Category : Women's Day

As the world marks International Women’s Day on March 8, we look at the celebration, the theme and its origins. International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate women’s social, economic and political achievements, reflect on progress and demand gender equality. For over a hundred years, International Women’s Day has put the spotlight on issues affecting women all over the world. Today, International Women’s Day belongs to everyone who believes that women’s rights are human rights.

The predecessor of International Women’s Day, National Women’s Day, was first observed in the United States on February 28, 1909, at the suggestion of activist Theresa Malkiel. An International Women’s Day was suggested in 1910 during an International Socialist Women’s Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. During this conference, Clara Zetkin, a German communist activist, universal suffragist and advocate of women’s rights, proposed the idea that there be a designated day for women everywhere to “press for their demands”. Her idea was met with unanimous approval from all the women representing 17 countries. The United Nations first celebrated International Women’s Day on 8 March 1975 during the International Women’s Year to highlight women’s achievements and bridge gender parity worldwide.

Importance of Women’s Day

Historically, as a girl child grows up, the social construct of being a ‘girl’ is introduced and ingrained deeply before she can identify her voice as a child. In many patriarchal and ignorant societies across the world, gender roles tend to be defined rigidly, and time and again, women are needed to prove themselves to be worthy of equal respect, education, employment, and the right to opportunities and equitable resources, which are still “privileges” in many social setups.

We often hear about gender inequality being reflected through statistics on a large number of girls dropping out of school or being subjected to child labour and abuse and not getting equal opportunities in society. Each statistic represents a girl who is denied the right to an education, good (physical and mental) health, and a sensitised environment for growth and awareness on an everyday basis. Those who are “privileged” to obtain their fundamental rights are let down by implicit prejudice towards them. Alongside the cases of explicit discrimination, what often remains neglected are the instances of microaggression against girls, which occur on an everyday basis. They are subtle gestures made intentionally or unintentionally in indirect comments, jokes, insensitive tones of language, and presumptions that can be hurtful or stereotypical towards a particular gender. This reality is practised & reinforced by different forms of media & people around us.

In today’s day and age, deep intersectionality between gender and the quality of life is deeply concerning. The scenario is changing, though. Women and girls have broken the glass ceiling, but there is still a long way to go. The reality is that most girls in our country and across many parts of the globe seek dynamic change through urgent and equitable action.

The day is an opportunity to raise awareness of rights gaps, and organisers also use the day to celebrate individual women’s progress and achievements. The day is an occasion to celebrate and revive the joy of feminine power. The day enables women to recognise their strength and stand up for themselves and the world. The day ensures women know their rights, strengths and achievements. The day brings an opportunity to the world to rise and fight back the challenges women face. In a nutshell, women’s day is not just a day but a significant step taken for the better welfare of society.

Role of women in society

Role of Women as Caretakers: Women are the primary caretakers of children and elders in every country. International studies demonstrate that when a society’s economy and political organisation change, women take the lead in helping the family adjust to new realities and challenges. They are likely to be the prime initiator of outside assistance and play an essential role in facilitating (or hindering) changes in family life.

The central role of women in Food Security: Women are responsible for half of the world’s food production, and in most developing countries, they produce between 60 and 80 per cent of food. They are also responsible for nutrition in most households, including purchasing and preparing food. Studies have shown that causal improvements in food security occur when women enjoy greater equality in access to resources and decision-making.

Contribution to the Economy: Women are essential contributors to the economy. They play a significant role in the labour force and contribute to the growth and development of businesses. Women have also been proven successful entrepreneurs and are starting their businesses faster.

Education: Education is a crucial factor in the development of societies. Women’s education is critical because it is linked to improved health outcomes, increased economic growth, and poverty reduction. Educated women are also more likely to invest in their families and communities, resulting in a ripple effect that benefits everyone.

Empowerment: Empowering women is crucial to creating a more just and equitable society. When women are empowered, they are more likely to take leadership roles and contribute to decision-making processes that impact their lives and the lives of those around them. Women’s empowerment also leads to improved health outcomes, increased economic growth, and poverty reduction.

Political Participation: Women’s participation in politics is essential for developing democratic societies. When women are represented in political leadership, they bring diverse perspectives and experiences to the table, resulting in more informed decision-making. Women’s political participation also leads to more inclusive policies that address the entire population’s needs.

