Is there a need to challenge any belief or a system? Challenge comes only when one doesn’t agree with or accept things been thrown at him or her. What leads to this conflict? We are in the 21st century our priorities should focus on the basic rights of people – political, social freedom as well as economic opportunities for all. Emphasis is also on employment opportunities for women as well as supporting diverse and inclusive work cultures. We are in the digital world, have achieved advancements in all fields of human life and work. But have we achieved parity on gender equity? Have we created an equal and inclusive world for all? Is there still discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender, economic condition or political affiliation? The answer unfortunately is an affirmative one. Till we reach the equal world for all there will be a need to bring to the spotlight the issues that are important but brushed under the carpet. Creating awareness and solving issues that are not justified has been one of the reasons to celebrate International Women’s Day each year; with the hope to bring to the forefront issues that need intervention in creating gender equity. This year’s IWD theme is rightly stated, ‘Choose to Challenge’. There is a need to challenge systems that are defeating as well as questioning all limiting beliefs and mindsets.
History and growth of International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. IWD has existed for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific. IWD provides the perfect opportunity to get involved in forging women’s equality in the workplace. One of the biggest employer engagement days of the year, it sees organizations amplify and reinforce commitment to helping build an inclusive world. Additionally, IWD sees many organizations celebrate and applaud the work and achievements of women. (Source: IWD website)
Expectations from organisations that employ women
Which organizations are the Prime Employers for Women and what makes them so. Here are a few guidelines of IWD:
IWD Important Missions
IWD also acknowledges a number of important missions aimed at the following:
What women want
There is a day marked for acknowledging, accepting, appreciating and empowering women. The celebrations may continue for a week or two at the most depending on the availability and convenience of all involved.
But is it what empowerment is all about? Why should there be a need to celebrate such days? Why can’t acknowledgement and empowerment be a part of the normal way of life?
It is noteworthy to see even nature follows equality and equal opportunity in all its forms for instance; for every male species there is an equal female but only when it comes to humans we have managed to skew everything. Be it the gender ratio or opportunities for growth both on the personal as well as professional fronts. We have stereotyped and manipulated at every opportunity possible sometimes denying the basic rights to women. Some are more impacted than the others but everyone has faced it in varying degrees.
This International Women’s Day, we urge the governments and organisations to pledge concrete steps to truly empower women by giving them equal opportunities. Organizations need to maintain a committed and continuous focus on equity, equality, diversity and inclusion as a part of their organisational ethos. They also should employ progressive policies, practices or mechanisms to support women’s career progressions by way of mentorship and succession planning.
Women really don’t need public functions and discounts from brands but something that is concrete and has tangible results. They wouldn’t really like to celebrate such days and that’ll happen only when following gender equity as well as diversity and inclusion in the true sense. Till then let’s wish the ladies a very Happy International Women’s Day.
This article first appeared in my column in the ET Hospitality World. Picture is taken from Google with due credits