What is There to Celebrate Around the World on International Women’s Day?

Meira-Kumar-007Over at The Guardian's Comment is Free, “Women from 11 countries give their thoughts on achievements where they live.” Orzala Ashraf Nemat from Afghanistan:

Afghan women have nothing to celebrate, except the continuous courage, dedication and determination of activists who despite all the challenges and barriers still continue their struggle.

Celebration of International Women's Day in Afghanistan over the past 10 years have turned into a fancy project sponsored by donors who have never made an attempt to understand the complex nature of women's position in Afghan society. These events all involve long, boring speeches most often by men, so-called top leaders (and no one knows how they treat their female relative) about women's rights. Yet few practical steps are taken to challenge the deep roots of violence against women, absence or the drop off in numbers of older girls from schools; lack of female teachers, doctors, judges and police officers all over Afghanistan.

Mari Marcel Thekaekara from India:

Urban Indian women are in the public sphere like never before. In Bengaluru and Pune, thousands zoom around on motorbikes, scooters and in cars. In Tamil Nadu, where free bicycles were distributed to village schoolgirls, they sail along with demurely plaited hair, in their ankle-length skirts with the wind in their faces. In the south, women now work in garages, the army and police. They're doing jobs once considered unseemly: waitressing, night shifts in IT companies and call centres. This year Indian women ranked 30th, beating Italian and Japanese women, in the league table of corporate world board members.

In Maharashtra state, the courts ruled women no longer have to take their husband's surnames. And the supreme court controversially recognised live-in relationships.