By D. Raja
As people all over the world observe and celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, the CPI extends its solidarity to all who remain committed to the fight against patriarchy and steadfastly uphold gender equality. The International Women’s Day celebration started officially in Soviet Russia in 1917 itself after women gained suffrage. On that occasion, leader of the Russian Revolution Vladimir Lenin categorically stated that “under capitalism the female half of the human race is doubly oppressed.”
Our struggle is against this double oppression and International Women’s Day is one solemn occasion to remember the sacrifices made by our comrades to rid our country from the plague of patriarchal oppression and violence. The questions of education, access to resources, equal opportunities, healthcare and recognition as workers for women remain unresolved. In our country, forces that are opposed to women’s liberation and equality have captured power. Those who reduce women to being mere gateways of caste system are ruling. This is opposed to the values and demands of the women’s movement with its insistence on gaining gender equality and freedom.
Sometime back, the city of Seattle voted to ban caste discrimination. Only on March 7, Spain’s government has approved a draft law that aims to bolster the presence of women in decision-making spheres by setting out quotas for women in politics, business and professional associations. All over the world, a need is being felt to enact progressive legislations to ensure equality and social justice. However, in our country, the bill to ensure 33 per cent reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies has not come out of the cold storage under the BJP-RSS regime.
Legendary leader of the CPI and women’s movement, Comrade Geeta Mukherjee dedicated her life to win women’s reservation in legislative bodies. We are observing the centenary of her birth this year and it would be befitting for us to fight and get the bill passed. That will be truly honouring her memory and gaining for our women their just due. Ensuring women representation will truly underline the hard work women have put in building our country, whether it be a tribal women collecting forest produce in a remote area or a young woman giving her best in a technology company.
The prime architect of the Indian constitution, Dr BR Ambedkar said that he “measures the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.” We have to stand true to this standard set by Babasaheb Ambedkar and strive for equality among genders and put an end to domination. We salute all the fellow travellers of this path to equality and harmony on the occasion of women’s day and appeal to defeat the forces that are undoing the progress and achievements of the women’s movement. (IPA Service)