Tag: International Women’s Day

The Essence of Womanhood

Essence of womanhood

Imagine a household bereft of a woman; imagine your world deprived of one. With international women’s day just having gone by, it’s time to doff one’s hat to the various roles women play.

So, like every year, while International Women’s Day was celebrated worldwide on March 8, having been instituted way back in 1909, the truth is its purpose is as relevant today as even before.

Women everywhere need to be treated as equals no doubt, but there is also a need to be recognised for their strength and achievements.

Balance for better

Every year the campaign theme is a sort of call-to-action, one emphasizing the need to create a more gender-balanced world, one that is proactive on all levels with women’s empowerment, whether pertaining to economic, social or political issues. ‘Balance for better’ is the theme of 2019. Whether the significance of this call is all about civil awareness, women and girl recognition, anti-sexism or anti-discrimination, it is a day that celebrates womanhood globally.

While International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on the progress women worldwide have made in different fields, commend and applaud those few who had the foresight and determination of their vision and extraordinary courage, let us not forget that at the epicentre of every unit exists a woman, one who is the driving force behind those wheels of that well-oiled machinery called domestic bliss. The roles she plays in one lifetime as a mother, sister, wife or daughter is cause enough for celebration, but coupled with her juggling abilities to hold down that fort of household responsibilities along with the demands of a workplace, in my books her achievement are way up there!

Imagine a household bereft of a woman, imagine your world deprived of one!

Deprived of Status

While Woman’s Day celebrates women’s history, her emancipation, often highlighting key events, achievements and milestones to raise awareness, promote equal opportunities for her in all walks of life, the sad truth is that often in certain parts of the world and, especially in certain cultures, women are not accredited as being equal with men, thus depriving them of basic rights and status.

There is enough evidence now to support the claim that a gender-diverse workplace does indeed produce real benefits. Studies also show that a gender-diverse workplace is not only good for financial returns, employee engagement, innovation and reducing turnover but most gender-diverse businesses also resonate with a wider customer base. Yet, women are still deprived of the opportunity.

And while we as women raise flags and protestations, seek wider platforms and march the streets demanding equal status from the other half of the population, the question here is should it really be only about gender disparity? Is it then fair to lay all that ire and disproportion blame squarely on men alone?

Are not injustices, inequalities and unfair treatment being met out to women for generations, sadly from their own kind? Think back on all the times when you have been discriminated against and chances are it could well be that dragon-lady a.k.a your boss, a colleague from work or that friend who has hidden agenda; you should well have been mistreated by that daughter-in-law or mother-in-law.

So while we demand equality from the other half of the gender bender in matters of education, employment, inheritance, marriage, politics and recently, in field of religion too, should we not be demanding fairness from our mothers; patience from our mother-in-law, understanding and compassion from our female friends?

The need of the hour is to clean up the imbalances in our own gender-centric homes, with a whole bunch of self-realisation and inward reflection. While we strive to enhance equivalence from the rest of the world, we also need to improve our position “as women amongst women”.

Gender bender

We must consciously strive towards a more complete view of womanhood, gentled with gender infused an understanding of love and respect. Be a woman of worth with your own kind, be the first to appreciate another’s success, the one to applaud the loudest at another’s triumph.

Gender Bender – Pokemon

Be the kind of woman that senses a cry for help from another, much before her complete meltdown. The kind of woman who provides support to her tribe and not one that creates divides. Be the type of woman that sets a trend not just by her fashion sense but as a result of her commonsense. Be the kind of woman who is self-sufficient in her own capabilities, achievements and skills but is never shy to ask for help when needed.

Be the woman who succeeds and triumphs after every fall, the kind who fixes another’s crown silently but, most of all, is the kind of woman who sets an example, the kind that someday your daughter may want to emulate.

