Live up to its spirit wholeheartedly
Editorial @ The Daily Star
It is exactly a hundred years to the month that the very first International Women’s Day (IWD) was launched after Clara Zetkin, Leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, proposed the idea of an International Women’s Day. At the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen in 1910 she suggested that the day, called Women’s Day, be celebrated across the world on the same day to press for their demands for better salary, working conditions and other facilities.
Although we have come a long way since 1911, and the UN has been celebrating this day since 1975, one wonders whether the compulsions that had motivated the league of working women to set aside a day in the calendar to draw attention to their plight have been fully addressed, far less met in any fair degree.
We feel that this year’s theme, which happens to be the centenary year of the IWD — equal access to education, training, science and technology: pathway to decent work for women — is extremely appropriate and we fully endorse the declaration with the hope that all concerned will do everything that is necessary to pursue the theme to its fullest extent. It is essential to note that bettering the condition of women requires the collective effort of the society and is not the concern of the women alone.
In the context of Bangladesh one cannot overemphasise the possible ill-consequences of continued discrimination against women, of their remaining marginalized in all spheres of their existence, of lack of empowerment that exerts a retrogressive influence on the progress of women. This, regrettably, is happening in a country where the political leadership role is dominated by women. Absence of across-the-board empowerment of women as well as their being deprived of direct participation in decision making and policy formulation cannot be put up with any longer.
As women in our country have a long way to go before taking their rightful place in society, an occasion like Woman’s Day can ill-afford to be ritualistic.