Commercialisation trivialising the day

Women's Day: Occasion now just tokenism instead of addressing real issues

Commercialisation trivialising the day

It is March 8 and women’s inboxes are flooded with messages from restaurants, bars and shopping outlets with discounts and offers to make them feel special on International Women’s Day.

The day - once celebrated to commemorate women’s struggles worldwide for equal rights - today seems to have been reduced to discounts to draw women to pubs, restaurants and salons.

Bengaluru-based women’s rights activist Asha Ramesh said, “This occasion is for discussing women’s issues, both negative and positive. Instead, objectification of women is being extended to Women’s Day too, with such sops.” It undermines the women’s rights movements, to which we owe the right to vote and decent working hours among other things, she said.

“Many issues still persist, such as unequal pay in the agriculture sector and glass ceilings. It is okay to celebrate and enjoy Women’s Day. But its significance must reach everyone,” she said.

Women’s Day has become a frivolous affair. But the market alone cannot be blamed for this, since even the government does not make any serious effort for change, feels citizen activist Tara Krishnaswamy.

“The government should make serious pledges on issues like labour laws or equal pay for women. If no such systematic policy is introduced, Women’s Day will not be significant,” said Tara.

Discussions and seminars are conducted in colleges and other platforms to celebrate achievers and talk about the way forward for equality. But without any commitment from policymakers, change will be slow, she said.

Dr Corinne Kumar, founder of women’s rights forum Vimochana, is not troubled by the commercialisation because she believes the movement is generating serious discussions too.

“There is a commercial aspect to everything. Alongside this, there are meetings happening all over the country, lectures are being organised, women’s issues are being talked about and even achievements are being highlighted. Other marginalised communities such as dalits, religious and sexual minorities are also coming forward on this day in solidarity,” Corinne said. Women’s Day is relevant because it gives people a moment to focus on the movement, she added.
 

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