March 8th Kasa celebrated International Women’s day.
The tagline of the organization:
Call on the masses or yourself to help forge a better working world. A more inclusive gender equal world.
For the past two years we supported International Women’s Day by hosting in both our stores a #PledgeforParity and #BeBoldforChange campaign. Many of our guests made public pledges in exchange for a free samosa or chai. It was an extremely successful (and extremely fun!) event that encouraged love and support for women and gender parity. We hope that some of you were able to participate this year or will join us next year.
BUT, please let’s not make this an occasion to only express our love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother’s day and Valentine’s day. Women don’t need another sympathy/hallmark card day. Let’s use the day to be thinking citizens and be bold for change.
I imagine the idea is to get our heads around the fact that if we exclude women from government or the workplace due to conscious or unconscious biases. Companies, countries, economies all suffer due to not having access to or failing to cultivate over half the talent pool. It’s simply a losing proposition. For men, women and our children alike. It makes no rational sense.
Women’s struggles vary in intensity. Some countries such as my ancestral homeland of India are struggling with extremely poor women, often rural, being exploited . They are sold, kidnapped, lured into, drugged and forced into the deplorable human trafficking industry as sex workers or harvested for organs later sold on the black market.
By no means am I putting down my home land. It simply has to deal with it’s fair share of inequality of women, compounded by corruption and poverty. But India is a complex country of incredible opposing forces that happen to live simultaneously. Old fashioned ideas towards women and extremely progressive approaches are both alive. As a case in point, the country has had a female prime minister decades before the US where the conversation is now just surfacing. I am not judging the entire country of India to be in any way shape or form backwards in its attitudes towards women. I am calling out parts of it and parts of Indian culture that are outdated and shameful. And at the same time, I am extremely proud of it’s achievements as a democracy as well as incorporating women into government.
Women in politics there are kicking ass. On a state level holding positions of foreign secretaries, ambassadors, speakers, chief ministers, congress president as well as positions on state levels. My absolute personal favorite position: Chairman of the State bank of India. Technically should be renamed Chairwoman because, well, she is a woman.
We should be encouraged by this inclusion of women in Politics in India and aim for more of the same here, as well as increase the percentage of women in Corporate America in leadership roles.
I would also like to take a moment to show the utmost respect to women who choose to stay home and raise our children. To cook our food, nourish our families, and be the family backbone. That was my role for the first 8 years of my children’s lives. It was much harder than anything I’m doing now. Women are not regulated to one or the other. We choose depending on various factors. Economic, Life Priorities. Emotions. And we can change our mind and choose again depending on the stage of our lives It should be duly noted that we need to drop our gender bias and encourage more men who want to take on this role and support them in having choices.
I don’t have the answers to solving the issues. I decided to use this day to call upon myself first and foremost and then call upon you to help forge a better working world. A more inclusive gender equal world. By at least starting with awareness.