Imagine a world without coffee and your refrigerator has yet to be invented. The call waiting and caller ID functionality that we exploit to their full potential today does not exist. There is no concept of wireless transmission (wi-fi) and nobody knows anything about science fiction. Urg! Sounds like a nightmare, right?
This is what our world would be like if women held back because what they were doing was “probably” not feminine. Women’s discoveries and inventions range from computer algorithms, laser cataract surgery and chemotherapy treatment to disposable diapers, rolling pins and barbie dolls. She’s a woman who designed the monopoly game we all love and she’s a woman who developed the software that made the moon landing possible.
Every year on March 8, the world celebrates these women and many others like them in terms of social, economic, cultural and political achievements. It is a commemoration of femininity and all that a woman is capable and eligible for. International Women’s Day (IWD) is a day to educate and raise awareness about women’s equality, call for positive change for women, and push for accelerated gender parity.
In this article, I will introduce you to women with inspiring journeys. Those who have an invigorating energy. Women so strong that they are gentle, so fierce that they are compassionate, so educated that they are humble, so disciplined that they are free and so passionate that they are rational. The women I work with every day. Women who can be just like the women you meet every day. Women like us. And thus borrowing the lines of the Great Abraham Lincoln, this article is about women, by a woman and for all who support women.
But before that, let’s understand why we celebrate this day, how we celebrate it in all countries and why it is necessary.
International Women’s Day: creation and celebration
International Women’s Day grew out of the trade union movement to become an annual event recognized by the United Nations (UN) during the year. The seeds were sown in 1908 when 15,000 women marched in New York demanding shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote.
You may ask me, why March 8? The reason brings us to the year 1917. It is to commemorate the date of the beginning of the strike by a Russian woman, the Tsar, demanding “bread and peace” in her country at war. She continued the strike for four days until she was forced to abdicate and the provisional government granted women the right to vote.
Until 2023, different countries are celebrating IWD with various initiatives and traditions. Let’s take a look at them.
International Women’s Day around the world
IWD has been declared an official holiday in Russia and Nepal while it is half a day for working women in China. March 8 is more commonly known in Italy as ‘la Festa della Donna’ and on this day women receive bouquets of bright yellow mimosa flowers, a tradition believed to have originated in Rome after World War II, as a sign of love, appreciation and solidarity. Being a food-oriented country, you will find cakes and pastas created with vibrant yellow colors to look like the flower.
In Armenia, International Women’s Day is a national holiday and is also referred to as the “Protect Your Rights Day”. It marks the start of an unofficial “Women’s Month,” culminating in “Maternity and Beauty Day” on April 7.
Held over three days in London, including International Women’s Day, the Women of the World (WOW) festival features speakers, activists and artists who come together to tackle issues facing women in the world. Founded in the UK, WOW now has sister festivals in other parts of the world, with talks, talks and exhibitions intertwining and nurturing under one name.
But that’s only one side of the coin. The view through rose-tinted glass.
International Women’s Day around the world: the other side of the coin
Not so long ago the Chinese authorities have arrested eight women for planning a protest against sexual harassment on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Moreover, the authorities never hesitate to promote the beauty of women, thanking them for their “selfless” contribution to their family, society and country on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Even the half day off on IWD only exists on paper.
There is little tolerance for feminist activism in Russia. Abortion attitudes remain oppressive in Poland, prompting International Women’s Day to become a day of pro-choice protest. In Turkey, International Women’s Day has been marked in recent years by protests by women against gender inequality, domestic violence and sexual abuse – protests that have often received a heavy-handed response from authorities. . And the case is no different in other countries like Argentina, Armenia and even the United States.
Back in India, we celebrate IWD with zeal in corporate offices and universities, but is this greed causing change beyond the walls of these institutions? Speaking on behalf of all Indian women, I think we have a long way to go when it comes to women’s rights in terms of political, economic, social, technological, cultural and legal positions. I will help you to take a myopic view of the situation and understand the gravity with the help of data.
India and its women
The following data is in accordance with the report of the Indian Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister. This report was published in October 2022.
- According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2022, India ranks 135 out of 146 countries. The report notes that only 22.3% of women in India participate in the labor market, resulting in a gender gap of 72%.
- India has one of the highest female feticide rates in the world. The 2011 census recorded the lowest ever sex ratio of 914 in the 0-6 age group with 3 million girls missing; from 78.8 million in 2001 to 75.8 million in 2011. The child sex ratio declined further, from 927 women in 2001 to 919 women per 1,000 men in 2011.
- 68% of children admitted to programs for severe malnutrition are girls, while 55% of women in India are anemic.
