What a Women’s Day is NOT
By Meera Venkatesan
Learning Consultant, Performance Storyteller, Trainer, Creative writer, Bangalore
Foreword by Venkat
In this wonderful article, Meera delves deeper into the core of what Women’s Day is truly about. Her writing poignantly peels down the layers under which the cause for rejoicing womanhood for itself, has been swathed in superficial paints of success and consumerism. Her message is brightly hemmed with apt questions to think about.
Let these beautifully strung thoughts bring the meaning of Women’s Day in our minds and hearts in the sense it must be taken and understood.
Meera is into Learning and Development for both K12 and corporates, specializing in designing and delivering story based, scenario based and experiential training. At present she is a Learning Consultant at Anahata United efforts, an NGO brightening lives with career education.
She also conducts and curates storytelling sessions for children as well as adults. I had the fortune of inviting her and her storytelling partner Mrs. Parvathy Easwaran to the apartment kids club I used to run. Their session “Thinking out of the Box” conducted on 3rd November 2019 for kids was powerful and continues to remain in memory to this day.
What a women’s day is NOT
I remember the first time I was wished, “Happy Women’s Day” by an acquaintance. It was more than 15 years back, I was in a parking lot trying to load things into my car and keep an eye on my upset 3 year old daughter at the same time. The list of special days were still fewer at that time. I looked at him surprised and didn’t know how to react. From when were Women wished on women’s day, I thought? What even was that? And what did he mean when he said that to me? Was women’s day a day of generic celebration? What does one do on women’s day?
And fifteen years later, I opened the newspaper which carried an advertisement, talking about what one could gift the special woman on that day- diamonds! Well- my eyes which had begun to widen in surprise that day continued their outward pull today. Why did women have to be gifted on women’s day? What were all the other days- birthdays, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, friendship days- meant for? That brings us back to the same question. What does one do on women’s day?
As a woman, I have to confess, it saddens me that the international women’s day has been hijacked for gifting purposes and wishing purposes by the consumerism hungry industry. A day that is meant to raise awareness about the bias that an unbelievably large number of women still suffer through, cannot be celebrated with wishes? A day that is meant to honor the women who dared to push through the glass as well as the iron ceiling does not call for gifting of diamonds! Well, then-What does one do on women’s day?
Why don’t we make it a point to find the story of one woman who pushed through the molasses of her situation and rose to make sure that her voice was heard, and a change happened? Why don’t we try to share this with one other person to create a chain of knowledge? Why don’t we take one step to ponder over gender bias that is still prevalent, even though cloaked and covered in platitudes?
It is not a day to celebrate a woman’s success for her role as a mother, wife, teacher, emotional support and many more. It is day to remind her that she should celebrate herself irrespective of the roles she plays and irrespective of the purpose she serves. She needs to celebrate herself as an equal human.
By Meera Venkatesan