She is one of a kind.
You may not know her,
but you surely recognize her.
She’s perfect as well as imperfect,
She’s sunshine as well as sheer madness.
She makes everyone groove to her rhythm,
And blows everyone with her vision.
You must have seen her all moods:
The butterflies, the quiet highs, the stupid smiles, the screaming cries, the messy fights, and then the emotional nights.
And considered her just quirky at times.
But no matter what, she got courage which all adore,
This is why she’s bold for some and gemstone to more.
She’s a rule-breaker, trailblazer, game changer,
But sometimes, she needs someone to applaud her that – “she is more than stronger.”
So, what if you don’t know their reality,
she’s a woman, one of a kind.
Where I have been pointing all the bold portions of her life in the sad tone of outer utter hardships she had to go through.
Sometimes it feels quite a self-pity situation while keeping count on the crises of our life.
Whether we are responding to an emergency, working on long terms projects with communities, or campaigning for lasting change, we fight the inequality and deep-rooted discrimination that makes and keeps women poor.
Poor in all aspects whether it is financially as well as emotional.
Here are some of the startling statistics showing how desperately initiatives to improve education, health, and quality of life as International Women’s Day approaches.
More than a third of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives.
at least 46 countries have no laws protecting women against domestic violence and many nations do enforce them poorly.
“The most common form is domestic violence or attacks by current or previous partners, which occur most frequently between a woman’s teenage years and menopause.”
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
An estimated 120 million girls and women under age 20 have been subjected to forced sexual intercourse or other forced sexual acts – around percent cent.
A Unicef report found that the violence was a “global reality” across all countries and social groups that could include harassment, rape, or sexual exploitation in prostitution or pornography.
“The true magnitude of sexual violence is hidden because of its sensitive and illegal nature”
Almost two-thirds of illiterate adults are women and the proportion has remained unchanged for two decades.
While “remarkable progress” in education has been seen in the last 20 years, girls are still underrepresented globally in secondary schools and universities, particularly in developing countries.
“The vast majority of older women in Northern Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southern Asia are illiterate, according to UN statistics.”
Worldwide, only around a fifth of parliamentary seats are held by women and there were only 19 female heads of state or government in 2014 – just seven more than in 1995.
The proportion of the world’s cabinet ministers who were women nearly tripled between 1994 and 2014, yet remains low at 17 percent, according to the UN.
“The use by some countries of gender quotas has improved women’s chances of being elected,” a report noted. “Yet, once elected, few women reach the higher echelons of parliamentary hierarchies.”
In the private sector, fewer than 4 percent of CEOs leading the world’s 500 major corporations are women.
Around 600 million women – 53 percent of those working globally – are in jobs that are insecure and typically not protected by labor laws.
“The glass ceiling appears to be most impenetrable in the largest corporations, which are still essentially male-dominated, particularly at the level of CEO.”
Women make up just 55 of the 500 richest people in the world, according to Forbes’ list of billionaires.
On average, women still earn less than men across all sectors and occupations, with women working full-time earning between 70 percent and 90 percent of equivalent male salaries, according to the UN.
“Just 62 people currently own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population combined – and just nine of them are women.”
Every day, in every country in the world, women are confronted by discrimination and inequality. They face violence, abuse, and unequal treatment at home, at work, and in their wider communities – and are denied opportunities to learn, to earn, and to lead.
Achieving gender justice is not only a matter of basic rights. It’s also a key means of achieving fairer societies and overcoming poverty. And we all have an equal part to play in making it happen.
Believe me, it’s not easy to be me as “she“
I’m not propaganda,
I’m on a feminist agenda.
I’m not over exaggerating,
I’m easing the complicating.
I’m not dramatizing my menstrual cycle,
I’m opening with what I silently tackle.
I’m not asking for your back,
I’m seeking you beside, intact.
I’m not moaning about less pay,
I’m outlashing against your invalid say.
I’m not begging you to hear me,
I’m looking you to listen to me.
I’m not asking you to verify- ‘how beautiful I’m?’,
I’m saying you to see- “I’m amazing, just the way I’m”.
