‘’You carry the invisible armour with pride,
There is certain sense of acceptance
To the vulnerable sleepless nights.
And what an ironical beauty it is to have that-
“Being flawed and perfect in its own ways”.
When makeup and contour adds charm,
But conceals those unspoken blemishes as well.
When you etch the self-love in your heart,
That fearless determination in whatever you want to conquer.
This is what you were meant to be right from the start.’’
On the very occasion of “International Women’s Day’ and also a month which is marked as the Women’s History month; lets delve into the origin of a beautiful day that is celebrated all over the world.
Why we celebrate this day?
While many people might debate that Women’s Day is some sort of a Feminist Day representation completely, the core reason lies somewhere else. It’s been over a century now that we have been celebrating this day across the globe. This day has been symbolic of women’s representation power since the early 20th century. It was initiated by Clara Zetking, a Marxist from Germany.
Who was Clara Zetking?
Born in Germany’s Wiederau, in the year 1857,she was part of the Socialist Democratic Party and also trained as a teacher.Being vocal in both the movements-Labour Movement and the Women’s Movement ,when German Leader-Otto von Bismarck,imposed anti-socialist laws then Zetkin went into a self-imposed exile in France and Switzerland.
How did she lead a movement, literally- “First in the World”?
During her exile period,she would meet prominent socialist leaders and was herself much responsible for playing an important role in the formation of Socialist Internationl. She also wrote and distributed proscribed literature.
From 1892-1917, there was a newspaper circulating called the “Die Gleichheit(‘Equality’)-Zetkin became closely associated with it and became its editor too. Even, the revolutionary lady Rosa Luxemburg had a great impact on Zetkin.In 1910,International Socialist Women’s Congress was later co-founded by Zetkin. Then at a conference,she came up with the idea of Women’s Day celebration in every country-on the 28th of February.100 women from 17 countries participated- with socialist parties,unions, women’s clubs and female legislators approving the suggestion.More than a million women came on the streets to get the right to vote and the right to be in public offices. Even gender based-discrimination and non-equal pay was protested aganist.
It was then, when in the year 1911,Women’s Day was observed for the first time.The date was changed to March 8 in the year 1913, and it continues to be celebrated on that day since then.
IWD was more like a communist holiday till1967 until a second feminist movement arose. Known in Europe as the “Women’s International Day of Struggle”; it evoked extreme sense of activism among people.Women’s groups were joined by leftists and labor organizations in the 1970’s and 1980’s.People also started joining in calling for equal economic opportunity, equal pay,equal legal rights, child care, reproductive health nd the prevention of violence.
THEME for 2021
The Theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge.
With this, lets talk about women leaders from across the world and how they have embarked so rightly on the theme.
Color symbolising Historic Women’s Month,March-
What colors symbolize International Women’s Day?
Purple -> justice and dignity
White->purity The origin of these colors comes from the Women’s Social and Political Union,UK,1908
Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand
“Speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them”- With her speech in the Parliament,she did win hearts of millions. A leader who is equally strong and compassionate.
The moment I talk about leaders, she has been the first name in my head.Jacinda Ardern,who is currently serving as the 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand since 2017, has not only been in news for the way she tackled the Corona-virus pandemic but also how she remarkably heads her very own country at such an young age.She has also led an amazing example by being a mother while she was serving in the office.Being it meeting the first responders after the Christchurch attack,introducing strict gun-laws in the state or taking completely strict measures during the Covid-19 Pandemic; Jacinda has outshined everywhere like a true leader.
Oprah Winfrey, America
Raised by a single mother and born in extreme poverty, Winfrey became a millionaire at the age of 32. She is said to have been the richest 20th century African American with a net worth of $800 million. She has also sorted people’s issues by discussing her very own problems – weight issues, love life,sexual abuse etc.A lot of people call her way a kind of “therapy” also.
Hailing from Madras,Tamil Nadu, this incredible woman from India has left her mark in whatever zone she has stepped in. Being famous for her roles as former chairperson and CEO of Pepsico,she has been among the world’s 100 most influential women. Her vision for Pepsico has not just helped it gain monetary benefits but also something in the long run that proved to be sustainable as well. She keeps standing by her motto – “Performance with a purpose” and we couldn’t agree less. Indra Nooyi doesn’t even shed away from the fact that she loves to abide by her family duties also. It is for women like her that young girls can believe that anything and everything is possible.
“I tell my story not because it is unique,but because it is the story of so many girls”.