Image by Free-Photos on Pixabay

So while the world celebrated this international woman’s day with a campaign theme of ‘Balance for better’, let us endeavour to make a difference with no gender agendas. Let’s work instead on being women of substance, beautiful inside out, strong in spirit, determined in grit, to be balanced for ourselves with a better understanding of life and a kinder compassion for the world we live in, regardless of being men or women.

~Veera Shroff Sanjana

7 Fearless Female Explorers History Should Never Forget

Annie Londonderry- 7 Fearless Female Explorers

A female sailor who cross-dressed to discover the world from a different angle, an African-American aviator who looked past racial and gender discrimination to become a pilot, a fearless investigative journalist who circumnavigated the globe in 72 days, and a housewife who didn’t let age and gender stop her from traveling – these are the different faces of women who toured the globe more than a hundred years ago.

They traveled out of their comfort zones in a time with no booming technology, often alone. They explored the world by foot, on horses, mules, and camels, on trains, planes, and ships, and not to mention while wearing waist-hugging corsets and heavy skirts. Some even managed to disguise in men’s clothing to be able to globetrot.

In an era where racial discrimination and sexist oppression were on the rise, these brave, badass women had to climb more than mountains to reach the peak of their career and dreams.

This International Women’s Day we introduce you to a few of the remarkable female explorers we all should take inspiration from.

  1. Nelly Bly (1864 – 1922)
Nellie Bly | Image via Cowgirl, a female American investigative journalist who knew no boundaries.
Photo: Nellie Bly | Image via Cowgirl

Nelly Bly was an American investigative journalist who knew no boundaries. She was best known for her fearless expose for which she went undercover to reveal the brutality in women’s asylums and the abuse of women workers in factories. Bly was also renowned for her world-breaking trip around the world.

Inspired by Jules Verne’s classic novel Around the World In 80 days, Bly circled the globe in 72 days in 1890, beating the fictitious globetrotting record in the novel. She embarked on a 24,899-mile journey, raveling in steamships, existing railroad systems, rickshaws, and on mules and horses. She traveled her way from England to France, Singapore to Japan, and California back to the East Coast, carrying only the dress and sturdy plaid coat she wore from day one, and an extremely light luggage.

  1. Gertrude Bell (1868 – 1926)
Gertrude Bell, a female explorer in Iraq
Gertrude Bell in Iraq
Photo of British author and archeologist Gertrude Bell, in Babylon, Iraq

Image credit-Wikimedia Commons

Gertrude Bell, dubbed as the “queen of the desert”, was a British explorer, diplomat, writer, linguist, cartographer, archaeologist, and a skilled mountaineer. She had a major role in establishing the modern state of Iraq after World War I.

She explored and mapped the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. She served in military intelligence and civil service, and she was the only woman working for the British government in the Middle East during that time. Her extensive knowledge and her writings brought by her travels became highly influential to the British imperial policy-making. Her books gave the people of Great Britain a clear concept of the empire’s outer territories.

  1. Jeanne Baret (1740 – 1807)
Jeanne Barret, a French female sailor
Imagined portrait of Jeanne Baré dressed as a sailor, dating from 1817, after her death.
Image credit- Wikipedia

Jeanne Baret was a French sailor and botanist and was known as the first woman to have completed a voyage of circumnavigation of the globe. Since only men were allowed to sail, she had to dress like a man and join the expedition as “Jean Baret” to avoid blowing her cover.

The ploy kept her close to Philibert de Commerson, a naturalist and her partner, who scored a commission from the French government to sail and conduct research. Commerson was usually ill so he needed assistance from Jeanne. The cross-dressing ruse worked for a year until some islanders uncovered the truth. When Baret returned to France, the navy paid tribute to her and recognized her as an “extraordinary woman” for her work of gathering new species of plants.

  1. Ida Pfeiffer (1797 – 1858)

Old age and gender shouldn’t be hindrances to traveling – this is what Austrian traveler and travel book author Ida Pfeiffer taught us. She was barred from the Royal Geographical Society of London (UK’s learned society and professional body for geography) for being a woman. She went out of her way to travel alone and she’s now renowned as one of the first female explorers in the world.

