Most of we the ‘today’s women’ might have any fine morning imagined of a place where all people have equal rights and opportunities, regardless of their gender. A place where women have equal say in decisions that affect their lives and family and even their bodies. A beautiful place where women and girls feel safe while walking at night. They get paid equally as men, for work of equal value. Families celebrate when a baby girl is born. Alas! to date, not a single country has achieved such gender equality. And thus, the imagination is still a dream for us.
Coincidently, United Nations Organization (UNO) has also designated this year’s theme as ‘Equiterra’; meaning Equal Earth!! to celebrate International Women’s Day 2020; where all people have equal rights and opportunities, regardless of their gender and is accessible for all.
This is to reiterate that twenty-five years ago, 193 countries came together at the 4th World Conference on Women at UNO and promised to take measures that guaranteed gender equality. They signed on to the most comprehensive global roadmap to destination “gender equality”, the Beijing Platform for Action. Although there has been a lot of progress since then, but many of the promises are yet to be fulfilled. Eminent illustrator Ruby Taylor very aptly designed this year’s ‘Equiterra’ theme that depicts:
1. Unstereotype Avenue: where every little girl has the freedom to dream what she wants to be when she grows up. Diversity not feared, but is celebrated and her family and society stand behind her all along.
2. Violence-Free Alley: where women share experiences of empowerment and equality, rather than experiences of sexual harassment, molestation and abuse. They aren’t taught to walk with knives or red chilli powder sprays in their bags. Women are valued and respected here. Domestic violence is a rare layered with strong laws against it.
3. Equal pay street: where women and men are being paid equally for work of equal value. There is no ‘women’s work’ or ‘men’s work’. Women lead their teams perfectly also because household responsibilities shared equally.
4. Toxic Masculinity Recycling Plant: where through innovative dialogues, sensitization and learning, toxic behaviours are transformed into attitudes that perpetuate gender equality. Where men helping their mothers, wives etc. in household chores, share their emotions particularly when they are down. All are happier and mentally healthier.
5. Inclusion square: where people know each other, they care for each other and spend quality time with each other. Where everyone can be himself/herself as people won’t judge or discriminate them for any absurd reason.
6. Climate Action Street: where everybody adores our ‘mother earth’ and try their level best to protect it. Where recycling, compost bins, use public transport, minimal use of plastic, organic agriculture is a normal scene. Leaders in business and government play pivot role in executing policies for environment protection.
7. Equal Representation Avenue: where no one is talking about 33% women reservation quota for women. Men and women are equally represented in political offices, corporate boardrooms and factory floors. Women have equal say in decision making processes.
8. Education Boulevard: where children attend school without worrying about their safety, school fees, availability of books etc. Where especially rural women, are given access to this powerful tool that could enable them to meaningfully and effectively participate in defining the development course to transform their lives.
9. Freedom Avenue: Freedom to express, move, freedom to choose one’s identity, freedom and control over one’s own body. Where everyone is empowered to access any useful information and service, and at appropriate time with dignity.
Though we have come a long way since 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, to date, no country in the world has achieved gender equality. However, as we celebrate Women’s Day globally today on 8thMarch 2020, its high time we reimagine economies, societies, and political systems so that we can uphold human rights and achieve gender equality, leaving no one behind. This responsibility may not be restricted to the young generation, but truly they have a greater responsibility to take this giant leap. And the, ‘Equiterra’ will be a reality!!
About the Author: Dr. Rousy K Baruah has been working on the Social Sector for more than a decade. She is presently the State Project Manager with Assam State Rural Livelihood Mission (ASRLM).
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the authors. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of News Sense and News Sense does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.