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Happy Women’s Day?

In an ideal world, women wouldn’t need a day to celebrate them. We would be equals with our male counterparts in all areas. At home. At work. Everywhere.

At home we would be equals with our partners, treated with the same respect demanded of us; child rearing would be a shared responsibility as would cooking or housekeeping.

At work, we wouldn’t have to fight for our right to equality or income parity, or have to break glass ceilings, deal with discrimination or sexual harassment. We wouldn’t be patronised or mansplained. We wouldn’t be too young or too old or too married or too pregnant or too divorced for the work we are as capable of doing as our male counterparts.

However, I get the need for a day that celebrates women. I really do. I am not so cocooned by my privilege that I’d turn my nose up at why it is necessary.

I’m just sad that Women’s Day is like everything else: a commercial spectacle. Another excuse to hock your wares.

I’ve received over 20 promotions via text and email today. From a gourmet grocery chain offering me 15% off for every ₹1000 I spend in-store because ‘I dazzle even without a crown and “deserve” the best’, to a clothing brand telling me I should celebrate at their store with a personal stylist.

Social media has been worse. Like the car company that wants me to get into the driver’s seat by buying a car, or the organiser of a women’s leadership event who has “spent the last few years of his life helping women around the world succeed” and wants me to participate in the next edition of his event.

My female friends have been telling me hilarious stories of “women-only” lunches at restaurants, foot reflexology massages, red roses, cupcakes and party favours. Of HR sending out a form email, laced with trite sentiments. As one of them put it, “I feel far more patronised today than I usually do”.

If only organisations and brands went beyond the obvious and made an effort to drive change.

If only organisations genuinely celebrated the sentiment behind this day by taking a good hard look at themselves and how their policies affect the women in their employ.

If only brands celebrated Women’s Day by doing good for the demographic they claim to be celebrating. For example, they could use the profits they made on Women’s Day to fund a girl’s education via NGOs like Aham Bhumika; or partner with organisations like Rang De to microfinance female entrepreneurs in rural India. It’s not rocket science. And it’s not hard to do.

I’d support brands who made a genuine effort to celebrate women on Women’s Day. I’d even fall in love with them a little. Wouldn’t you?

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