International Women’s day is not my day

Published: March 8, 2012

Women's day is not my day. Every day is.

It’s not my day because I am a woman every day of the year. I don’t want 24 hours to remind the world that I will speak what’s on my mind, make my own decisions and not be objectified, simply because I don’t need to be given what’s mine to begin with anyway;  health and safety, education, equal opportunities and control over my body and life choices.

My rights are not your charity. Please don’t pat yourself on the back to assuage your guilt, if there is any to begin with, for being nice to me today.  I moved beyond meekly asking to be treated like a thinking human being. I was always a woman, I had to remind the world that I am human too. I don’t need to assert that anymore because I am above that.

There is so much that I do every day of the year. I raise families, I work, I study, I run countries, I give, I take and I struggle. There is so much that is done to me. I am raped, paraded naked in front of villages, I am sold into prostitution, I am told what to do, I am spoken at and I am spoken for. To quantify all of this in one day is regressive, insulting almost.

A day to mark my existence reduces me to exactly what I don’t want to be, an anomaly that does not fit in the regular working of things beyond its reproductive organs and hence needs special consideration. I am all that you are and so much more. I don’t want an emphatic pink parade with the clock ticking to separate me from you because that negates my equality.

I have ample reason to celebrate who I am every day of the year.


Amna Iqbal

Amna Iqbal

Publications designer at The Express Tribune, she tweets @amna_iqb (twitter.com/amna_iqb)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • asma

    “A day to mark my existence reduces me to exactly what I don’t want to be, an anomaly that does not fit in the regular working of things beyond its reproductive organs and hence needs special consideration. I am all that you are and so much more. I don’t want an emphatic pink parade with the clock ticking to separate me from you because that negates my equality.I have ample reason to celebrate who I am every day of the year.”

    Excellent and speaks out loudly what women feel. kudos for setting our souls free of the bounds!Recommend

  • http://www.colorsofashion.com Rabia
  • Syed

    Congratulations woman, you raise families? I doubt, you run countries, I doubt, you are raped because you made the system weak. Stop laughing at yourself, and ask for the duties that has been assigned to you by Allah. Ask for rights that has been allowed to you.

    Or go by western side and have the nice moments of unwanted fill in the blanks.Recommend

  • sana

    I am in favour of women’s day.

    According to me its an honor to have a day because there is father’s day, mother’s day and they are not lesser human:) but special one. who do more than common human so that’s why we dedicated a day to them. and if I see more logically too then we can not deny the fact that society has ignorance issues which need to be told so there is no problem in celebrating and cherishing a special day.

    happy women’s day:)Recommend

  • Ebtesam Khalid

    I don’t have to celebrate “a” Women’s day to prove my importance for I know its the 365 Days that I play my role for the society and it is without a doubt not less than any Man!! And, I have the capacity to stand for my rights and not be Oppressed!!Recommend

  • Atta

    Thats the attitude Author, that’s the spirit.Recommend

  • MarkH

    @Syed:
    I hear it’s the Japanese who have the smallest ones but I’m beginning to think it might be time to rethink that.Recommend

  • Usman Qureshi

    Why do you women keep on crying about equality, always? All the rights and respect you women have in Islam or say in Pakistan they are not given to women in west. However, bad guys they exist every where not only in PAK. For example in Pakistan women don’t have to stand up in a que, out of respect Men let them finish their work first (whatever it may be) and then they continue from there.. ISLAM has given so many rights to everyone that includes women, the problem is today’s Pakistan doesn’t follow ISLAM or I’d say today’s Islamic World doesn’t follow ISLAM. Play by the rules and no one will have any problem! Stop crying about this equality-equality, women in west when they step outta their homes have to strip and do other stuff for Money while IF proper ISLAMIC system is implemented no-one would suffer!

    Your Freedom = beghairti, toh keep it up but then don’t complain!

    I respect every women! My mother and sister are also women.. you guys gotta stop this stereotyping, not every man is a savage!Recommend

  • Tooba Syed

    @ Usman Qureshi you need a serious reality check.
    What world are you living in ? I’d prefer not get honor killed over men letting me get ahead in line. I’d prefer to be free to work than be at home and do nothing other than being my husbands dads or sons slave.
    I’d like to be treated at an equal level and be given an equal share in property of my dad just the way my brothers will get. I’d like to be able to get out of the house without having to save someone izzat.
    Recommend

  • accountant

    Dear Amna

    I 100% agree with you. All these rubbish days i.e. Mother day, father day, etc are nothing but to devalue the roles and relations of people in their own. We are just blindly following the west without considering our own values. Those days may be important for the people / society to remind them the values of their surroundings in form of parents and women. We are supposed to follow the religion who teaches us ti give them their right on their times in any form whatsoever is required.

