Why International Women's Day?

International Women's Day this year somehow sounded more vocal than it used to be. Perhaps Trump becoming the 45th president is one of the many reasons. My instagram was full of feeds of pictures and videos and quotes of this theme with hashtag #IWD. And even my favorite vegan cafe, Rumah Juliet, was giving special treatment of a heavenly-taste slice of cake to all female customer that day. My director, whom I have been working for almost 4 years, suddenly suggested to give  women workers a half day leave as a compliment. Hmm..

So then this whole atmosphere kind of force me to think of my position of being a woman. Not that I have never thought about it before. Only this time, the thought was more intense. I have to admit that in some situations, I wished I were a man. Things would have been easier. I could travel alone with no worries, I could get married at 40 and no one would bother, I could do whatever I want to do and people would just lightly comment "boys will be boys".

But then, what's so special about that..?

There was once while in China, I took a bullet train from Fuzhou to Shanghai and met this young man who offered to help me buy the subway ticket to the city. Oh yes, I have done my research and I knew where and how to buy the ticket. But he, with all his sense of superiority which, if you ask me, grown inside him thanks to the society, offered to help, so why not? There was also this one, I flew from Jakarta to Hong Kong and chatted with a foreign student from Oman studying in Hong Kong. When we were about to get off the plane, he offered to help me grab my belonging from the above compartment. Oh yes, I could do that myself. But he offered, so why not? *evil grin

When most women would have felt offended, I would not.

Now, when men think women need help in almost everything, when men think women are fragile and that's why ladies first is a common guide in every public areas, beware that perhaps women might just simply letting men do all the stuffs for them. Ha. *suddenly remember Daenerys Targaryen character.

But enough with this intermezzo, let's get serious now.

Men traveling alone? *yawn.
Women traveling alone? *awesome.
Men with master's or doctor's? *cool.
Women with master's or doctor's, working full time and still manage the household? Try to beat that when you are also 7 months pregnant and still commuting on the subway. Daily. *freaking awesome!

I remember Obama, during the evening of his inauguration day when he danced with his wife and said, "Everything I did today, she did it in high heels." Really appreciate your understanding, Mr Former President.

So now that women already gain respect from men openly, then why are we still celebrating this International Women's Day?

Because while we are talking freely about this, many women in parts of the world are not even aware of this idea. There are many areas where women have not get what they deserve yet: Education, Opportunity, Equality. The stigma of women to eventually become a stay-at-home mother is still hovering many communities in each continents. Many even forced to let go of their dreams of becoming  doctors, lawyers, teachers.. They chose to embrace what their sisters, mothers, grandmothers have embraced, to give in to what communities expect them to be.

And that is the reason why we are celebrating International Women's Day. To remind us of those girls and women who are shouting for a chance, fighting for their dreams,  and to make their voice even louder. May we, who already standing in the line of equality, take a minute to show our gratitude, and say our prayers for them who never give up, even with the slightest hope.

Now, my friend, prayers are not enough without action. It is time for us to start thinking, what can we do to contribute to our society and make a better world for women? Start small. Uganda is far away. Let's start from Indonesia, our country, our city, our neighborhood. Found women crying out for their dreams? Help them to be heard. Help them to create the path. Help them to resist. Because everyone needs a little touch of miracle here and there. And you, my friend, might be their angel.


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