When we talk about women empowerment, we can’t help but emphasise the fact that a girl at such a young age had the power to fight for women’s education. We are talking about the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate who still continues her campaign via the Malala Fund. Born on 12th July,1997 to Pakistani parents, Malala was lucky enough to have a father who not only believed in equal opportunities for girls but also ran a girl’s school in the village. When the Taliban took control of her village, it was when she spoke publicly on behalf of girls, not knowing what repercussions it could bring. One day, she was shot in her head by the Taliban, but instead of this life-changing experience making her weak, she rose back stronger and, with the help of her father, established “Malala Fund”, a charity dedicated to giving every girl an opportunity to achieve a future she wants to choose for herself.
Being raised by homosexual parents, Marin had never let any voice from the world affect what she wanted to do in life. She began her political career just at the age of 20. The majority of the ministers in her five-party legislature are women,i.e, 12/19 members. She is Finland’s youngest ever prime minister at the age of 34 . The country has taken immense measures under her leadership to do well in times of the pandemic. With a rank of 85, on The World’s 100 Most in the Powerful Women and a Young Global Leader, she is an example of how age and circumstances do not define where a person will be in his or her life.
Anne Frank’s diary is one of the most important inspiring books ever published. It’s an account of her hiding in the secret annex from the Nazis during the occupation of the Netherlands. Unfortunately, her story ended tragically when she was discovered and then taken to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.
Before Anne went into hiding, she was given a diary on her 13th birthday. During her hiding for 2 years, Anne wrote about events in the Secret Annex, but also about her personal thoughts and feelings. She also wrote short stories, started on a novel and copied passages from the books she read in her Book of Beautiful Sentences. Her writing helped her cope and pass time by while in hiding.
Anne’s Father Otto, who outlived her, realized that Anne had wanted to become a writer or a journalist and had intended to publish her stories about life in the Secret Annex. Her father then published her diaries and since then it has become one of the most important and influential works of history.
This was a brief insight into a few women leaders, but we do know that everyday women are no way less special. So,are there places where they can go to completely enjoy themselves? Lets talk about the best countries according to a few ranks and parameters for women in the world , to live in and then where women can take a sneak peek as travellers.
Recently,5 parameters were chosen to give equally-weighted scores to women-centric rankings on the basis of income equality,gender equality,human rights,progress and safety.
(i).SAFETY- In terms of safety, Spain has topped the list. It ranks the best because it is high on well-performing aspects, such as low legal discrimination,street safety,low violence etc. In fact,the Spanish government had 11 women out of 17 cabinet seats.Followed by Spain, are the following countries-
2.SINGAPORE(Safest in Asia)
(ii)GLOBAL GENDER GAP-Iceland has topped the list.Its been 11 years, it does not fail to leave its position. Being a Nordic country with little population, it still has shut 88% of the gender gap. Iceland is followed by-
(iii)PEACE AND SECURITY INDEX- Norway claims to be the number one spot here. It is followed by Switzerland,Denmark,Finland and Iceland.The main goal of Norwegian gender equality is to increase opportunities for women and girls, promote self-determination and empower them with opportunities.
Lets talk about the safest countries for “women – solo travelers” in the world, keeping a few attributes in mind.
FINLAND- Finland is the best place to visit, especially for nature lovers. We have heard of the beautiful Northern Lights ; Finland boasts of those amazing views here in its land.It is home to beautiful wooden reserves and wild areas. Finland is ranked number one in terms of safety by the World Economic Forum’s report on Travel and Tourism Competitiveness. It ranks Finland number 1 in this regard, thereby making it the safest country for women to travel alone.
AUSTRIA- With a rank of 4th in the International Women’s Travel Centre’s list; It has always been one of the safest countries in the world to travel.Not just in a very quality of life that people live here; the place boasts amazingly beautiful natural places-be it mountains or crystal clear lakes.
ICELAND- By now we have already understood the kind of place Iceland is when it comes to women’s safety. We have already discussed it.Iceland has always come out in the good books of is Global Peace Index and is also one of the best places solo women can go to.With crime rates being very low, there is a lot that this country offers. The activities in and around the snow are also home to mesmerizing sights.
JAPAN- A country which rightfully makes old traditions co-exist with technology is a country with such different things to do all together. Ranking 6th among the most peaceful countries in the world, it is much safer for single female travelers.Even talking from a world perspective, Tokyo(Japan’s capital) is cited as the most organized in the world.
BELGIUM-Termed as “Europe’s safest place for female travelers”-it is ranked 10th in the International Women’s Travels List. The streets boast ancient and medieval architecture. There are historical sites and other beautiful monuments to lay eyes on. It has been used as a beautiful shooting destination also.