mid day editorial: First fix women's issues, then celebrate
A deluge of events has marked the run-up to International Women's Day on March 8
A deluge of events has marked the run-up to International Women's Day on March 8. There was slick packaging, hype and hoopla, the media mileage one gets from using women's causes as a platform ensures that the day has high visibility. Many organisations from public to private have women-themed projects. Several are welcome and very inspiring initiatives, documenting achievements in the face of adversity. There are also adventurous challenges such as parades, car rallies, mountain climbing, talks about gender equality and sobering reminders of how far women have come, but most importantly, how far they have to go, in terms of smashing the glass ceiling and breaking barriers.
While all the accolades are inspiration and do motivate girls to move ahead, they are also vital in changing mindsets of families, when it comes to gender equality and equations.
Women's Day will gain real meaning when we see the rising tide of sexual violence against women, abate. Every day we continue to read reports like a father raping his daughter, sexual violence by a family member or a relative, a little girl molested in a crowded street… the sickening reports do not seem to stop, to the point where internationally, it has started being looked on as a problem in the country. Today, Mumbai's public transport infrastructure, which we took pride in because it was so safe, has also seen incidents against women. From station platforms to aggregator cabs, though this is not to tar everybody with the same brush, have been the site of some horrific incidents.
In the backdrop of such reports, cheers on Women's Day seem like worthless shouting. Safe, public spaces for women need to expand, not shrink. Bring back Mumbai's safety for women tag and then, let the real celebrations begin.
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Did you know Narendra Modi once wanted to become a monk?