“If you educate a man, you educate a man, If you educate a woman, you educate a generation”
Well! What better way to celebrate the International Womens Day with this inspiring quote which set the tone for the programme on 9th March 2015, held at the School of Social Work- Roshni Nilaya, by the Catholic Association of South Kanara in collaboration with Inner Wheel Club of Mangalore North & the Women’s Cell of the college. After rendition of a beautiful prayer song by a few students, a warm welcome was accorded by Prof. Shobhana Manohar, Head of the English department of the college. Ms. Naura, the MC of the evening went through the proceedings with elan. The ceremonial Lamp was lit by Dr. Derek Lobo-ex president of CASK, Nayana Fernandes-Vice President of CASK, Nalini Kini- President of Inner Wheel club of Mangalore North, Prof. Malini Hebbar-Keynote speaker and Prof. Shobhana Manohar of Roshni Nilaya. The programme was attended by 96 enthusiastic students.
The Chief Guest of the evening Ms. Malini Hebbar – Professor of the department of English of St Agnes College, gave a most inspiring and scintillating speech on how the women of today are often faceless and nameless. She illustrated her very inspiring speech with a slide presentation. She said “Women’s Day is about recognizing the achievements of women, appreciating the progress made towards equality, but most importantly, it’s about highlighting how far we still have to go to rid our society of entrenched inequality. “To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” in the words of Patricia Arquette “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women. A common misconception is that the issues can only be addressed at a glacially slow pace. They are seen as being so systemic that many people either choose to deny that gender inequality exists, or come to believe that their individual efforts can’t have any impact on sexism in society. Recognizing that systemic problems within a society are determined by everyday interactions with the actual people that make up that society is the first step to empowering individuals who are marginalised by oppressive narratives, irrational taboos and economic inequality. Every single person has a part to play in the formation and destruction of gender inequality. Becoming aware of your potential to contribute to changing people’s attitudes to sex, gender and reproductive rights is what International Women’s Day is all about. She quoted Gloria Steinem who said “ I came to India and what was here half a century ago is still here … and yet there is everything else’’. After this thought provoking speech ,the students were then divided into groups and given different topics such as Women as leaders, Women as professionals, Women and Violence, Women as homemakers, Women and discrimination where after a short discussion, they presented their opinions and views and also depicted their thoughts in a role play on each of the subjects which sent a strong message by young minds to all present. It was gratifying to see the male students playing their part with equal enthusiasm if not more to project women as heroines in their own right. Dr Derek Lobo then conducted a quiz on women achievers and celebrities which added to the excitement as they played the guessing game.
To summarise the thoughts of the students, International Women’s Day, was a day to celebrate women’s triumphs, and also to consider what more can be done to confront the reality that so many women face. Of all the challenges that women and girls face, having no voice is among the most intolerable. This day is a reminder of the sacrifices made by women on every front .It is a day to acknowledge the immense strength women exhibit in their day-to-day lives throughout the year. In today’s context, Women’s Day should focus more on those women living in the rural parts of India too. They are not even aware that such a day exists but they continue to make a huge difference to their own lives and that of others. The need of the hour is to make them understand their importance and worth. Women’s Day is an occasion to acknowledge their strength. Attributing one day to celebrate womanhood does not justify the capabilities and achievements of women. Nonetheless, this day at least gives an opportunity to acknowledge the sacrifices of women. This day serves as a podium to pay homage to womanhood.. Woman has been gifted with the power to create which is the greatest attribute of a woman which often goes unrecognized.
Women’s Day is the celebration of the identity of a woman and to salute womanhood. To ably manage the two roles of a professional career and home requires a lot of effort and strength, which a woman is capable of. This day gives the world the opportunity to celebrate this capability.
At the end of the programme, every lady walked with their held high, nourished and filled with more confidence and feeling more empowered to walk into brighter tomorrows!
CASK was also represented by Mr & Mrs Oswald D’Cunha, Thelma Pais, Zita Farias, Joan Lobo and Patsy Lobo – convener of the programme.