On every 8th March, International Women’s Day, we pledge to make this world better for the better halves of human species. However, in stark contrast, we are living in an age where worldwide, 35 per cent of women have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. On average women in the labour market still earn 20 per cent less than men globally. And as of 2018, only 24 per cent of all national parliamentarians were female. Therefore, the journey to equality seems to be long and hard.
Generations of women have clamoured, asserted, protested and fought for gender equality. While we have reached the 21st century, to great bewilderment, there are many who still frown at the mention of gender equality. These are people who are unable to conceive the essence of gender equality. Gender equality does not mean ‘letting’ women do things. Gender equality stipulates humane consideration to the fellow feminine beings so that they can enjoy the wonders of the world without any qualms. Gender equality means women are given due respect and due recognition for their efforts socially and economically. It presupposes that women are decision-makers of their choices in educational, professional, political, social, cultural, economical and sexual facets of their life. Gender equality does not strip men off their privileges, but, in reality, would unshackle them from many stifling stereotypes.
No wonder that even today, gender equality is still something that women have to make claim for, every single time. Equal treatment for women, when finally meted out, is often perceived as a goodwill gesture. Who doesn’t know that when something is offered to you as a favor, it strips off the goodness in the actual act of giving?
To our delight, modern day woman is not eternally waiting for the alms of the patriarchal society. She is a seeker, a go-getter, unapologetically ambitious and successful. She is still a loving daughter, caring wife, doting mother, responsible homemaker and knowledgeable social being. Nothing in the world can be compared to the amount of care and thought that a woman puts to each and every aspect and entity of her life. She is indeed a wonder.
While women have affirmed their rightful space in every walk of life, one must admit there is still residual insecurity in the general feminine psyche. Women are always in the race to impress, assert and prove themselves. Every day is a constant struggle to establish that they are worthy of everything that they demanded. It is pretty exasperating to see how easily women are judged.
While accolades, appreciation and recognition come relatively easily to a man, a successful woman would invariably have disconcerting tales of judgement, humiliation and negation.
And irrespective of whether they are successful or not, there are certain norms that have been set for women, something which they dare not break. In contrast to men, women are always expected to look “beautiful”, to be at their best consistently. The general perception attributes beauty as the single most defining feature of a woman. It overrides the intellectual, physical, artistic or any other feminine accomplishments. So even the most proficient female achievers are pre-occupied and constrained by their outward appearance. Research has found that Australian women spend $15 billion on grooming annually, whereas men spend only $7 billion.
The result – women are constantly under pressure to “look good”.
Neither men nor women themselves are concerned about how women “feel”.
Beauty is only a part of woman’s identity. Just as it is for a man. How do we drive home this point?
While we do not expect the society to change overnight, at least women should stop judging themselves based only on looks. Each woman is a treasure trove of uncultivated skills, interests and capabilities.
Start to look within.
Understand oneself not from other’s point of view, but from within.
Be at peace with oneself.
Derive confidence from within.
When we find the inner beauty, nothing extraneous will shake the equilibrium. When thoughts are pure and positive, the face will exude radiance. Explore the treasure in you, nurture the buds and let yourself bloom. The true beauty of a real woman reflects in her soul.