powerless, which gives them limited understanding and us a diminished solution that doesn’t really help. Hence, this Women’s Day, each woman must swear to take up every battle, no matter how big or small, and the their own voice. It is only then that the right solutions can be developed.