Like every year, this year too International Women’s Day (IWF) shall be celebrated in many countries including India. Women’s Day is on March 8th.
Celebrated across the world
A day of joy and happiness in the very sense of being a woman, the occasion is made much of by the males around in the family, relatives, friends and associates at work to show their appreciation for the womenfolk for their presence and contribution in society. Throughout the world on this day in almost every country, there are political rallies, business conferences, government activities, networking events and other activities in which women are central to the theme and in which women also participate in large numbers to celebrate the occasion and also air their views. Fashion shows, Celebrity talks, New launches for women, and many other interesting programmes are conducted to mark this wonderful event.
A celebration that became traditional
It was first celebrated in the early 1900s, when women who were part of the workforce felt that despite their contribution to the productivity, they had to contend with disproportionate pay, more hours of work and did not have the right to vote. This became vocal soon enough with walks, marches, rallies in New York City and soon the voices were taken cognizance of with betterment of conditions. This feeling rallied across the world and soon women from all quarters and from various nationalities participated in debates, seminars, conferences and threw up the idea that women need to be more forthcoming in their own spheres for a start, to get to be recognized and appreciated for their contribution. The celebration of Women’s Day every year took root.
In recent times there has been an increased support to portray the woman of today as an individual within her own right, who has matched in every sphere of activity that she has taken part in, the achievements of most if not all of what her male counterpart has. While major organizations and corporate houses show their appreciation through a display of women’s achievements, the United States even designates the whole month of March as ‘Women’s History Month’.
The known names are on most lips.
- Indira Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsio, the second largest food and beverage business in the world by net revenue.
- Chanda Kochhar, the CEO and MD of ICICI Bank, was honoured with Padma BhushanAward, for the year 2010 for her services to banking sector.
- Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairman & managing director of BioconLimited a biotechnology company based in Bangalore (Bengaluru), India, to conduct health and environmental programs to benefit of the economically weaker sections of society.
- Kiran Bedi, has been India’s first and highest (woman) ranking officer who joined the Indian Police Service in 1972. Her expertise includes more than 35 years of creative and reformative policing and prison management. She worked with the United Nations in New York as the Police Advisor to the Secretary General, in the Department of Peace Keeping Operations.
- Sonia Gandhi, Congress President since 1998 and wife of the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, for one who shunned politics always and stayed distant from it, was a force to reckon with and brought a party like the Congress, which had lost hope in 2003 of coming back to power, together to fight like a unit to ultimately emerge victorious.
But more are becoming part of this list day by day.
- Saina Nehwal reaching world number one spot in women’s badminton, after wins in matches against the toughest opponents in the game.
- Sania Mirza with Martina Hingis picking up the World title in women’s doubles in several Grand Slams in the last three years.
- Priyanka Chopra getting to be only the second (Persis Khambhatta also a woman, being the first) presenter at the Oscars this year after already being a lead actor in Quantico, an American serial last year and now getting to be part of the hit TV serial Baywatch this season.
- Arunima Sinha! Name ring a bell in the mind? At age 24, a small tragedy occurred in this girl’s life when she was thrown off a train by four thugs, lost one leg, almost lost her life. Yet she survived and came back strongly to conquer five high altitude peaks and our hearts. Hers is not only a story of courage and determination that got her to achieve something that seemed impossible, but a saga of will power that has inspired millions across the world. Her aim – the other two remaining peaks that make up the Summit.
- Aathira, a tender little girl has at a very young age had the rare fortune of exchanging musical notes with the likes of musical giants like Yehudi Menuhin, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Balamurali Krishna, Pandit Jasraj etc. The legendary Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna has conferred the title ‘Violin Queen’ on her. In 2003, Aathira achieved the prestigious title of Guinness World Record Holder for the longest non-stop South Indian classical violin playing at a concert. She mesmerized the audience with her flawless playing at the concert dedicated to global peace and harmony for 32 long hours.
The latest feat
6th March at 2:35am Air India took a 17hrs direct flight from Delhi to San Fransisco. Not an ordinary flight. The flight will set a new world record of being the longest operated flight by all women crew including the pilots. A team of four pilots and 10 cabin crew were on board the Boeing 777-LR that departed Delhi early on Sunday. The non-stop flight will cover some 12,300 kilometres in around 16 hours. It will return on International Women’s Day on March 8.
President Pranab Mukherjee in January 2016 hosted a lunch for 100 women achievers at Rashtrapati Bhavan on the occasion of first anniversary of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme.
“These 100 women achievers were selected by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (Maneka Gandhi) in collaboration with Facebook through a nationwide contest and public nominations,” a press release issued by Rashtrapati Bhavan said. The ministry had launched the contest on July 15, last year, to select 100 women achievers of India under various categories through public nominations.
The long list comprises doctors, panchayat leaders, and women from major and minor professions, individuals etc. with the word ‘achievement’ in bold.
Today in 2016, you have women in all walks of life, sharing space with men at work, competing in skills and even acquiring recognition for their contribution which though it produces some thrills seems to have become routine. Women have caught up long back, excelled in some others where they were not seen some time back.