On March 8th, we celebrate Women’s Day; it’s a day that stores and restaurants offer all kinds of specials for women. It’s a day when random strangers offer roses to women, and wish them a Happy Women’s Day. How delightful. And how utterly tragic! Tragic, that men only feel the need to be nice to women on this one single day – out of a whole 365 days in a year; don’t you think? And then there are those who say – “you people are demanding equality; then why do you need a women’s day? There is no men’s day!” Bravo! Definitely it’s petty thinking on their part – but then again, is it?
Are we really guilty of double standards here? We want equal pay, equal treatment everywhere, and yet want to be pampered on a certain day, want doors to be held, and so on? I know I have jumped into dangerous territory here. And the funny thing is, there is no definitive answer to these questions!
Women have come a long way in the last few decades; today we have women driving trucks, working at petrol stations, flying combat aircraft in war zones, performing complicated surgeries, developing software, building bridges, dispensing justice in courts, heading companies – you name it. A far cry from the ‘acceptable’ and ‘suitable’ professions like nursing, teaching, sewing, and salesgirls – not that there is anything wrong in being any of those.
And yet, the situation has not drastically changed on the domestic front! In most cases, the woman is expected to take care of household chores like cooking, laundry, caring for the children, cleaning and so on. It is only in a few families that men share the responsibilities equally. I am fortunate to have a husband who encourages me professionally and shares domestic responsibility.
Again, when it comes to taking major decisions involving property and finances, more often than not, men decide and expect their women to go along – even when she is contributing equally to the household income. Women are expected to be ‘Superwomen’ today; and perhaps that’s why, the idea of getting pampered at least on one day in a year is so appealing!
I would like to tell my sisters all over the world that how you are treated by others – even family members – is entirely up to you. Do your fair share of the work, by all means, but stand up for yourself, and do NOT become a doormat. The American singer Beyonce says: “We have to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves”. That is so true; nobody is going to take you seriously, if you don’t do so yourself. Treat yourself the way you want others to treat you, and you will see the change in attitudes.
Be bold. Be decisive. You’re a woman, and you’re capable of a great deal. Becoming a mother is one of the most difficult things you achieve – carrying a tiny human being inside your body for 9 months, and bringing that human being out into the world – is a massive achievement. As a woman you can truly say that you can do nearly everything that a man can do, and something that a man cannot! Know, that you are far stronger and bolder than you realize.
Don’t stay hidden in the shadows. Don’t be silent. Let your voice be heard. Your race, religion, beliefs, attire – all that is irrelevant; feel the strength within you. Ayn Rand, the famous author of Atlas Shrugged said, “The question is not who is going to let me; the question is who is going to stop me”!
Whether you’re a working woman or a homemaker, as a woman you’re on duty for your family almost 24/7. Make time for yourself; be very firm about it. Let your loved ones know that you will do what is required for them, but that you need time for yourself too: to do crazy stuff with your friends, to pamper yourself at a salon – or to just read a book or take a nap without being disturbed.
At the workplace, make it very clear, that you are to be treated as an employee, and not as a woman – demand equal pay for equal work; or quit, and find a job that does pay equal wages. Don’t give excuses for not pulling your fair share of the workload either.
Social events can be troublesome for single women; don’t let men intimidate you. You don’t HAVE to talk to a man you don’t like. Put your foot down. Make it amply clear that it’s YOUR choice whom to interact with.
As women, we are blessed: we have salon treatments and makeup, and we can use these to get our way; add a dazzling smile, and you can conquer the world without shedding a single drop of blood!
So if you’re not already, get out there and have the time of your life – after all, you get only one…
Happy Women’s Day!