To be dead honest, i had no idea that 8 March has been dedicated for the celebration of Women. Not a clue. Over a few months, i have watched very little television, and my exposure to radio is limited to the morning show, and snippets of some random shows while being driven around. Newspapers have started depressing me and apart from looking at the headlines, i have ceased to voraciously consume articles and follow up on blogs. There is too much stress in my life and i need my sanity to deal with life issues and make light of them. Seeing the angry Sharifs, the ever smiling President, the clueless Prime Minister, the dolled up Sherry, the smug Mushy and the Insane Taseer is not a priorty and is certainly not my cup if tea for now. All that though is beyond the point. Women’s Day! Yes! that is what i was taking about.
Point is therefore- the clueless me was very much pleasantly surprised this Saturday afternoon, when two men enetered the Legal Affairs Department and handed me a blue coloured box and a card and wished me a very happy women’s day on behalf of the company. I could not help but smile and felt very embaressed when the men smiled back. ” Control -Control- don’t be too expressive”, i silently scolded myself but what could i do- This was so unusual and who does not like nice surprises. The gift turned out to be a very femine cup with the company’s logo on it and the card was equally nice and elegant. Me like. Me like very much. Here are the pictures. =)
I naturally wikied like we all do and here is the history behind the International Women Day:
“The first IWD was observed on 28 February 1909 in the United States following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. Among other relevant historic events, it came to commemorate the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. The idea of having an international Women’s day was first put forward at the turn of the 20th century amid rapid world industrialization and economic expansion that led to protests over working conditions. By urban legend,women from clothing and textile factories staged one such protest on 8 March 1857 in New York City. The garment workers were protesting against very poor working conditions and low wages. The protesters were attacked and dispersed by police. These women established their first labor union in the same month two years later.”
“More protests followed on 8 March in subsequent years, most notably in 1908 when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. In 1910 the first international women’s conference was held in Copenhagen by the Second International and an ‘International Women’s Day’ was established, which was submitted by the important German Socialist Clara Zetkin, although no date was specified.The following year, 1911, IWD was marked by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, on March 19.However, soon thereafter, on March 25, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City killed over 140 garment workers. A lack of safety measures was blamed for the high death toll. Furthermore, on the eve of World War I, women across Europe held peace rallies on 8 March 1913. In the West, International Women’s Day was commemorated during the 1910s and 1920s, but dwindled. It was revived by the rise of feminism in the 1960s.
Demonstrations marking International Women’s Day in Russia proved to be the first stage of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Following the October Revolution, the Bolshevik feminist Alexandra Kollontai persuaded Lenin to make it an official holiday in the Soviet Union, and it was established, but was a working day until 1965. On May 8, 1965 by the decree of the USSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet International Women’s Day was declared as a non working day in the USSR “in commemoration of the outstanding merits of Soviet women in communistic construction, in the defense of their Motherland during the Great Patriotic War, in their heroism and selflessness at the front and in the rear, and also marking the great contribution of women to strengthening friendship between peoples, and the struggle for peace. But still, women’s day must be celebrated as are other holidays.”
The running theme in the history behind this day is again, “Struggle”. We women have never had it easy and most of the time we have struggled for almost everything in our lives. Those who, however have had it easy are only a handful . As for the rest, their entire life is a struggle and a battle. Life is a fight for their basic rights to education, marriage, career , and what not. And then the battle continues, and some day you find yourself fighting for the very similar rights for your own daughter. It’s a vicious cycle. My mother once aptly said that a woman spends her entire life worrying and praying. First she prays and worries for her parents and her siblings, then she prays and worries about her inlaws and husband, then for her our own offsprings, and then for her grand children. There are very few women who actually worry about themselves especially in our society. Women never think twice before becoming sacrificial lambs and scapegoats for their loved ones. And when these women suddenly decide that enough is enough- it is never taken well by those very loved ones and the society for whom they have endeavoured through out their lives.
Its the year 2009 and women empowerment is the new buzz word in the west. But what about our very own country. Crazy so called Muslim Swati Talibans have been shutting schools for girls and the karo kari syndrome still runs through those feudal lands. Has domestic violence ended? Far from it. We are still where we started and have a far way to go. And trust me, the way to go forward is certainly not, something like the, “Pink Chadi Campaign” – Oh, but i’m drifting again.. lets leave that for now.
But you see why women are so special- they never give up. *Kudos*