What does the future hold for women or are they the future? Transition in the age of COVID-19 and beyond

  • 10 months   ago

Breaking all barriers of gender oppression, cultural stereotypes, exploitation, and victimization – manifested by a hostile and degrading ecosystem – women around the globe are playing a major role in leading the fight against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. 

Women have proved to be successful crisis-tacklers during the pandemic. From tackling the pandemic to dealing with the rise of heat in the House of States, we are witnessing the dawn of a new era - where women, once confined to their houses, considered to be weak and flag-bearers of oppression – are now fighting their way up – shoulder to shoulder with men – the preachers of patriarchy.

 

 

With women successfully leading the frontlines of most booming millennial ventures, gender inequality is taking a backseat as there is no more stopping them from rewriting the age-old tradition of a humility-lacking society, one which is male-dominated. 

History: Demeaning and demoralizing women and their lives

For centuries, women have been yearning to fill the gaps of oppression and discrimination that have kept them at the edge. Though the universe has been constantly working in momentum with the distressed and destitute to liberate them from the shackles of servitude and discrimination, women have been stripped of their privilege to basic human rights – which they are entitled to experience. 

Women lived in denial of their rights - some by choice while some by fate. They never even once perceived the denial of their rights to life and freedom as a destabilizing challenge. They were made to believe that their role was that of a caregiver and that they were conditioned to be subservient to men. 

Male-induced misogyny has always been treated as a norm. From being preys of genital mutilation, sexual violence, domestic violence, honor killings, child marriage, and apartheid to being labeled as private property – women have always suffered in silence as they didn’t know what better to do than accept and live with the horrors inflicted upon them. 

However, at some point, an unrest started emerging against this tyranny of women. After years of facing oppression and being denied the right to equality, life, and freedom, they started realizing the flaws in the system, binding them to a life that was ludicrously blemished from all aspects. 

Women’s fight for justice and equality started gaining momentum

Women from all walks of society had started debating on ways to fight for their rights and the need to resist the debilitating environment that had tied them to unjust circumstances against their will. So, this is where it all started! If sources are to be believed, women’s fight for justice and gender inequality dates back to the early 1900s. During the same time frame, the world witnessed several radical changes – including colonialization and the industrial revolution. 

Somewhere in the year 1908, it is estimated that nearly 15,000 people marched toward New York City. They demanded equal wages, shorter working hours, and voting rights. The protesters were mainly women working at garment and textile factories. But their peaceful protest was met with brutal repression and bloodshed. To celebrate the courageous women who met a terrible fate at the hands of an outrageous mob of men, driven by their pride of self-righteousness, New York City celebrated its first National Woman’s Day on 28 February 1909, exactly a year after the vicious incident. 

Since then, it became a ritual to honor these iron-fisted women of power, every year. The conference saw women from various walks of the society come together to discuss their challenges and voice their opinions. What began as a movement to honor the plight of women, who had met with a terrible fate in their fight against inequality and discrimination, slowly started being rallied across other parts of the world. 

These campaigns also saw men, who supported and believed in women’s rights and the need to bridge the gap, join the women in their quest for change. 

International Women’s Day

In the year 1975, the United Nations (UN) celebrated International Women’s Day for the first time. Starting from the year 1999, the UN has been organizing International Women’s Day celebrations based on specific themes. The first-ever annual theme was “Celebrating the Past, Planning the Future.”

A lot of work has been in progress, directed toward uplifting women and their lives. Every day, women are fighting for their rights – at home, workplace, schools, colleges, governments, everywhere. Women have been waging a war against the oppression and discrimination that they have faced since time unknown. 

Women are changing the world. They have proven they are capable of anything - from science, technology to leading a parliament. In the past, women have been part of several revolutionary movements – upgrading the socioeconomic culture across the globe – but the role they have played in making these movements successful has remained inconsequential, for the major part, when compared with their male counterparts. 

But a lot needs to be still done to ensure that women no longer have to fight for their basic rights to life. A majority of women in most parts of the world suffer from discrimination of all kinds, there is a segment of women who have been fighting against all odds, exercising their leverage over economic and political realms – reminding the tyrannical autocracy how power can be short-lived and volatile. 

Women driving the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic

Throughout the year 2020, female firsts have been making headlines. When Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin, the world’s youngest-serving Prime Minister, took swift actions, announcing nationwide lockdown to control and stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus, it left the world both amazed and shocked at the efficient and effective decision-making that helped the nation deal with the pandemic, without any major disruptions impacting human lives or the economy.

Several other female-led countries, including Taiwan, saw the deployment of a similar hybrid strategy to contain the virus, which proved successful.

Certain researchers claim that female-led countries were swift at implementing lockdowns and COVID-19-related protocols, which helped to curb the pandemic, resulting in fewer casualties, when compared with male-led countries. All these indicate that women are more effective decision-makers when it comes to emergencies. 

Kamala Harris debuting as the highest-ranking and most powerful female official elected in the US history is another striking and notable victory of the transformation to subvert gender inequality and oppression of women and girls.  

With women leading the frontlines, the question that remains is would this become a global trend? Numbers suggest that it would take more than eight years to close the gender gap.  

Many more steps to be taken

With the increase in the number of female-led countries successfully handling the fight against COVID-19 by implementing a hybrid model, women’s leadership qualities and expertise at tackling crises are being accepted worldwide. 

While we celebrate the efforts of women and girls, from around the world, to drive the fight against inequality and the COVID-19 pandemic, steps are being taken to ensure that there are no unpaid domestic workers and that their working conditions are improved. Women’s representation across leadership roles is expected to quadruple over time. Nations across the globe are determined to focus on increasing women’s participation in education. Another important step would be to curb violence against women and girls and keep them safe.

Conclusion

At this inflection point, where we are waging a war against the COVID-19 uncertainty gaining a grip over our lives, leaving us dubious about what the future holds, there is hope that the women in power are driving a revolution, encouraging others to step up and work toward empowering themselves and others – transforming the face of power over generations to come. 

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