Women's Day Special
International Women's Day "IWD" is also known as the International Working Women's Day or United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace which is celebrated every year on 8th of March all across the world in different regions of the countries in order to focus the achievements and contributions of the women in the society. The celebration of this event varies from region to region. Generally, it is celebrated to provide respect to whole women fraternity, appreciate them and to express love for them. As women are the major part of the society and plays a great role in the economic, political, and social activities, international women's day is commemorated to remember and appreciate women's all over achievements.
International women's day celebration was started celebrating as a socialist political event during which the holiday is proclaimed in many countries. At this event celebration, men express their love, care, appreciation and affection towards women just like the event of Mother's Day or Valentine's Day. It is celebrated every year with a preplanned and particular theme of the year to strengthen the political and social awareness towards the women struggles and their precious contributions.
International Women's Day Celebration in India
International Women's Day is celebrated all over the India by the Indian people with great zeal and passion on 8th of March to increase the awareness about women's rights. This event celebration plays a great role in distributing the real message about the women's right and their place in the society. It promotes the living condition of the women by solving their social issues.
International Women's Day Themes
International Women's Day is celebrated annually using a particular theme. Some of the year wise themes are given below:
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 1975 was "United Nations recognizes International Women's Day".
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 1996 was "Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future".
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 1997 was "Women and the Peace Table".
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 1998 was "Women and Human Rights".
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 1999 was "World Free of Violence against Women".
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 2000 was "Women Uniting for Peace".
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 2001 was "Women and Peace: Women Managing Conflicts".
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 2002 was "Afghan Women Today: Realities and Opportunities".
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 2003 was "Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals".
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 2004 was "Women and HIV/AIDS".
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 2005 was "Gender Equality Beyond 2005; Building a More Secure Future".
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 2006 was "Women in Decision-making".
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 2007 was "Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls".
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 2008 was "Investing in Women and Girls".
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 2009 was "Women and Men United to End Violence against Women and Girls".
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 2010 was "Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All".
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 2011 was "Equal Access to Education, Training, and Science and Technology: Pathway to Decent Work for Women".
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 2012 was "Empower Rural Women, End Poverty and Hunger".
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 2013 was "A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence against Women".
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 2014 was "A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women".
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 2015 was "Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity:Picture It!" (By UN), "Re-thinking Women's Empowerment and Gender Equality in 2015 and beyond" (by UNESCO) and "breaking through" (by Manchester City Council).
- The theme of the International Women's Day celebration of 2016 would be "Make it happen".
Women in armed forces
As more and more fields are opening up for women today, their visibility and recognition in different domains is also increasing. A shining example of this is the Indian armed forces where the role of women was limited to medical profession till 1992 before the doors were thrown open for them to enter as regular officers in aviation, logistics, law, engineering and executive cadres.
A number of young women apply for entry into the armed forces and their numbers have increased steadily over the years.
List of Indian women's firsts
Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi became the first Indian female physician in the year 1887. She was also the first Indian woman who was trained in Western medicine and the first woman to travel to the United States of America.
Roshini Sharma recently became the first Indian woman to ride a motorbike from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.
Shila Dawre became country's first woman auto rickshaw driver when she first stepped into the 'male-dominated' zone in the year 1988. Pune based Dawre wants to now start an academy for women interested in becoming trained auto drivers.
Arunima Sinha is the first female amputee to climb Mount Everest. She is also the first Indian amputee to climb the Everest. She was a national level volleyball player who was pushed from a running train by thieves in 2011 as she was resisting them. After meeting this accident, one of her legs had to be amputated below the knee.
Reita Faria Powel is an Indian model, doctor and beauty queen, who won Miss World 1966 to become the first Asian woman to win the title. She also went on to become the first Miss World winner to qualify as a doctor.
Arati Saha became the first Indian and Asian woman to swim across English Channel in the year 1959. She also became the first female sportsperson to be awarded Padma Shri in 1960.
Mithali Raj was the first woman to score a double hundred in Test Cricket (214* against New Zealand at Wellington, 2004). She was the first to achieve this landmark in the world.
Mother Teresa became the first Indian woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Mother Teresa founded many Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation, giving her life to social work.
Indira Gandhi became the first woman Prime Minister of India and served from 1966 to 1977. Indira Gandhi was named as the "Woman of the Millennium" in a poll which was organised by BBC in 1999. In 1971, she became the first woman to receive the Bharat Ratna award.
Pratibha Patil became the first woman President of India and held office from July 2007 to July 2012.
Kalpana Chawla was the first Indian woman who reached in space. As a mission specialist and a primary robotic arm operator, she went into space in 1997.
Kiran Bedi, joining Indian Police Service (IPS) in 1972, Kiran Bedi became the first woman officer in India. Moreover, later in 2003, Kiran Bedi also became the first woman who was appointed as the United Nations Civil Police adviser.
Anjali Gupta is the first female flying officer in the Indian Air Force to be court martialled. She used to work for the Aircraft Systems and Testing Establishment unit in Bangalore. Anjali completed her Masters of Philosophy in Sociology from the Delhi University and was first posted at Belgaum in 2001.
Sania Mirza a professional tennis player, became the first ever Indian woman to win the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) title in 2005. Later in 2015, SaniaMirza became the first Indian woman to be ranked no.1 in WTA's double rankings.
Saina Nehwal became the first Indian women to win a medal in Badminton at 2012 Olympic Games. Later in 2015, she became the first Indian woman to secure no. 1 position in world rankings.
Why do Women Refrain from Joining Armed Forces?
However, many women are opting out of this esteemed profession within few years of joining. Why is this so? Some of the reasons are lack of basic facilities while on duty, no role in combat operations, and no permanent commission even after 14 years of service as well as biased attitude of male colleagues.
While there are some practical considerations about national security because of which women are kept away from combative positions, efforts must be continued to make the armed forces a more gender-sensitive profession and accommodate the needs of its women cadre. At present, it looks like the battle is half won.