I’m in a dilemma. How do you celebrate women in a day? Do you praise her to the skies for the various roles she essays? Do you recognise her for her achievements? Or, do you shower her with gifts on Women’s Day? And, what can you possibly gift a woman to make her feel special about being one?
I’ve come to the conclusion that there isn’t any such gift that can possibly do justice to these objectives. The reason I say this is because celebrating women or making them feel loved and special is not just about one day. It’s about a lifetime of doing several different things. Things that are still not being done even one hundred years from when Women’s Day was first celebrated.
I’m going to refer to these things as gifts because they are a rarity, even today, in many parts of the world. These are gifts a woman would value, cherish and receive happily.
The gift of individuality: Women play so many different roles (and excel at it!) that we tend to view them in the confines of that particular role – it could be mother, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, mother-in-law, grandmother, a colleague or boss. We forget they are individuals in their own right — individuals with their own dreams and desires, quirks and qualities, thoughts and opinions. Dreams they keep aside for their families, quirks and qualities that get submerged in the roles they dawn, thoughts and opinions that don’t get expressed or, in many cases are sadly not heard.
It’s easy to say that women themselves are party to this. Of course we are. But, let’s be honest here, a lot of that blame is not just ours to own. It’s a function of the societies we live in, the mindsets people cultivate and the behaviour they display.
Let’s begin by treating the women in our lives as individuals and respecting them. How about loving them for who they are and not just for the roles they play in our lives. To the women I will say, let’s not forsake our individuality when we take on new roles. Who we are should shape our roles, let’s not get stereotyped by the roles we play. How about treating ourselves and our clan with respect and dignity; the world will be happy to follow suit!
The gift of a conducive environment: Conducive environment. Big words; what do they mean? Simply put, an environment that encourages them to follow their dreams, that supports them in their journey to get there and, nurtures them to blossom to the best of their abilities. Even more simply put, a family that treats the woman’s career just as important as the man’s and offers the same privileges to both; parents that don’t distinguish between what their son can do and what their daughter can; a family that gives a homemaker the chance to pursue a hobby simply because it gives her pleasure; a husband who gives his wife everything she needs to be the best homemaker she can.
I have seen this up close. My sister went back to college to become a doctor, years into her marriage. Was it easy? Certainly not. She had a 7-year old daughter and had to study in a town away from her family. But, it was made possible because her husband decided that her education was important and took over the responsibility of the house while also managing his work. They were supported by their parents who took turns to be with their granddaughter when required. Their belief in themselves and the steadfast determination was amply rewarded by the sense of achievement at fulfilling their dream. There are examples galore; we just need to make sure that women, like men, have the choice to do what they want with their lives and have the wholehearted support they deserve.
Let me clarify here; I’m not against Women’s Day. By all means, let us celebrate women in all their glory. But, we would be wrong to think our work is done. For a woman to truly celebrate her being, she has to feel good about herself not just on March 8 each year, but all-year round and during her entire lifetime.
Let’s gift the women in our lives these 2 things and we will have made Women’s Day more meaningful to her.