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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

International Women Day


Ratheesh Kaliyadan

What can a tailor do? Does she decide the destiny of a suit only? If your answer is YES, you are wrong. Here is a wonderful experience of deciding the destiny of womanhood.

The under estimated sections of workers wrote a novel chapter in the history of struggles a century before. On March 08, 1908, a group of women dress makers from New York City united for an agitation against the low graded life situations. They dreamed a better life. The struggle marked historic one. Remembering the agitation, working women celebrate International Women’s Day on every March 08 since the 1900s.

Agitated women dress makers raised their voices boldly and their demands strongly. The major demands were: shorter working hours better pay and equal voting rights. Thousands of dress makers took part in the New York City march.

Women were treated pathetically in those days all over the world. They were an ‘oppressed classes. Gender inequality was on the peak of male domination. The discrepancy reflected in every nooks and corners of women activities including the work places. Agitation for social change is a push of long years’ oppression.

Male dominated cults never considered women as a human being with self-esteem or responsible womanhood. To the orthodox male dominators, women are ‘child producing factories’ and ‘our child bearers’. In India, women were not allowed to cover their nudity properly. Especially denied right to wear dress the chest and parts. The breast and parts exhibited openly due to ‘cultural restrictions’. Casteism played an important role in designing the dress patterns of India. Lower caste women were the victims of such brutal exhibitionism. At the same time, part of rituals some elite caste women also became part of the same exhibitionism occasionally.

Working women were on the fore front of celebrating the International Women Day. The day is utilized to remember various agitations and milestones in the history of women folk. The celebration motivated various agitators to design and redesign ideological strata of their activities.

It was the second International Socialist Women’s Conference held at Copenhagen on August 27, 1910 decided to observe March 8 as international Women’s Day. Women activists from Socialist parties, Progressive movements, Working women associations and others celebrate the day with their own vision and mission. To restructure women life and build up equality is their major need of the day. To achieve the goal we have to march several miles.

In the midst of leftist and socialist shouts and celebrations a new party now joins to the avenue of International Women Day celebrations. They are the capitalists those who invest capital to produce cosmetic items and beauty added commodities. The showcases of these producers are attractively decorated with liberation slogans. Ultimately they hope that the underneath of all liberation activities and protests are to exhibit themselves in attractive suites of cosmetic items. What a challenge! Without wearing our ornaments how can you lead an agitation? If you are not using our talcum powder and facial creams how your faces can will be accepted by your audience? If you hesitate to wear latest fashions what do your followers think about you? The questions continue through attractive advertisement packages. Our new generation ‘activists’ surrender before such questions and quotes knowingly or unknowingly.

United Nations suggests specific theme for the International Women Day celebrations. This year’s theme is: Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women.

A century back, the pioneer agitators shouted the same or related slogans in the streets of New York City. Even after 100 years we realize that the condition of women is not uplifted much. Human right violations, atrocities against women, increasing rape cases, and dowry related tortures, sexual harassments, physical and mental malice…. The never end list continues. A shameful realization to the sympathizers of the needs of our sisters.

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