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"Inspiring change – International Women's Day"
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"Inspiring change – International Women's Day"

Madusha ErandiInternational Women’s Day is celebrated to uphold the rights of women in society, writes Madusha Erandi, 21, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Colombo in Sri Lanka, who argues that advancing equality for women will benefit society as a whole. 

Some time back in the late 1890’s there was a garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions. It is one of the many movements for women’s rights and equality that evolved to build support for and achieve universal suffrage for women. 

The status of women has evolved positively and negatively through many stages in history, some where women were able to govern countries and some where they have been undermined in a larger scale.

In fact, the fundamental purpose of Women’s Day is to uphold the rights of women in society and to create equality among male and females. Although women have achieved much, there have been many instances where the status of women has faced discrimination. In the fields of science, engineering and technology, the concept of equality should be highlighted because of the comparatively lesser participation of the female than male population.

During earlier days it was a norm in society that women were a vulnerable group and may have been more dependent on someone. It has been said that women in their childhood should be under the protection of the father, in youth should be under the control of the husband, and in later stages of life should be protected by the male children. Although this concept is outdated, untouched principles of it still prevail in society today.

Whatever the society you belong to, or regardless of ethnicity, race or religion, that inferior “norm” about women has not completely faded away. Even in ancient Rome where the most basic, fundamentals of law emerged, male dominant society was in existence. The “Paterfamilias” was the eldest male in the family and all decisions about children, contracts, and inheritance were taken by him. In their inferior position females could not make valid wills or contracts, couldn’t apply for curatorship, and female children could not be adopted in to families. However, along with the development of the human race and ideologies many of those extreme concepts diminished eventually. Despite that fact, still in many parts of the world there are women who are economically vulnerable and are highly dependent on men.  Being dependent causes many family and social issues that can be the source of long-lasting conflicts.  Thus, increased financial independence for women can create a more economically independent, stable society as a whole.

When talking about economic growth in a country, it is evident that a higher population of the labour force consists of males. If there is an equal percentage of women and men, economic growth will be in acceleration. When women can contribute to the economic development of a country, there are fewer present-day sacrifices to fuel future consumption. There should be a growth of women-owned business even on a smaller scale; then entrepreneurship can be stimulated. It can also be a way of revealing women’s hidden abilities and using them for the development of the country.

Other than in the economic field, women can create a greater difference in the fields of fine- and other forms of arts. As a society, we should be able to think in broad scope and act toward effective change. In fact there are many actresses coming in to the field, but no one cares about the way some directors ask for sexual bribes that make women more humiliated and uncomfortable in society. Male domination still rules and a segment of society suffers as a consequence. Therefore, women should be strengthened in the fields of arts and their equality should be acknowledged.

Getting women in to senior leadership roles is a much-debated topic in the world today. It has positively changed throughout the world where internationally and nationally women are in as many dignitary positions as men are. Sri Lanka is one proud nation to produce the first female prime minister in the world, and recently a woman won the judiciary as well. Since at present there is a lesser number of female MPs in Parliament, it would be better if we could convert that to an equal number to strengthen the country’s governance.

In sports women are supposed to play a remarkable role, and it’s evident that they are in a similar position to men in many sports. Even in formerly male-only games like wrestling, there is an invasion of women and the equality concept has succeeded to a far extent.

This positive emergence of women should not be marginalized only to a specific geographical area or specific segment in the society. This should be the inspiring change that we all look forward to. As long as we hope, work and dream for it, society and womanhood will be inspiringly changed.        

 photo credit: wiccked via photopin cc

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About me: I am determined and ambitious; ready to take up any challenge. A former journalist, I’m studying law at University of Colombo and doing freelance writing. I believe the youth is the fruitful future of any country and the positive anticipation of the developing world.

I love observing people, their nature and writing about them. I am a wannabe photographer. I swim, do athletics, and sing. I consider myself as a genuine social worker. Writing is simply my passion. 

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit:
http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/
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