Let me assume a women’s day out. This day need not be the 8th of March, but any other day in the year. It would be a day like any other day in the life of a woman, a day when she walks out of her assumed safe domain to face the vagaries of a male dominated world.
Does a woman feel safe in her day out? Can she walk around without any sense of apprehension and anxiety, as any man could do. Does she feel absolutely safe? Can she stand up with absolute conviction and courage?
I would aspire she could. But regrettably, the reality is that she can’t. As long as she can’t, pronouncing one day of the year as dedicated to women makes no sense at all.
Purists may argue that not every woman has experienced violence perpetuated by men against them. I may tend to agree with them, but would add that those who haven’t experienced it so far are just plain lucky. Though they may expect not to experience it ever in their lives, the fear of violence is always a significant feature of their lives.
Women have always been at the receiving end of the gender role differences whether it is as simple as leaving one’s own home after marriage to live with a different group of people in a different home, or men being more audible and visible in decision making and thus exercise greater influence.
As long as the male gender continues to control the space of our social, economic, political and religious fabric, a woman will find no place in this society and they will continue to grind under these self-imposed socio-cultural structures from which she will never have an escape.
Unless a woman escapes from the clutches of these practices of enforced edifices, would she ever be happy. Unless a woman is happy, can there be any day which can be said as belonging to her.
As long as a crime is committed against a woman every 7 minutes, as long as a woman is molested every 26 minutes, as long as a rape takes place every 34 minutes, as long as a woman is kidnapped every 43 minutes and as long as a woman is burnt to death over dowry every 93 minutes, wishing a woman a Happy Women’s Day sounds the most ludicrous and preposterous thing to do.
A woman will be really happy only the day we shed our orthodox shell and prejudices governed by age-old conventional habits and customs. A woman will be happy only when she can stand up in the society with her head held high even when she is violated, which is mostly because she is forced or she is helpless.
The day when a woman can really be happy would be the real women’s day. Till such day becomes a reality, a happy women’s day wish would mean as hollow as it sounds and would make no sense at all.