MORE THAN STORIES
BBC 100 Women names 100 influential and inspirational women around the world every year.
They create documentaries, features, and interviews about their lives, giving more space for stories that put women at the center.
Among those 100, in 2020 there is 29 leadership inspiring women.
Supporting the theme of #IWD2021 I have shortlisted 10 whom I found most connecting most of the women out there.
#10 RIDHIMA PANDEY
Climate activist, India
Ridhima Pandey is a climate activist who, at the age of nine, filed a petition against the government of India in response to its inaction to mitigate climate change. In 2019, along with 15 other child petitioners, Ridhima filed a lawsuit against five countries at the UN.
Ridhima is currently participating in international conferences and helping to empower other students, at all levels, to fight for their future for the biodiversity of the world. Ridhima is working to save her future and that of coming generations.
“Now is the time for us to be strong and united, and to prove how capable we can be in difficult times. If a woman is determined to achieve something, no-one can stop her.”
#9 GULNAZ ZHUZBAEVA
Disability activist, Kyrgyzstan
In Kyrgyzstan, there are more than 5,000 people living with visual impairment, but many important governmental documents remain inaccessible to them. Gulnaz Zhuzbaeva, the founder of the Kyrgyz Federation of the Blind, has been working tirelessly to make these materials available in Braille and improve access to those with visual impairment.
Her team runs a program for blind people to provide them with the skillset needed to enter the job market. Of the 22 adults who completed the program in 2020, six are already successfully employed and two are enrolled at university.
“Life is full of challenges; just take it as a given.”
Protest leader, India
At 82, Bilkis was part of a group of women who peacefully protested against a controversial citizenship law.
She became the face of a long-running protest at the capital’s Shaheen Bagh, the Muslim locality where the protests were held. Indian journalist and author Rana Ayyub described her as “the voice of the marginalized”.
“Women should feel empowered to step out of their homes and raise their voice, especially against injustice. If they don’t leave their homes, how will they showcase their strength?”
#7 ARUSSI UNDA
As Mexico faces rising femicide rates, Arussi and her feminist collective Brujas del Mar (“Witches of the Sea”) have emerged as a voice for women.
This year they inspired women across the country to stage a national strike on 9 March, when women stopped work and their other activities and stayed at home.
“At the moment there are so many slogans and mottos like “The revolution will be feminist” or “The future is feminist” – but the future is already here. We must be brave and keep rising.”
#6 SVITLANA TSIKHANOUSKAYA
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is a former presidential candidate in Belarus, where she led a national democratic movement. In August 2020, President Alexander Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory in the leadership election, sparking protests across the country amid widespread accusations of vote-rigging.
Shortly after the election, fearing for the safety of her children, Sviatlana fled Belarus for Lithuania. She continues to lead the democratic movement in exile.
“Never, for one second, believe anyone who says you are weak. We often don’t realize how strong we are.”
#5 NASRIN SOTOUDEH
Human Rights Activist, Iran
Nasrin Sotoudeh is an Iranian lawyer advocating for the rule of law and the rights of political prisoners, opposition activists, women, and children in Iran. She is serving a prison sentence for standing up against the country’s such-criticized justice system.
Despite her imprisonment and the constant threats to her family, Sotoudeh remains a defiant advocate for the rule of law.
“The hijab is obligatory [in Iran] – and if they can force this half-meter of fabric on us, they can do anything with us.”
#4 MANSI JOSHI
Manasi, an Indian para-athlete, is the current para-badminton world champion. In June 2020, the Badminton World Federation ranked her world number two in the SL3 singles. Manasi is also an engineer and a change-maker.
She aspires to drive a shift in how disability and para-sports are perceived in India. She was recently listed as a “Next Generation Leader” by Time magazine and appeared on the cover of its Asia edition as an advocate for the rights of disabled people in India.
“This year has been challenging for women in so many ways. Don’t let the tough times get the better of you: keep exploring every possibility. Give yourself some time off every day.”
#3 OKSANA PUSHKINA
State Duma Deputy, Russia
Oksana Pushkina is the deputy vice-chairwoman of the Committee on Family, Women and Children Issues, at Russia’s State Duma.
