Like the rest of the country, International Women's Day is being celebrated across West Bengal too. A host of events and programmes have been lined up in capital Kolkata to mark the day. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also greeted women on the occasion.
Kolkata based women organisation called WINE (WINE – Women's Initiative to Network for Empowerment) is giving an opportunity to those women who basically belong to conservative middle class and upper middle class families but hardly get any encouragement or support from their families when it comes to their career or economic independence.
On this International Women’s Day, around 300 women across the city are coming together in an event, where they can discuss their ideas, family issues and also they will get the guidance. The initiative is working towards creating a network that can help women forge a path for themselves to be emotionally and financially independent. It’s a platform that can help educated girls and women learn to empower themselves.
Even the Kolkata based restaurants and pubs are coming up with new ideas to pamper women customers this time. BAKSTAGE, the famous rock pub which is situated in sector five area which is known as IT hub of the city of joy is all set to woo the women customers this time.
Its owner Sudhir Ahuja says, "women are not any less than men, in fact I feel they are way ahead of men. This year the theme for Women's Day is 'BE BOLD FOR CHANGE.' And to encourage women to be bolder, stronger and more powerful we have come up with some new ideas.
We are not giving them any discount on bills because today's women don’t want special discounts because they work, they earn and they spend. So, giving women customers discount means we are not treating them equal. Hence, we decided to pamper them rather giving them respect which they really need throughout the year and not only on Woman's Day.”
“We are giving some gifts to all our women customers. We have changed the menu a bit, women love chocolates so we have some special desert items in our menu there are some special offers in our drinking menu for the women customers. We have kept some women accessories which customers can pick, our place is famous for our different kind of music,” he added.
“Our band will be playing all women oriented sufi songs on women's days and also we are playing Kangna Ranaut songs who is the woman of substance in Bollywood. So, there are several different activities we are doing just to make them feel more special and it’s not only on Women’s Day but we are doing it for 5 days and every day we are offering our women customers something different,” he said.
On the eve of International Women’s Day, Indian Karate Association organised a peace March to protect the rights of women and also for the gender equality. It was also a protest against Rape and Crime against women. Around 600 girls and women participated in this March in Kolkata.
As our own Bollywood diva Madhuri Dixit says, "Women need to be empowered through the strongest tool - education. They don't need to be subservient to anyone, but at the same time, men must change their mindset towards women. If they are more respectful towards them, then things will change at the grassroots level. It will happen slowly, but everyone has to move together."
Women have already come a long way to get their freedom and equal rights but still there is a long way to go.