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Happy women's day, I guess

Today, March 8th, is recognized all over the world as a special day to celebrate women. And, all the ads and trending videos on social media today depict a super woman, a woman so adept at multitasking that it is second nature to her. The message in most of these videos suggests why men should celebrate her as she is a nurturer, a homemaker, a multitasker always on top of her job. It's great that the world celebrates us at least one day out of 365. But frankly, I don't see the point. I don't see how it helps, coz the most basic thing like education and financial independence for a woman to feel equal to men is sometimes missing. 

Let me go back a couple generations to illustrate this. My Dadi (my father's mother) was allowed to go to school only until class 4 or so. She was married off to my grandfather at age 11. Same was the case with my Nani (my mother's mother). That was the world they knew. They barely learnt to read and do some basic maths and that's it were married off. They had no idea of the world. They assumed they could never understand science or higher math. How ironical that they were married to an accountant and a lawyer respectively, specialized professions that required much training. But, they were good at other things like cooking, cleaning, knitting. 

My mother suffered a similar fate. She was taken off school after 5th grade. The reason given to her was that there were no girls only school nearby and that she was now too old to attend a co-ed. My mother was not really academically driven. And, sitting at home she lost even that little sense of purpose that she had earlier. Women everywhere are made to feel small like they are not capable of doing things on their own. Now imagine how magnified that feeling becomes when you also know for sure that you do not know much coz you're not even going to school anymore. She managed to pass her school and college exams somehow privately as a home-schooled candidate, but she did not get a proper education. She lacks the confidence that even common men have. Her life has not been easy and she has still survived. But, she has always lived under someone, never having had a complete control over her own life. How different would her story have been had she been educated for the same reasons that her brothers were, merely to be able to earn a decent living and to live life with independence and confidence.

My life wouldn't have been much different from hers had I not been brought up in a city like Chennai and more importantly under the influence and guidance of Mama and Mami. I thank the series of events that brought our family closer to theirs. Otherwise, who knows, I might have been a barely college graduate stay at home mom who would have been as lacking in self confidence as my mother.

Therefore, I don't believe in dedicating a day out of the calendar for women, coz if you were to truly celebrate women, you would wish them well and respect them every single day. I wish families would understand the importance of giving daughters a well rounded education, an education that would allow her to realize her own identity in life, that would let her stand on her own two feet both financially and emotionally, that would realize that a job deemed fit for a girl is also fit for a boy and vice versa, that would raise daughters as equal to sons in every respect. I wish for a day when this equality is so apparent that a special day for women would become laughable to say the least. 

So yeah, for now, happy women's day, I guess. 



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