In 2018, when several dozen female journalists made sexual-harassment claims against Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, Oksana was the only parliamentarian to come forward and publicly support the journalists.
“The world has changed a lot in 2020, but besides the trauma and crisis, one thing I’ve learned is that new challenges always bring out the best in people.”
#2 NEMONTE NENUIMO
Waorani leader, Ecuador
Nemonte Nenquimo is an indigenous Waorani woman committed to defending her ancestral territory, culture and way of life in the Amazon rainforest.
She is co-founder of the indigenous-led non-profit organization Ceibo Alliance, the first female president of the Waorani organisation of Pastaza prov,ince, and one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.
“As women, we carry the strength needed to forge a path out of these dangerous times, when the survival of our planet and humanity is in peril. Now is the time for women to unite.”
#1 SANNA MARIN
Prime Minister, Finland
Sanna Marin is Prime Minister of Finland and leader of the Social Democratic Party of Finland. The coalition government she heads has been formed with four other parties, all led by women: Maria Ohisalo (Green League), Li Andersson (Left Alliance), Anna-Maja Henriksson (Swedish People’s Party), and Annika Saarikko (Centre Party).
Finland has been hailed for its handling of Covid-19, with one of the lowest infection rates in Europe, as of November 2020.
“We as women leaders can show that it is possible to fight the virus and at the same time tackle climate change, invest in education, and make socially just reforms in society.”
WOMEN AT THE CENTER, CREATE MORE THAN JUST STORIES
SHE BELIEVED SHE COULD SO SHE DID
Women are an incredibly molded creature of courage, strength, stability, comfort, and backing. GIRL POWER is a reference to an attitude of independence, confidence, and empowerment among young women.
POWER OF A WOMAN
She is powerful as in, she possesses:
✨Strength to bleed
✨Courage to breed
✨Potential to feed
Suppose, if a person puts up with something belonging to us, without any consent, who should be blamed for the act?
PERSON WHO TOOK IT WAY.
But what if you hand over something belonging to you, without your consent, then who shall stand as guilty?
And what if that SOMETHING I’m talking about is your POWER.
POWER is an inside thing that has an outer impact, that can’t be lost or even used without our consent.
LOSING POWER IS SELF-SABOTAGING
Power is our characteristic, power takes our courage to use itself. No one has the authority to take it away from you…and when I say NO ONE…I mean it.
Women are considered physically weak, fragile, soft, unstable, delicate, and emotional. Which is completely unjustified to consider here powerless.
You lose your power:
⚡When you let other take decision for you.
⚡When you let another person control your power.
⚡When you let yourself down by not working at the mark of others’ expectations.
⚡When you look into the mirror, don’t see yourself but what you have been told about yourself.
⚡When you let the other person, to gate crash your boundaries.
POWER IN HER VOICE
The voice of a woman is a deterrent for those, who unauthoritatively claim an implied right upon their lives.
It would be beneficial for those, who hamper her voice to cross-check :
⚡Who gave you the right to hamper a woman’s liberty?
⚡Who gave you the authority to permit a woman to do something or not?
⚡Who gave you the right to decide on access to the education and employment of a woman?
⚡Who gave you the right to set boundaries for a woman?
⚡Who gave you the right to dominate a woman’s voice?
⚡Who gave you the right to touch a woman unethically?
⚡Who gave you the authority to harm a woman who does not follow rules made by you?
Did you hear that, yes that what your conscious letting you know- NO ONE…
WHY SHE’s BEING HAMPERED?
There are situations that we never understand until the situation itself is flipped.
Earlier when women were not so exposed to the real world, not much mindful to be decisive on their part and completely dependent; the domestic environment was quite at peace (at least materialistically).
Today, a woman is accelerating in what so ever field she is, like hell. Now the domestic environment has drastically changed (separations within few years, socially recognized as lack of adjustment, LOL!).
Until a woman was not smart enough, not sensable enough, completely dependent, and within the set boundaries; it was digestible for the boundary setters.
