What does ‘Women empowerment’ mean? Is it celebrating the women in your life only one day of the year? Or is it to celebrate and cherish them all year long?
I practically spent my entire day deleting the numerous images that had ‘Happy Women’s Day!’ etched on them. And I spent the rest of the time, reading motivational and inspirational posts on Instagram. But the best part of all the messages doing rounds on social media was that a lot of men took time to talk about empowering women.
Now, I have always wondered what empowerment really meant. According to the dictionary, the first meaning of empowerment is ‘authority or power given to someone to do something.’ This makes me wonder if we really need to be given the authority to do anything? Women are usually trolled for having a mind of their own and doing thing according to their wishes. So, I suppose it is time we lived up to what we are trolled for, haina?
The other meaning the dictionary gave for empowerment was ‘the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.’ Again, this spoke about your own journey and struggle. But it didn’t speak about the need for someone else to intervene in your path.
I am someone who doesn’t lay importance on celebrating these days since I feel what we do on these days need to be done every day. We don’t need the pomp and show, but the appreciation, love, respect and care.
While browsing through the chain of these thoughts, I also stopped and pondered over a few things that need be spoken of more often. We are programmed to keep on going without paying heed to our physical and mental health. So when we are some times hit by a big boulder- the one called self-realisation, we are immediately surrounded by self-doubt.
The self-doubt then turns into misery and impacts the very core of our being. It is like the dark cloud covering your bright sunlight. And it refuses to budge even an inch. As women, we are given a lot of labels every time we try to be something. We are called too bold or too talkative if we try to be fearless.
Or are ridiculed as wasting time when we try to be creative. We are referred to as ‘lazy’ or ‘pompous’ if we have a nanny for our children. Women who dress too ‘desi’ are considered to be from a low society or uneducated. They are branded as characterless if they show too much skin. Or other names if they decide to flaunt their bodies.
Their parents are blamed for not ‘raising their daughters right’ if the daughter decides to speak up about the wrong. And all hell will break loose if a mother cannot whip up multiple delicacies or if she chooses a work meeting over a school meeting.
Uff! Society and society walon, didn’t your parents teach you that it’s bad manners to poke your nose in another person’s business? Or did you, ver conveniently, forget that?
This Women’s Day, I had an avalanche of thoughts that I wanted to speak about. However, I did not want my burkha-clad, educated mother to be dragged into this. So, let us quickly take a detour around the few things that need to be practised day in and day out.
Why not start by helping the women in your life shed the labels they have been given over the years? And if you can’t do that, share the load and the labels together.
Do not categorise her likes based on the gender or colours. Every human has the right to choose and speak as they want.
A child is born through both parents and it should be an equal responsibility for both. The best part will be when you both keep swapping responsibilities every now and then. You will be the happiest on setting an example for your kids to follow.
Appreciate all the women around you. Even if it’s your helper, a small thank you will keep her smiling all day long. Do this was all your helpers’ in fact. Encourage people who are making an effort, your words don’t come with a price tag, so spend the good ones as much as you can.
Participate in small deeds that help you be a Good Samaritan and do it often. I have patted my back twice in the recent past by sharing an auto ride with complete strangers.
If you are on social media, don’t just spread the gyaan and good thoughts, give people ways and means to practice them. Donate books, clothes, hygiene products without a donation drive.
Make your woman financially independent. Managing bank books and bank accounts needn’t categorically be a man’s job. Encourage your woman to take care of her fitness regime. If she is fit, then your house will be fit too.
Appreciate each other in public and speak about each other’s faults in private. As a woman the least you can do is not talk bad about another woman. Every one’s struggle is their own, remember that.
We tend to talk about the big issues on days that are celebrated worldwide. However, we need to make it a habit to talk and act on the issues that bother us on daily basis too.
Remember when you got milk for the kitten or purchased biscuits for the pup? I am sure one them must have sent you some magical dust for sure! Your deeds and thoughts are like boomerangs, they will come back to you even before karma actually does.
Well, I still haven’t been able to tell you why I don’t celebrate these days but you get the point, don’t you? So all you ladies out there, remember, you are your own strength. And to all them, remember, the ladies around you are as strong as you, probably stronger (in my defence, my arms are much stronger than my partners’!)
In the end, I’d just say, all you folks, the world is your canvas, go ahead and paint it in all the colours you want!
A version of this was first published here.
Picture credits: Pexels
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