International Women’s Day 2022 : Are We Breaking The Bias, #BreakTheBias

International Women's Day 2022

International Women’s Day 2022

International Women’s Day is observed on 8th March every year. This day is marked by celebration of the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women. It also embarks upon to accelerate women’s equality. It has been observed since the early 1900’s when the industrialized world saw a booming population. In 1911 International Women’s Day was for the first time honoured in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19th March. Russia observed on the day February 23 between the years 1930 and 1940. However United Nations celebrated its first official International Women’s Day on March 8 which became universally accepted. The International Women’s Day is commemorated from being a public holiday in some countries, in some, it is a day of protest, in others, it celebrates womanhood.

Today we talk about gender equality in almost all countries and despite great advancement by nations, the thought remains a dream. It has been estimated that :
• Approximately 60% women around the world are from the economically weaker society and at a greater risk of falling into poverty.
• Globally women earn 23% less than a man.
• Women occupy only 24% on parliamentary seat worldwide.

It is interesting to note that the female literacy rate in North Korea is 100%, Poland, Russia and Ukraine 99.7%, Italy 99.0%, Serbia 97.5%, China 95.2%, even our neighboring small country Sri Lanka 91.0%, whereas we in India stand at 65.8%. Some neighboring countries have even lower female literacy rate (46.5% Pakistan, 29.8% Afghanistan, 14.0% Chad and 11.0% Niger). The female labour force participation rate of Nepal stands at 81.4%, Vietnam 72.73%, Singapore 61.97%, U.K. 58.09%, USA 56.76%, Serbia 47.92% whereas in India, although the country is rural based, the rate is merely 20.7%. Thus the International Women’s Day calls for great awareness, efforts and labour motivation in order to uplift the status of women in India.

The theme of International Women’s Day 2022 is Break the Bias. We long to imagine a gender equality world, a world free of bias, stereotype and discrimination, a world that is diverse, equitable and inclusive, a world where difference is valued and celebrated, together we can forge women’s equality and collectively we can break the Bias. The scenario today suggests that we are all responsible for our own thoughts and actions all day, every day. We have to break the bias in our communities, in our workplaces, in our Universities, Colleges and Schools. Let us break this bias on International Women’s Day and beyond. Whether the bias is unconscious or deliberate it makes it difficult for women to move ahead. We realize that bias exists but this is not enough, we need action to break the gender bias discrimination and stereotyping whenever we see it. This year the break the bias pose is symbolized with the arms crossed to show the commitment for calling out bias, smashing stereotype, breaking inequality and rejecting discrimination. A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge emerges change. In order to bring about a change a society we have to choose challenge and take steps to celebrate women’s achievement, to raise awareness about women’s equality, to lobby for accelerated gender parity and raise funds for female focused charities.

During COVID-19 women have played an important role constituting about 70% of the global health care work force. Women leaders are stepping up to all challenges, responsibilities, astutely. We have to realize that women are talented, women are achievers, women can succeed in all areas of life and for those women who feel that cannot be like men, they have to realize that they can be like them too and go for equality fairness and a balance of rights. There is no force equal to women who are determinated to rise.

If we look across the history many women have won accolades in different areas. Marie Curie has been honoured twice, with the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics and the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Her daughter Irene Curie was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935. Mother Teresa Nobel Peace Prize & Bharat Ratna, Sarojini Naidu Indian Freedom Fighter, worked closely with Mahatma Gandhi, a poet – also known as Nightingale of India. Rani Laxmi Bai, fought against the Britishers to save Jhansi. Punita Arora, First Woman Lieutenant General of Indian army. Smt. Pratibha Patil First Indian Woman President, the name of Shakuntala Devi was included in Guinness Book of World Records for her mathematical excellence. Mrs. Kiran Bedi First Woman IPS Officer, Kalpana Chawla, First woman to go into space, Santosh Yadav, the first woman in the world to climb Mount Everest twice. Mary Com First Indian Female Boxer to receive Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and first Chairman of State Bank of India, Arundhati Bhattacharya. Today women have made a land mark in business as well – of special reference are Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairman of Biocon, Indra Nooyi Board Member of Amazon, and very recently Falguni Nayar founder Chairman of Nykaa who has brought about a revolution in the share market.

These women have definitely broken the bias to reach the culmination of success but such journeys have to be broken up by more and more women. International Women’s Day is a day of awareness, a day of commitment, a day of realization to reject discrimination and break in equality to bring women to a comfort zone where each woman is dignified, confident and self reliant. On this International Women’s Day let us uphold the dignity of women, they are an equal work force for our country and are capable of raising the economy of the country.