Ida Pfeiffer, a female traveler and travel book author
Ida Pfeiffer, an Austrian traveler and travel book author.
Image credit- Wikimedia

After her sons had families of their own, she was finally able to fulfill her childhood dream of traveling to foreign places. She had her first trip to the Holy Land, trekked to Istanbul and Jerusalem, and visited the pyramids of Giza on camelback. Her first trip around the world started in 1846 where she visited Brazil and other South American countries, Tahiti, China, India, Persia, Asia Minor, and Greece. She used to write and publish her writings along the way. Today, her books were translated into seven languages.

  1. Isabella Lucy Bird (1831 – 1904)

English writer, photographer, and traveler Isabella Bird defied social convention and even her own sickly nature by exploring the world, and often alone.

Isabella Bird, female explorer, writer, photographer and naturalist
Image of Isabella Bird. Born, Isabella Lucy Bird
Image credit- Wikipedia

She traveled to Australia, Hawaii, Colorado, Japan, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Morocco, and the Middle East, challenging the concept of female propriety. She experienced trekking up active volcanoes Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea and exploring the Rocky Mountains in Colorado on a horse. She was also the first woman to be elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London.

  1. Bessie Coleman (1892 – 1926)

Bessie Coleman was an American civil aviator and was the first woman of African-American and Native American descent to hold a pilot license.

Bessie Coleman was the first female of African-American descent and the first of Native American descent, to hold a pilot license.
Bessie Coleman was the first woman of African-American descent and the first of Native American descent, to hold a pilot license.
Image credit- Wikimedia

She developed an interest in flying but she was banned from flight schools in the US due to her race and gender. Racial prejudice and sexism didn’t stop Coleman from pursuing her dream and becoming a queen in the air. She took a French-language class, saved up money, and traveled to France where she earned her pilot license. Bessie Coleman was among the pioneering aviatrixes who broke multiple barriers and paved the way for Amelia Earhart and other female pilots that came after them.

  1. Annie Londonderry (1870 – 1947)

Annie Cohen Kopchovsky, also known as Annie Londonderry, was the first woman to bicycle around the world.

A bet challenged her to circumnavigate the world in 15 months or less while earning at least $5,000 along the way. Londonderry accepted the challenge not only for the money but to dispute the concept of women propriety and to prove how a woman can get on in the world on her own.

You may also like to read International Women’s Day 2016

Carmina Natividad is a resident writer for Four Points Immigration, a team of registered migration agents, assisting individuals and employers with their successful Australian visa application. Writing a wide variety of interesting and informative articles about immigration and travel is her cup of tea.

International Women’s Day 2016

International women's day

 Wisdom shared by great women from around the world on the eve of International Women’s Day-


I am Woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me. ~ Maya Angelou

International Women's Day
My Heroes- Maya Angelou connected with countless people through her powerful poetry

Extremists have shown what frightens them most: a girl with a book ~ Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai -International Women's Day
Malala Yousafzai at Girl Summit 2014

Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world ~ Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton-international Women's Day
Hillary Clinton official Secretary of State portrait

If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman. ~ Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher-International Women's Day
Margaret Thatcher

One is not born a woman, one becomes one. ~ Simone de Beauvoir

Simone_De_Beuvoir International Women's Day
Simone De Beauvoir

Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness. ~ Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey -International Women's Day
Oprah Winfrey


International Women’s day celebrates the social, economic and political achievement of women.

Leaders across the world are pledging to take action as champions of gender parity.  According to  The World Economic Forum 2014 prediction, it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn’t close entirely until 2133.

So all men and women can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly – whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to taking pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity.


International Women’s Day 2016 events are occurring across the world. Do follow this link to check out what is going on in your area.


Source: IWD 2016 campaign theme


Image Source: Wikipedia.org


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