On noticing a sudden flurry of articles about women in the newspapers and programs about them on TV, I wondered what the fuss was about. Then, I realised that today was Women’s Day.
On one hand, there is a lot of things about how women have progressed over the ages and how they reached positions of power.
Than again, there is the BBC documentary India’s Daughter, which infamously got banned in India. It had a man accused of rape and murder, in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case of December 2012, expressing his views about women and that Jyoti (the girl) shouldn’t have fought back and that they did it to teach her a lesson to not roam around with a boy at night, because ‘good’ girls don’t do that.
What was even more shocking was the views of the defense lawyers. They made extremely outrageous remarks as well.

The main problem with India is the mentality of the people. The idea that a girl should do this and shouldn’t do that. What gives an unknown man the right to ‘teach a lesson’ to a girl? Isn’t she human too? Doesn’t she have the right to express her views, dress how she wishes, do what she wishes to? Because, news flash! It is her life!
And no one has the authority to tell her how to live it.

When I read stories of powerful women, I am inspired by them. To break all the odds and emerge as the winner when no one expects you to.
That is what true courage is all about.
I respect female CEOs, heads of organisations, entrepreneurs, defence personnel, police and law enforcement officers, doctors, teachers and lawyers. But, not just them, even the female auto and taxi driver, the fruit seller, the ironing lady, the maid, the grocery shop owner, the construction worker, and every one of them.
Because it is not easy to be a woman. Women are put down in way too many things, from the board room to Bollywood. In fact, when few movies (Queen in Hindi, How Old Are You? in Malayalam, English Vinglish in Hindi/Tamil, for example) and a few directors (Gautham Menon in Tamil, for one) show women in a positive light, it is highlighted extremely, because of the state of the other movies.
She is not a diamond or a flower, she is a fellow human being. Every one of them deserves respect.

Not only today should be women’s day. Every day should be women’s day.
This is an ode to all the wonderful women in my life.

I am a seventeen year old Indian girl, and I’m a dreamer. I have big dreams for my future, like any other girl. I ought to have the right to be able to fulfil those dreams and not let rapists, acid attackers and various other monsters stop me from it.

I dream of the day when I can walk on the streets, without the fear of wondering whether I can reach home in one piece.
I dream of the day that I can travel to places all by myself, maybe even make a world tour.
I dream of the day when I am not judged by outer appearances or the society’s perception of beauty, but rather by who I am and what I can do.
I dream of a brighter future, of not having to give up my ambition and career when I get married.
I dream of wanting equal opportunities, in the house and in the office. And most of all, I hope to have those dreams become reality.

Who gets to decide the expiry date of a woman’s dream?
My answer is her. She herself.