By the time a woman became smart, sensible, independent, started setting boundaries according to their own will( obviously, boundary setters were out of their new boundary); those boundary setters found this immensely difficult to digest.
DEPICTS; lack of control, woman independence arouse the boundary setter’s insecurities regarding their existence.
REACTION TO AN ACTION IS ALWAYS FAIR
Dear women out there, never hold your voice back, though there may be many who will try to shut you up and others may not even listen to you.
Have anyone ever told you that- “You can’t do something because you are a woman?”
Give it a damn, we ‘as women’ don’t owe anything to anyone. If anyone tries to hamper our rights, I believe in giving them back and with interest, it would be ultimately fair to ourselves.
NO ONE POSSESSES YOU TO LET YOU KNOW, WHAT YOU SHOULD POSSESS ONLY BECAUSE “YOU ARE A WOMAN”.
Advocate for a leadership model that incorporates the skills, intelligence, and talents of women, to tackle worldly challenges.
CALLING OF ALL THE CHALLENGES OF THE 21st CENTURY-
The challenges of the 21st century, whether it is, climate change, the environment, an aging population, talent development, social inequities, telecommuting, new technologies.
Among the above-mentioned factors, the HEALTH factor hasn’t left any stones to turn, letting us know that:
‘we require a new multi-dimensional style of leadership because the challenges ahead of us require the contributions of everyone.’
COVID-19 was highly contagious, unpredictable, and deadly, even with an aggressive public policy response in China.
By the end of February, leaders across the globe were looking at the same facts,
‘as an invisible and dangerous enemy was fast approaching.’
Leaders of cities, states, and countries faced an unprecedented test. As:
⚡what to do?
⚡How to prepare and respond?
2021 THEME- International Women’s Day
“WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP: ACHIEVING AN EQUAL FUTURE IN A COVID-19 WORLD”
The theme celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ones who passed this test with flying colors are, ‘disproportionately women’. This is even though they make up only 7% of heads of state.
In short, they flattened the curve and controlled and prevented new cases.
The theme of #IWD2021 is also aligned with the priority theme of the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women,
“Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”.
WOMEN AS LEADERS
The More Things Change, the More It’s the Same Thing:
“Women and men remain categorized according to their sexual roles; women have community behaviors and men have so-called self-determination or individualistic behaviors. The leadership style attributed to men is considered normal and acceptable, but when women seek to make it theirs by displaying characteristics such as assertiveness, tenacity, and competitiveness, they no longer fit the stereotypical definition that has been devolved to them.”
To all the women who are told that you are-
These stereotypes have held us back for far too long. On 8th March #IWD2021, claim your seat at the table with #ChooseToChange .
WOMEN LEADERS DURING COVID-19
Countries with women leaders at the helm seem to have handled the coronavirus pandemic significantly better than their male counterparts.
Moreover, an important facet the study highlighted is the fact that:
In the initial three months of the pandemic in female-led countries saved nearly two times more lives than those run by male leaders despite having similar numbers of cases.
Women leaders were less willing to take risks to wither the lives. Concurrently, they were:
“more willing to take risks in the domain of the economy”.
Imposed a nationwide lockdown significantly earlier than male leaders.
The research paper reasoned that this may be due to, “the proactive and coordinated policy responses” adopted by female leaders, like:
✨New Zealand – Jacinda Ardern
✨Bangladesh – Sheikh Hasina
✨Germany – Angela Merkel
✨Denmark – Mette Frederiksen
✨Taiwan – Tsai Ing-Wen
WOMEN AT GROUND LEVEL DURING COVID-19
Existence of women at ground level, during COVID-19:
⚡Women make up to 70% of the workers on the frontline.
⚡Took public transportation to serve us, further exposing them to infection.
⚡At home, they were caregivers which even was overstretching.
What women seek or even deserve in return:
✨Support to release their stress
✨Fight against a spike in gender-based violence
✨Strength for financial standing
On the 8th of March let the world know- “What we want”, we want-
✨Our seat on the table
March is a #WomensHistoryMonth Stand together with all your leadership qualities to celebrate the women, on whose shoulders we stand tall, to thank their courage and persistence we have come so far.