    By following their patterns we simply deny the moral laws!!!Recommend

  • sara

    @Usman Qureshi
    WOW just wow. I would rather be last in the que rather than face things like honour killings, being paraded naked, forced marriages, sexual violence, domestic violence etc. are ok?
    I have lived in the west and most women here go outside but do not strip for money. Come out of this mentality otherwise they can also talk about hera mandi where most women are sold by their relatives and forced into prostitution.
    @Syed
    “You are raped because you made the system weak”
    Shame on your disgusting mentality. DO u have any sisters or daughters or any respect for human life at all? So men rape because women make the system weak. In another sentence you talk about Allah and Islam and then in another sentence you say thisRecommend

  • Senthilman

    All religions objectify women, while some religions changed their views, few religions still stuck in the 7th Century. My advice live according to your heart and never let others to judge you. (ALL) Religion was is will always be a hindrance.
    Women’s day is celebrated by the women (not only for the women but) to inform the world of their views. I pity the author who thinks Women’s day a un-needed one, it might be for you but for the few extremely prejudiced men and the illiterate women in the backwater countries this is a much needed shot in the arm.Recommend

  • Saeed

    Agreed totally with the writer!Recommend

  • leila rage

    @Sara: perfectly said!

    Sadly, its time to accept the fact that MOST pakistani men have this sick mentality of pigs.Recommend

  • Rabia

    ‎”Like a compass needle that points North , Man’s accusing finger always finds a Woman ….Always remember that”
    This is the reality and the bitter truth of women’s life and we are living in the midst of it . what we r left with are the slogans of ” Women’s day ” only ….?Recommend

  • DANZIG

    Of course that every day is women’s day. But that doesn’t mean that I cannot have a special day to tell you how special you are.
    If we followed your reasoning, we shouldn’t celebrate birthdays for instance.

    It depends on how you see the glass: half empty or half full.

    PS. “control over your body” doesn’t mean control over the body of the child who is inside you if you are pregnant.Recommend

  • Tamoor

    Good job…Recommend

  • Awais Ch

    Ooooooooooops!!! what a mess in our society its all because we are MUSLIMS just by name not practical at all. Recommend

  • Awais Ch

    There is so much that I do every day of the year. I raise families, I work, I study, I run countries, I give, I take and I struggle.

    i don’t understand why women is still crying for “RIGHTS”.Recommend

  • Awais Ch

    @Usman Qureshi:
    @Tooba Syed:

    you’re both right but the main problem is as Usman said ” IF proper ISLAMIC system is implemented no-one would suffer”Recommend

  • WhatsthePoint

    We learned celebrating Woman’s Day 1400 Years ago. Instead of having a woman’s day for the reminder, we need a proper Islamic education so that we can realize that we MUST celebrate Woman’s day every day in our lives. Then we would not need days like woman’s day, mother’s day, father’s day, teacher’s day… All these days are in every day of a Muslim’s life, we just need to realize message and live by it :-)Recommend

  • Awais

    @Rabia:
    Ah, Mariam’s mother said that in A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Recommend

  • Awais

    @Syed:
    You doubt that women raise families? It was my mother who raised me, fed me and took care of me, my father wasn’t around much because he was too busy keeping the roof over my head.

    There are women who run countries http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Listofelectedorappointedfemaleheadsofstate#Listoffemalerepresentativesofheadsof_state

    Women are raped because they made the system weak? Explain how mate.Recommend

  • Awais

    @Usman Qureshi:
    Dude, ever been to a Western country? Recommend

  • Awais

    Can someone explain why Islam is always thrown into the mix by some commentors when it comes to Women’s Rights?Recommend

  • Syed

    @Tooba Syed

    Women want freedom, than announce that they are not muslim. Unless and until they announce themselves to be muslim, in which case they can announce their freedom only after their husbands/fathers allow them. Go back and read Holy Book, where you are heading and riding this bandwagon of western values. There is no objection on among any school of islamic fiqh.

    @MarkH

    You just have heard it but probably have not tested, test it you will stop rethinking the thinking.Recommend

  • Mj

    @Syed:
    Your views are blatantly misogynistic and need to be called out as such. I feel sorry for any woman in your life because the only thing you know is how to subjugate half of the population based on centuries old tribal code.Recommend

  • http://[email protected] Syed

    @Mj

    I do not know what is your gender by the way but whatever you call these idea blatant and misogynistic are the perfect outgrowth of Islam. That is what I see inside literature. Before you post these comments again and label it centuries-old, let me remind you that you are committing a serious mistake. A mistake called SRC, self-reference criteria. What is it do it yourself.

    Secondly, anybody announcing a himself a muslim and still holds on such values (these western) are hypocrites. They are no muslims as if they were they would be holding to teaching of islam and propagating its values. You see, behaviour is primarily influenced by beliefs we hold. And person believing in truth of Holy Book should at least hold to it. When he does not, it means that on the face of it (mouth) they belief but deep in their psyche they are actually not believing it. This is exactly the case with women on my society. They think that western values are perfectly ok and that our system is faulty. No man, that is xenocentrism. But i prefer ethnocentrism over xenocentrism. Recommend

  • Umer Rasheed

    I do not understand what sort of a woman takes pride in celebrating women’s day. I mean do women need to be reminded every year that they are an important part of the society. I think the whole need of women liberation, rights awareness etc is directly dependent on financially sound urban family lifestyle with access to proper education and media. There is no requirement for NGOs or no human rights activist telling us about myriad of abuses women face in our country. Recommend