- 35.6% of Indian women suffer from chronic undernourishment, with a body mass index (BMI) below the threshold of 18.5 and 55% of women in India are anemic. A quarter of women of reproductive age in India are undernourished with a BMI of less than 18.5 kg/m till 2016. Undernourished mothers give birth to low birth weight babies, triggering a cycle intergenerational.
- The lack of infrastructure in schools acts as a detrimental factor to access to education, especially for female students. Only 54% of schools have functional hygiene facilities (toilets, drinking water and hand washing). Furthermore, 30% of the 2326 toilets built in schools across India were not functional mainly due to lack of running water and cleaning devices, damage to toilets and other reasons such as use of toilets for other purposes. For these reasons, women tend to miss school on average six days a month, which ultimately leads to about 23% of them dropping out. The impact of this phenomenon on their potential participation in the labor market is enormous.
- The current contribution of women to GDP remains at 18%, however, simply by providing equal opportunities to women, India could add $770 billion to its GDP by 2025.
Yet with all of these opportunities and countless others, Indian women have emerged from the shadows and been a guiding force. Once they found out how fierce they were, they couldn’t even hold back as the fire inside them burned brighter than their fears. Let’s get to know some of these remarkably passionate women.
Coco Chanel said a woman should be two things; who and what she wants. Ask yourself what you would do if you weren’t afraid, then do it. Choose to no longer apologize for your femininity and femininity. Know that your enemy is not your lipstick but your guilt. We deserve lipstick if we want it and so does freedom of speech. We can be sweet or assertive or whatever we want. We have the right to wear cowboy hats in our own revolution.
One of those women who sparked a revolution in her own life is Shama Mubarak.
Shama started her career in a call center, then worked as a YouTube optimizer and joined Healthify as an SEO specialist to now take on the role of Product Operations Associate. Talking about her career trajectory and how she overcomes her random bouts of self-doubt, Shama tells us that any opportunity to learn new things and expand her knowledge and skills keeps her going.
“I’m proud of the fact that I was open to the new perspective of SEO in 2015 and it’s been years of experience in this field that has helped me be where I belong,” Shama shared.
Your mission in life shouldn’t just be to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with passion, compassion, humor and style. And our Rashika Poonacha is the person that comes to mind when I say that.
In her role as an IOS developer in our organization, Rashika believes that women are afraid to choose coding because they are underrepresented in the tech industry, especially in leadership positions. She recommends young women to “look for communities and networks that support women in tech and you’ll just find where you really belong.”
“It’s tough, sometimes requires long hours and can struggle to balance work and life, but says if you believe in your skills and abilities, don’t be afraid to take on challenges .”
Alp Momaya, head of research and product development shares that to break the glass ceiling, the first step she took was to take charge of her own career. “For this, I had to improve my skills and be open to new ideas. My career came to a halt when I became a mother, but I stayed resilient, joined Healthify as a coach and gradually paved the way until I am today without giving up.
She suggests that if you find yourself held back by the glass ceiling, don’t hesitate to talk about it. Find out where the glass ceiling is prevalent in your organization, gather feedback, and find allies to support you. Alpa believes women need to master new skills, be patient and confident, and be ambitious, to make their goals a reality.
“We have to realize that the only thing stopping us from achieving our goals is our own selves. The will to do something or the urge to achieve something matters a lot. And once it’s done, it doesn’t matter. there is no turning back.
Finally, the acquisition of senior management talent, Apurva Manohar, believes that with opportunity comes threat in all walks of life, but today’s women are bold enough to make decisions for themselves and move on from what’s wrong. It’s high time women rolled up their sleeves and took on challenges. Only then does the environment support these thoughts and behaviors. It goes with the art of manifestation.
“To empower women in the workplace, our organization is working on menstrual leave and other necessities such as sanitary napkin dispensers in washrooms.”
Our name, HealthifyMe, speaks to our mission to transform a billion lives and we are committed to doing so not only in terms of health and fitness, but also in the overall growth of society, with women being our torchbearers.
I started writing this blog as a routine part of my job. I had no idea I would be so passionate about IWD. Don’t get me wrong when I say that this day seemed to me to be just another WHO initiative before I sat down to write this article, I will remain indebted to them. The hours of research that we as content writers at healthify put into writing articles are always exhaustive, but they have never been more exhilarating and emboldening. I feel prouder to be a woman than ever. And so, this content is for all those who bravely stood up for themselves and our sisters, those who spoke up, those who fought and continue to fight in silence, and even those who do not speak because we taught them to ‘respect’ fear more than ourselves. We were taught that silence would save us from the worst. Is that okay? Ask yourself.
I’ll let you ponder on this with a poem by Maya Angelou