There have always been women of substance in the world. From the beginning of recorded history and from every part of the world. They have ruled over empires and shaped the destiny of millions. From Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt and Joan of Arc, who helped liberate France to Golda Meir, first woman Prime Minister of Israel and ace astronaut Sunita Williams; there have been many women leaders who have left their mark on the destiny of mankind. Yet the kind of progress that has been achieved from the twentieth century onwards has been unprecedented. There is hardly a profession where you will not see women. In fact there are no male bastions left to storm.
Despite all this progress, if women’s issues are still being talked about, it is for a host of reasons. There needs to be a realization that for a lot of women there has been no progress at all. In the South Asian sub-continent, in parts of Africa and the Middle East the progress has been far from uniform. Women are often subjugated at home and denied access to education. Issues like honour killings, bride-burning and female infanticide are reminiscent of times and horrors we thought we had left behind. But they continue to haunt us and mock our claims of having come a long way. It is the moral duty of all of us especially those in positions of power to step up to the plate and work together to globally eradicate all forms of prejudice and put an end to the oppression of women, in any form or shape.
In times to come women and men need to evolve into a society where gender conflicts have become an anachronism. This can only happen if all nations and societies are brought on the same page. We cannot have a situation where women in the rich and developed world have the privilege to make all the choices in the world, while on the other hand the girl child is aborted even before being born in some forlorn corner of the world. At the same time women cannot have really been liberated till the culture of their objectification and the global scourge of human trafficking are eliminated as well. Are there some serious questions we need to ask ourselves?