  • Natasha

    Being a women i think i m lucky to have a whole day dedicated to US and the problems we face everyday! Be it honor killing, raping burning face with acid or harassment. You name it and we have it in our society. Not only in Pakistan but almost in every part of the world. There are women who want to be heard.. who want others to know what they have been through, how they have been tortured! there are also women who did so much to solve those problems and they too deserve a day dedicated to them! I m a proud women and i will celebrate International women’s day coz that is MY day!Recommend

  • Syed

    @Natasha

    I perfectly respect your concerns and issues that our women are facing. And it a grave reality that such thing do exists. However, my objection is; why do we need a western solution to our issues when a proper value system (islam) is with us! When the issues raised by you are addressed from an Islamic viewpoint, I will fully support the women (victimized). But having a western mixture in the values/solutions/ethics/morals is simply unacceptable to me. That is; we are trained (schools) to think the western way, we should stop it and use our brains our values and our morals to address these issues.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    Oh, for the love of Athena! Relax!

    Of course every day is woman’s day. Like every day in Pakistan is Quaid’s day. And every day in the world is world polio day as we fight to eradicate this horrific disease from our midst. It doesn’t mean that we don’t give a damn about Jinnah or polio the other 364 days of the year.

    World women day celebration is merely symbolic. It’s to recognize the irreplaceable place of women in modern day society, acknowledge the hardships they have faced to attain equal rights, and serve as an opportunity to contemplate on what more needs to be done.Recommend

  • ali

    the only solution to these problems women are facing is education.
    It happens everywhere, those who do it don’t have values neither education.
    If teachings of islam should be used, why is it that honour killings etc are commited? It’s more of problem with not being aware of what is right.
    We need to bring a system of quality education, not only for the rich but for everyone. Recommend

  • alicia

    @Syed
    so freedom for women does not exist in Islam according to you?Recommend

  • Syed

    @Alicia

    A bundle of freedom, rights whatever you call it but one must have the eye, the brain and the struggle to dig out of literature. Islam put a effective check on the level of freedom enjoyed by women and men as well. In fact, if you open the books of history of Arabs – it was Mohammad s.a.w.w who stopped the ignorant Arabs to bury their daughters. Stopped discrimination between son and daughter be it in food, clothes etc. These were the initial steps. Then gave full freedom to choose a husband. Education has been made mandatory for male and females. Prophet pbuh was a merchant. And there are many other things. My objection as I said is simple enough; “there are differences in cultures so is there are solutions which fits that culture”. As the way, our thinkers are borrowing solutions from other cultures, is doing more harm than good. And this is not this one issue. In many other cases I see such imprinting, subliminal though. E.g. “Iqbal is the Shakespear of East”. You see the distortion of Iqbal personality and more than it is that Shakespear is superimposed on iqbal to let me and my folks always consider that Shakespear was someone greater still. No, Iqbal holds his place and Shakespear his one. I object to this kind of treatment. And, as a member it is my full right to protect my cultural values.

    Secondly, I see that you are committing a logical fallacy; the red herring. The topic of my comments is the “cultural imprinting of Pakistani via western ways”.Recommend

  • sana

    After reading all the comments and with eye wittnessed situations both in Pakistan and many countries abroad I concluded that Pakistan has no Islam ignorance issues but has accepting islam issues. better say hypocrisy issues. they cry in the name of Islam and what ever is against their benefits they tag it to non Islamic and western.

    some reality check.for example:

    our so called muslims know drinking is HARAM but its shocking to know the ratios in Pakistan and pakistani muslims living abroad who drink openly.and there are so many tabbo things being done in so called Pakistani Muslim society of some GAIRAT MANDS, who do not wish their women to work and give their rightful freedom coz its baigairti offcourse:).
    but yes there is no harm if they do any thing coz they have all the right to STARE, TEASE, and even ABUSE.

    on the other hand so called NON Muslim baigairat WEstern people they drink coz they do not think its tabbo. but they are off course bad coz they are western..and we have right to blame them for every unethical thing we do…:)

    so who is hypocrite now.

    its silly to say that women who go out for job have to strip or its bad in doing work/job…work is no way stopped in islam..every body know that ummul mominin Hazrat kadijja R.A used to do trade.

    I can give so many example but I know there is no use and end to this argument BECAUSE it is said that
    “SAMJDAAR KO SAMJHANA MUSHKIL HOTA HAY”.Recommend

  • u_too

    @Syed:
    What if you were a woman, without your rights that you take so much for granted? Recommend

  • Yasmin Malik

    The reason I really like the Tribune is that many of its journalists are allowed to speak their mind. Ms Amna, as a woman, you SHOULD celebrate who you are every day of the year!Recommend

  • vaqas

    Such anger. My god. Hatred of all kinds spewing over from every direction. Why dont we just take days of celebration and celebrate them. God knows we have not much joys in our life. Lets just share some happiness for once.Recommend