Choose to Challenge……the theme of the 2021 International Women’s Day, got me thinking. What does this mean, atleast to me. There are 2 underlying concepts that I picked out from this phrase
CHOOSE … means Women should get a choice.
A choice of what they study : i have a relative, a brilliant woman in school who was not allowed to do medicine (she got admission) because it would make it more difficult for her parents to find a boy for marriage !
A choice of what they do in life : “hamare ghar ki bahu tho naukri nahin kad thi hain”. How many women have heard this statement, in modern India. Does anyone say this for their son’s after marraige ?
A choice of whom to marry, or even whether to marry : we still see it in movies and read it in the newspaper, but pretend it is distant and does not happen any longer. Yet all around, women are prevented from marrying of their choice….”the boy is too poor”, “the boy is not of our caste”, “the boy is not of our religion”, ….
A choice to take a break when they want : working men want 4 weeks holidays at work, the weekend off, the younger generation talks of work-life balance, but has anyone thought that a home maker should also have a day off ? She also needs work-life balance ?
And there are so many more types of choices that Women should get, but dont. Has the time come for Men to ask themselves whether Women have a real choice to Choose ? And the women need to ask themselves….if you want to Choose, are you fighting for the choices you deserve to get ?
CHALLENGE …. is a word that can be interpreted in many ways. In traditional societies, a challenge is seen as rude, as insolent. In 21st century India, many bosses, many fathers, many leaders don’t want to be challenged….they dont like it. Maybe the fear of being challenged comes from insecurity, from being afraid that one cant defend one’s position, from the change that the challenge can bring about. And that is what this Women’s day is all about. Its about Change. Its about questioning the status quo. Its about asking why.
Choose to Challenge requires us all, men and women together, to ensure Women get the choices they deserve, atleast the same choices Men get. It means encouraging Women to exercise those choices, encouraging them to question the ‘choices’ their mother’s or sister’s had to make.
It means making Choice a driver of Change.
One Choice at a time, One question at a time, One Challenge at a time, Change shall occur
Happy Women’s Day….to both my men and women friends.