Gone are the days when women were seen as the inferior sex. In fact women, as revealed in some surveys, are said to be more dedicated to their jobs than men. Women possess strength of mind to endure difficulties and can go past them with courage.
In this age of steep competition, one cannot take life lightly. And especially living in a city like Shillong, it is difficult to find employment. So one has to be creative to carve out a niche in society.
It is a reality that men rule the roost. But the women Sunday Shillong spoke to are making a difference. They are taking up jobs and professions that would surprise and startle men.
Society has many double standards when it comes to its treatment of women. Also, there have been numerous headlines in newspapers and news channels of rape and molestation cases.
The mistreatment of women has led many feminists to question the law and ruling establishment. Objectification has been the main cause for cases of sexual violence. Chauvinism and sexism needs to be curbed by sensitising society that women have every right to exist and move freely as men.
In the words of singer-songwriter Carole King, “We all come from mothers”. The balance or equation between genders can be met by men respecting women in every field or walk of life.
In pop culture, the American musician Beyonce is seen as the torchbearer of feminist lyrics singing about girl power and equality.
Feminism has also been well explored as an academic study by feminist theorists like Simone de Beauvoir, Mary Wollstonecraftt and Judith Butler.
In literature, there had been novels on oppression of women during the Victorian age. Social norms were questioned where plight of women had been highlighted.
The sexual revolution in America during the 1950s had many repercussions with men glorifying Marilyn Munroe as sex symbol. It was a time when American society broke from its conservative and orthodox shell, thereby making direct impact worldwide. Sexuality has always been both a blessing and a curse for women. Men possess it too. But women have been front and centre to inadvertently flaunt it. But the question arises: Is it subversion when women are just being themselves? There is no harm inflicted on anyone, society itself being progressive. The fact is hyper-chauvinism and sexism leads to dire consequences. Women should exercise their rights freely. The co-existence should be governed by respect and morality.
International Women’s Day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe. Since those early years, International Women’s Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.
The United Nation’s theme for International Women’s Day, March 8, is “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”. This year, International Women’s Day comes on the heels of unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice. Sexual harassment, violence and discrimination against women have captured headlines and public discourse, propelled by a rising determination for change. People around the world are mobilising for a future that is more equal.
In matrilineal Meghalaya, the pseudo-empowerment of women has been proved time and again with violence against women and their inconsequential participation in broader decision-making. The struggle of numerous single mothers in every part of the state is testimony to the elusive economic empowerment. But hope never dies and so doesn’t her strength. She vows to fight back and wrest her position in society. The women whose stories are narrated in this edition will further encourage the lone fighter out there. Never give up because you are not alone.
(Reporting by Olivia Lyngdoh Mawlong, Nabamita Mitra
& Willie Gordon Suting)