International Women’s Day: You Can Be The Difference

03 Mar,2021


By Sanjeev Kotnala


March 8, International Women’s Day is just around the corner. The annual celebration of Womanhood and Empowerment. A day with the spotlight on women. Just like the Diwali lights, when the day is over, these spotlights on women and their issues will be neatly packed and tucked away till next year.

As I write, many brands and organisation will be giving the final touch to their Women’s Day celebrations. Nothing has changed. Celebrating Women’s Day is a statement of truth and reality. It tells you that the bias exists. That there are created stereotypes by men, barriers and obstacles in the life of a woman. That society still needs to mend its way.

I don’t think in my lifetime the need to celebrate women’s day will become obsolete.




Suddenly many brands wake up from deep sleep. They find a new purpose. Shamelessly try speaking on behalf of women and demonstrate how wrong the society is. Treating the audience with wonderfully crafted videos. All in good intent! But the intent counts for nothing.

The brands will speak of women empowerment, her right to decide, multitasking, contribution as homemakers, how the male in the house should support her and how motherhood is a challenging journey. Brands celebrate women achievers across society. They amplify how they care for them.

Women-centric brands will be vociferous in their solidarity with women. They will go out of their way to associate with the occasion. And in this fake make-believe world, few brands with real intent and action will also be lost.



Even the government and some politicians treat women’s day as an opportunity. They talk about how statistics prove that things are changing. How they have been conscious of the need and what they have done for women. Few schemes addressing women vote-bank will be announced may, only to be forgotten later.

Other than the few landmark judgments, you will keep hearing of questionable views—no rape in marriage, the rapist should marry the victim. And many more that will shake up your belief.



Newspapers, television channels will dig into their archives and bring alive the multifaceted women. Interview woman high achievers and dedicate a whole supplement to them. Most of them will paint a rosy picture of how things have changed. And when you ask women, you will realise, nothing has changed, or the change is just not enough.

A brave few will take realistic stock of the situation. But, most will continue to undermine the role and position of women in the society.

Social media will celebrate the day as they do every other moment. Maybe with a little bit of more sensitivity. But mostly, it will be the mask that you will see.

You will find predominately male panels discussing the life of a woman. Polarised views on empowerment, second innings after motherhood, sanitary hygiene, girl child education, love jehad, right to abortion and same-sex marriage, all will find their slots in the discussions.

Sites dedicated to advertising and marketing will do an in-depth analysis of how brands have tried communicating what they may not believe in. It happens every year. (MxMIndia doesn’t do it any longer, but we know who Mr Kotnala is referring to. – Ed)



The males will leisurely wake up and wish ‘Happy Women’s Day’ to the women in the house. They will carry that to the workplace with a knowing smirk. And then they will pat themselves, a job well done. Job is over. Even before Women’s day is few hours old, they will be back and jokingly say, men, will be men.

Wisecracks will be shared on social media. There will be jokes on women day and their problems. A few politically inclined will talk the right things but will never walk the talk in reality.  But most myopic men will continue to be scared of women empowerment.



The day will leave the homemaker and the working women equally fatigued. They will be emotionally, mentally and functionally scarred through the year and mostly not in a position to appreciate the well-intended efforts! They still have to work about work arena biases, sexual molestation, rape, murder and unsolicited advice. They will always remain worried about returning late at night from work and the prying eyes. Nothing would have changed.

The little change that would have happened would have been because of the lockdown. Instead of Government and brands, they would thank Coronavirus.



If you are really concerned and want to take a proactive step, start celebrating women’s day every day of the year. Encourage education and financial independence. Stop child labour. Promise yourself not to remain a silent observer if you witness women being targeted unnecessarily. Be fair in your dealing and expectations. Be gender-sensitive.

Because every small step and acts count.

And in the process, prove that the cynical me is wrong.

That there is hope.


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