South Asia: International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day, and I've been poking my nose a bit to take a look at what the blogs have to say. A post on adhunika blog poses a question asking what the readers would want changed. While this other post doesn't mention Women's Day, adhunika blog talks of wedding related expenses for middle class Bangladeshis. As it is in most cultures, the bride's family has to have the deeper pockets.

My observation reveals that it is mostly women who are the show pieces of the extravagance at the weddings. The brides today have to have 5/6 layers on their neck, heavy earrings, their head covered in different gold items, arms full of bangles, mantashas and rotonchur’s. They are consciously or subconsciously in a contest with their friends or family in wedding expenses and the (often exaggerated) social status of their grooms.

scribble pad on the usual

anyhow. if you think im grumbling about all that, contrary to appearances, im not. i was steeling myself for the absolute inanities that i would inevitably hear about how women dont have those (insert every single very much still contemporary issue here) problems any more. and yaay, who just lost a bet with me? i sure did.

iFaqeer on women in Pakistan.

As I started to say above, even with all the attention focused on Pakistan and Muslims since 2001, these women demonstrate in all they say and do, and in how they say and do it, something no amount of ink–print or electronic–has been able to capture and convey. And that is that one can live in a dictatorship, one can be victimized in the most barbaric way, and yet, even in this day and age, stand up and speak truth to power, demand justice while continuing to have and draw strength from a very strong and personal faith (as Mukhtaran Mai does) and advocate strongly for things like human rights, civil society, and civil rights in the context of, and with respect for, faith, family, tradition, and values.

The Blank Noise Project asks contributors to talk about their experiences with Street Sexual Harassment.

This is an attempt to understand how different women ( across age groups/ cultures/ communities) have dealt with street sexual harassment in their everyday lives. Male bloggers are encouraged to share stories of women in their lives and how they have dealt with street sexual harassment.

Women across the Indian Blogosphere responded to this call by The Blank Noise Project and responded with their experiences. Twilight Fairy shares her thoughts on dealing with harassers. Falstaff makes an interesting point by saying “I'm constantly appalled by how much of what passes for feminism seems to focus almost entirely on establishing victimisation, while paying little or no attention to what can be done about it”. My life, my words on why street sexual harassment is real problem.

I think it is very important. How many women would go to work if they could travel without fear and their fathers/husbands did not impose restrictions on their movements (of course, the fact that they impose restrictions is itself a problem)? How many women are likely to get a quality education when the centre of education – the university or the college – is away from home, perhaps, in another city?

As for me, after a particularly harrowing day, I am not feeling too international or womanly. But, regardless of your sex or gender, have a nice International Women's Day.


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