Thursday, March 8, 2012


REMIND US THE STRUGGLE ISN’T OVER - Just when some women mistakenly think that there is no need for us to fight for women’s equality, we are quickly reminded that it is not so. Last year, as International Women’s Day marked its 100th year, Toronto newspaper columnist Margaret Wente declared the fight for equality is over. She is not the only one who thinks so. But this is far from the truth. Women in these parts of the world have won the battle of being legally equal but the struggle for gender equality is hardly over.  This week, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, published, a special press release on gender equality for International Women’s Day. It states the proportion of women at risk of poverty or social exclusion is higher than for men in all EU member states. Today marks the 101st International Woman’s day. We have indeed come a long way. But those who think that the job is done are simply deluding themselves.

For example, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and UN Women urged the Government of Afghanistan to fully and promptly implement the law on Elimination of Violence against Women.  “As long as women and girls in Afghanistan are subject to violence with impunity, little meaningful and sustainable progress for women’s rights can be achieved in the country,” said Director of Human Rights for UNAMA. Enacted in 2009, the landmark Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) law criminalises child marriage, forced marriage, selling and buying women for the purpose or under the pretext of marriage, baad (giving away a woman or girl to settle a dispute), forced self-immolation and 17 other acts of violence against women including rape and beating. In spite of these legal protections, violence against women and girls remains pervasive in Afghanistan with an inconsistent response from Afghan authorities.

Today marks the 101st anniversary of International Women’s Day. It’s a day when people around the world host events with the goal to inspire women. Some will observe the day by attending seminars on women’s health, making donations to causes that aid women around the world or celebrating the accomplishments of notable women from the past and present. For instance, the Upanishads tells about two female scholars, Maitreyi and Gargi, who pose demanding questions to the learned sages.

All ancient and even not so ancient societies, both religious and secular, have looked similarly upon women in ways that today’s society does not. The reason is largely because of the obvious fact that women are no less intelligent, no more lusty, etc., than men. Other religious traditions, such as Christianity, have for the most part moved on from the Bible’s traditional description of the role of women to embrace the times that are with us, in which women are involved in every aspect of society. ... Now they can vote, have a say as to what the world needs, and thus share the loving nature you attribute to them by investing it in determining world leaders. Nor is there any evidence that women are now less caring at home. The equality that women have gained has also caused many men to become more caring.

Śrīla Bhakti Vedanta Tripurari Mahārāja :
“Women And The Reality Of Our Times”
Sri Caitanya Sanga - January 31, 2001, Vol. III, No. 4

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