Family and Community: Women are the backbone of families and communities. They provide care, support, and nurturing to their families and are essential to the development of children. Women also play a significant role in community building and often take on leadership roles in community organisations.

Women in Islam

Despite misconceptions, the status of women in Islam is that of a beloved equal. Amid a profoundly sexist historical context, the Prophet (PBUH) preached boldly on the importance of women, celebrating their unique contributions to family and society, condemning the ill-treatment of women and campaigning for their rights.

Many of the negative stereotypes around women in Islam arise not from Islamic guidance but from cultural practices, which not only denigrate the rights and experiences of women but also stand in direct opposition to the teachings of Allah (SWT) and His Prophet (PBUH).

This verse shows us that men and women have equal responsibilities for observing Islamic teachings; another Qur’anic verse lays out the status of women and men as equals, stating, “To whoever, male or female, does good deeds and has faith, we shall give a good life and reward them according to the best of their actions.” (16:97)

In 610 CE, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) lived in a historical context rooted in sexism. From Europe to the Arabian world, women were not treated as equal to men. Islam itself was born in the Arabian Peninsula, now Saudi Arabia, where women did not have businesses, own property or inherit money. What’s more, forced marriage was common, education for girls was rare, and female babies were often abandoned or buried alive.

The Prophet (PBUH) and his businesswoman wife, Khadija (RA), stood against many unjust practices, advocating for men to treat women and girls with the utmost respect. According to the laws of Islam, every life is considered sacred, and men and women have the right to choose whom to marry and should never be forced.

The Prophet (PBUH) also promoted equal access to education, teaching us that “The pursuit of knowledge is the duty of every Muslim, man and woman.” [Ibn Maja] The Prophet’s (PBUH) own daughter, Fatima (RA), was highly educated and respected. It is documented that whenever Fatima (RA) entered a room, the Prophet (PBUH) would stand up and receive her.

Challenges Faced by Women

Despite the importance of women in society, women face numerous challenges that hinder their ability to contribute fully. Some of these challenges include:

Gender Discrimination: Gender discrimination is a pervasive issue that affects women in all areas of their lives. Women often face discrimination in the workplace, politics, and social settings, resulting in unequal opportunities and reduced access to resources.

Violence Against Women: Violence against women is a significant barrier to women’s empowerment and development. Women experience various forms of violence, including domestic violence, sexual harassment, and rape, which have long-term physical and psychological effects.

Lack of Access to Education: Women’s access to education still needs to be improved in many parts of the world. Lack of access to education limits women’s opportunities and hinders their ability to contribute fully to society.

Lack of Access to Healthcare: Women often face significant challenges in accessing healthcare, particularly in developing countries. Lack of access to healthcare results in poor health outcomes for women and limits their ability to contribute to society.

Other Challenges are :

  • The need for more women in positions of power
  • Women’s safety and security
  • Female foeticide
  • The lack of respect for caregiving
  • Patriarchy
  • Not enough women at the table
  • Sexism, racism and economic inequality
  • Navigating career and motherhood
  • Trauma-centered feminism
  • Normalising misogyny

What to do?

  • Cultivate equal respect and integrity towards girls and women, which is the prerequisite regardless of gender, age, caste, class, or region.
  • Foster independent thought and expression through access to education, awareness, and financial literacy.
  • Ensure access to good (physical, mental, menstrual, and emotional) health resources and facilities. Remember, little yet thoughtful gestures are one of the most powerful languages.
  • Take a stand against child labour and dowry if you encounter such episodes.
  • Be a part of the more significant movement by supporting organisations that are passionately and genuinely working on issues of the girl child and women’s empowerment.

Think about a gender-equal world – a safe, inclusive, empowered and equitable world built on values of respect, integrity, authenticity, diversity and harmony, and free of bias, discrimination and prejudice. The question is – can this turn into reality? The choice is in our hands!


  1. Heba

    Well- written article. Keep up the good work.

  2. Muktabhabna

    mashaallah, very important article. may allah bless you.

  3. Batul Lokhandwala

    Excellent article. Great work

    • Heena khunti

      Great work ????

  4. Bhavnagariya Rajvi



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *