International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated on 8 March around the world. The theme for International women’s Day 2021 is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world”.
Women are still lagging behind when it comes to leadership roles in business. Because there are lots of reasons and challenges. At one time girls were confined to their homes. They were deprived of their rights. There was a lot of struggle to ensure the right of women's education. In many countries, women are still deprived of education. Besides, millions of girls and young women miss out from school. According to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), “it is estimated that 15 million girls –mainly those living in poverty – will never set foot in a classroom, compared to 10 million boys.” For Covid-19, the female education rate will be quite alarming. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to the negative impacts of education disruption caused by school closures. In South and West Asia, 2.8 million women and girls may not be able to return to education, from pre-primary to tertiary levels. During the pandemic period, many female students have been victims of child marriage. In Indonesia alone, 33,000 child marriages were permitted in the first six months of 2020, doubling the 2019 rate. According to UNICEF, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic now threatens to roll back progress on ending child marriage. As children and families cope with school closures, loss of income and increased pressure in the home, there are heightened risks of child marriage.
On the other hand, many women have been victims of domestic violence. According to United Nations: “In France, domestic violence cases increased by 30 percent since the lockdown on March 17. In Argentina, emergency calls for domestic violence have increased by 25 percent since the lockdown on March 20.” A recent survey by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF), a local human rights organization in Bangladesh, reported that “ at least 4,249 women and 456 children were subjected to domestic violence in 27 out of 64 districts of Bangladesh in April, with 1,672 women and 424 children facing violence for the first time in their lives.”
Patriarchal society and gender inequality are responsible for it. Their only goal is to force everything on women. In many societies, women still have no right to make decisions. Girls are forced to follow this tradition. There is still a lot of discrimination in society regarding the physical beauty and skin color of girls. Patriarchal society determines this kind of ritual. That’s why a girl has to undergo training from her early childhood to make herself beautiful. Overall, the body has been placed at the center of consideration of beauty. Ultimately, it results in psychology that every woman is constantly and primarily concerned about her physical beauty. In the 19th century, women were confined in the kitchen & now in the supervision of their own physique. Women are still confined to this stereotype practice of society.
Women still lag behind in leadership. One of the biggest challenges in the world to being a woman leader. In developing countries, women get much humiliation from society. Many men cannot accept the fact that a woman can be a leader. Most men do not like to see women in high positions. But men dominate the highest corporate and institutional positions in the world. According to Forbes Insight Study, ‘Globally, women hold just 24% of senior leadership positions. Women represent 45% of the S&P 500 workforce, but only 4% of the CEOs” (Catalyst, 2016). In a study of nearly 22,000 publicly traded organizations worldwide, 60% have no female board members (Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2016).
On the other hand, in every country in the world, women continue to be paid less for comparable work than men. Women's work is still underestimated. It’s really very hard to change people’s mindsets in a day. Every day women face many challenges in their life. But women should accept this challenge and work more. They should more confident and enterprising. Many women have witnessed a different context in Covid-19. They know that “life and struggle” is not a different word. It is one word and interconnected with each other. So, women have to accept the challenge. This struggle and challenge make them more courageous and successful. If there is any injustice, women have to raise their voices. Women have to achieve their own rights. Because this narrow society always prefers men to women. But a society can never prosper without the participation of women.
Employee qualifications, work skills should be seen in the workplace. Work should not be evaluated as a woman or a man. The concept of gender stereotypes in the workplace should be eliminated. Now it is the time to obviate the patriarchal mentality from society. Men and women are not opponents of each other. If they cooperate with each other, everyone's life will be easier and simpler. Kazi Nazrul Islam (The National poet of Bangladesh) strongly emphasized the confluence of the roles of both sexes and their equal importance to life:
I don’t see any difference
between a man and woman.
Whatever great or benevolent achievements
that are in this world
half of that was by woman,
the other half by man.