The blog discusses women should be a central feature of every country’s efforts because an educated, audacious, and skilled female population means an educated, accomplished and brave society.

This year, the Women’s March held in the major cities of Pakistan to commemorate the International Women’s Day drew a lot of attention; this was only the second march of its type in Pakistan. The march drew criticism from some people who were offended by the provocative nature of some of the slogans raised. However, the significance of commemorating Women’ Day has deeper roots and should not be limited to the perceived excesses of a minority. While living in male-dominated society, the need to celebrate women’s day is necessary. In the broader perspective, International Women’s Day is a day that celebrates the achievements and accomplishments of women around the world.

UMT also celebrated the International Women’s Day with a symbolic walk; Rector UMT Dr Muhammad Alsam and DG UMT Abid H K Shirwani also participated. UMT Department of Gender Studies organized events in view of the global theme for 2019 -‘Think Equal, Build Smart, and Innovate for Change,’ the event aimed to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure. An inter-university declamation and poster contest followed by a research seminar on ‘Gender Equality: National and International Protection Mechanisms’ was held.

In historical terms, Women’s Day is a significant day in the calendar to remember the valiant, fearless, strongminded, and hard-working women all over the world and to fight for gender inequality across the globe. On this day, women are acknowledged for their skills, expertise, successful work, and achievements without any regard given to divisions, whether national, international, cultural, political, ethnic, or economic.

The first observance of women’s day took place on February 28, 1909 in New York City on a national level. On March 8, 1914, several European countries supported women’s suffrage. In 1965, erstwhile Soviet Union was the first country to make women’s day an official holiday. However, in 1975 women’s day become a truly international and a global event when the United Nations (UN) began marking 8 March as International Women’s Day.

Only 27 countries have adopted women’s day as a national holiday but unfortunately the majority of the countries don’t see the day as day for fighting for the rights of women. The day is largely disregarded by many countries or has lost its meaning and significance in others.

Over the last century, women in many countries have struggled immensely and have succeeded to some extent to secure their rights such as labor rights and protection from violence, domestic abuse, and sexual abuse. Women have made great strides in the fight to secure equal opportunities in politics, economies, leadership. In spite of this, the goal of attaining and accomplishing full worldwide gender equality is still a very long way off. In many countries, women are paid much less than men, suffer from institutional barriers, discrimination and in many cases they don’t have the right to pass citizenship to their children. 

To attain a world that is gender equal and not gender biased, requires social modernization and innovation that would work for both men and women and will leave no gender behind. From urban planning that centers on society safety to e-learning platforms that would take classrooms to women and girls, etc. modernization and innovation can take the human race to gender equality.

The most persistent and tenacious human rights challenges of the last several generations are connected to women’s equality. To reach an optimum goal of gender equality is to make sure that women’s needs, requirements, and experiences are incorporated at the very beginning of any technology and innovations. It means that constructing keen solutions that go beyond recognizing the gender gaps to addressing the needs of both men and women.

There has been a tremendous progress towards gender equality from the past decade but still a lot has to be done. The empowerment of women should be a central feature of every country’s efforts because an educated, audacious, and skilled female population means an educated, accomplished and brave society.

Insha Rafique

Insha Rafique is a Software Engineer. She has done her Bachelors in Software Engineering from UMT.

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