Have you ever wondered how International Women’s Day came into being and why it is still celebrated?
The movement originated in the United States. The early 1900s was a period of great social unrest around the world. During this time, women were also starting to become more vocal against the oppression they faced and for their rights. In 1908, 15,000 women marched through the streets of New York City campaigning against the unequal pay, better working conditions and voting rights. This was just the beginning.
Eventually, numerous rallies and campaigns across nations later, in 1913, March 8 was decided upon as the global date for International Women’s Day.
But haven’t all the battles been won for women? Is Women’s Day still actually relevant?
Yes, it is still very much relevant! A lot of women still do not receive equal pay as that of their male counterparts. Their representation in politics and boardrooms is not adequate. Women still trail men in terms of health and education globally. And violence and harassment against women continue to be a serious issue.
We may have come quite a long way, but we still do have a lot of work to do. The movement needs to keep going so that we can fight these inequalities. So, we asked inspiring women from our community and network on what changes they’d like to see and how they themselves are contributing to the movement.
Corporate Trainer & Content Writer
1. One very heartening change that I see in the corporate world over the last decade or so – women being welcomed back to work after a career break. She doesn’t feel the need to justify her reasons for dropping out. If she seeks a second career opening, she will very well get it. All that she needs to focus on is being good at what she does.
2. I am fortunate to be an influencer in this regard, albeit in a small way. I have conducted several training programs – both technical and non-technical to help women get back into the professional groove. When they get back to work, they are looking for reassurance that they are not obsolete. Given the right technical stimulus and motivation, they are ready to soar again!
Marketing Professional & Blogger
1. I’d love to see workplaces that encourage women at all stages of their career to be matched with a mentor, who could be another woman in the organization with skills and experience that would encourage her to forge her own path. The right boss or the right mentor can do wonders, and it’s always been easier for men to have people like these to look up to.
I’ve mostly worked in a startup environment, and I definitely see a gap there which could be filled this way. What I’m advocating for is creating a structured mentorship programme that allows women in senior roles such as myself to be able to lead by example and also pass on our knowledge to women who are new to this environment.
2. I try to contribute to this by taking some time through my day to help a female coworker with a tip or task they seem to be having trouble with, and offering help if needed.
Freelance Editor, Writer & Content Consultant
I believe feminism is more than just about freebies for women every once a year (or when it’s time to fill a pub in the middle of a week—you get the drift!). The only way I know how to spread my conviction is by not only treating women as they deserve to be, respecting them and giving them as much due as possible for their capabilities but also treating men as I would want them to treat women and treat me. Impartial, unhesitant, supportive, and unenvious of their successes. It’s the only world a feminist hope to build, be a part of.
National Growth Team – Brands, Dunzo
1. A change I’d like to see is more women in leading positions, in decision making positions. But for that to begin, more women need to be employed.
2. I believe the only thing we all need to do is unapologetically be ourselves and not be intimidated by patriarchy.
Creative Director, Designer, and Illustrator
1. I think one change I would like to see happen in workplaces is workshops, in general, to address deep-rooted misogynistic beliefs in men and women both. We usually have POSH and other such workshops, but they just skim on basic etiquette and the do’s and dont’s of how one should behave in different situations. But individuals with limited exposure still struggle to let go of the notions they have been raised with. It would be great to have initiatives to help them understand why gender equality is important in today’s world, from ground zero up, so to say.
2. I try to listen to what the other people have to say and make an effort to understand their point of view, rather than just forcing them to accept what is slowly becoming the norm. This helps in building a conversation that I hope slowly chips away at some of the ‘myths’ surrounding women in the workplace.
Director, Life Wordsmith Content Services & Author
1. I’d like to see some more definition of standards for flexible work life. Working as an entrepreneur and remotely is high on flexibility, but clients often misconstrue the individual’s availability. Currently, the expectations are that entrepreneurs are available at all times. There is also no real definition of benefits, holidays etc. Just like regular employees, it would be great to see entrepreneurs gaining structure and a work-life balance.
2. At our workplace, we encourage our writers to take weekends and main holidays off. I regularly take much-needed breaks to refresh myself and enforce timings for day-to-day work. I don’t access calls after 7 PM. My phone is off on Sundays. I embrace a “No Digital Day” on Sunday and read paperbacks. As women, we tend to miss out on balance. Finding this is crucial.
Technical Writer & Content Strategist
Work like a woman, rise as a community:
1. We always complain that women don’t get their deserved due or recognition in workplaces. But the problem also lies within us. Because of the enormous gender gap, we often give up on our ambitions or rising above a few defined (set?) standards. Trying to pursue your passion and willingness is something that is not gender-biased, but we make it so. Make the change from within and see the world flourishing around you!
2. I have been working with a couple of women entrepreneurs, creating a community, organizing activities, motivating them, and trying to build an arena where they can learn from each other. I have been socially active too, with words and artwork, which brings a perspective to the whole women community.
Freelance Writer & Blogger
1. Women in professional capacities should be considered as professionals only, and not be discriminated against on the basis of gender. I believe, whether male or female, at the workplace, an individual should be judged only for their work ethic and capabilities, nothing more. I personally adhere to this, and ensure people who I work with only judge my portfolio or work profile.
2. Being a woman and a freelancer, I also often have people approaching for a casual chit chat on professional platforms which really needs to change. Women should be given the due respect they deserve and treat them as professionals only. For this, I always make it a point not to engage in casual, informal conversations on professional social media platforms. I also ask people to maintain professional decorum while approaching associates.
Content Creator & Media and Brand Consultant
1. Women have become more unapologetic about hustling, and voicing out their opinions even if they are contrary to the popular insights in the meetings. I want to see a time when gender, especially for women, does not become a roadblock for her life. When there is no guilt for being too aggressive, dominating or too thoughtful for simply chasing one’s dreams, be it at the workplace or even in personal lives. I want women to move beyond those adjectives and leaders to empower them based on that thought process.
2. If I see or hear men casually calling names or belittling women, then I voice it out. I remind them there is a dignity and decorum that needs to be maintained. I call out those bro-codes and sensitize them. Even when women bring each other down, I try my best to make them aware and conscious about how they are derailing the whole movement of women empowerment.