THERE are 365 days in one year. Since that time, women have enjoyed the privilege of only one day each year. The rest of the days belong to men and that is why we call it a manâ€™s world.
Now that Womenâ€™s Day has come and gone â€” I wonder, are women going to wait another 365 days before they can demand and claim their rights?
Let me tell you about my work with women everyday â€” I see women who are suffering and in pain.
Women who are ashamed of looking you in the face so that you do not have to face their injuries? Women who have been humiliated, kicked, slapped and raped in front of their children.
Women who are lost for words because they have no way to describe the fact that they have no home to go to.
Women whose tears choke in their throats because the child they hold in their arms has been defiled by a person they trusted. A mother who has to live with the knowledge that her son-in-law murdered her daughter.
So what advice can I give to my fellow women after Womenâ€™s Day?
First of all, make everyday your day. If it means getting stubborn like a spoilt child who wants everything it sees, then get stubborn and demand everything that is yours by right every day. You have the right to say â€˜Noâ€™ to violence and to reject it in your life â€” everyday.
You have the right to refuse your daughter to be taken out of school or married off early because of bride price â€” every day.
You have a right to report your partner to the police if he mistreats you and if the police try to belittle your experience, you have a right to reject their treatment and seek further help â€” everyday.
You have the right to refuse a second wife in your home â€” everyday. When your husband dies, you have a right to refuse to be inherited by your husbandâ€™s brother â€” everyday.
And when he dies, you have a right to look after your children, his property and his land â€” everyday. You have the right to enjoy your blessings.
You can enjoy the blessing of living out your girlhood, playing with other girls, experiencing the joy of growing into adolescent, without being driven into the streets or into becoming a child mother â€” everyday. You can enjoy the blessing of a beloved wife respected and supported to realise your full potential â€” everyday.
As a mother, you can enjoy the blessing of being a creator and creative and holding this world together. Without mothers, our mother earth would fall apart â€” everyday!
Let us rejoice in being women and do all those things that women love doing, that mothers enjoy, that girls adore â€” everyday.
Take time to enjoy the knowledge of the perfect creation that you are and stand as tall as the trees and as firm, but flexible as its branches. Let us rejoice in the men who love us and support us; in the children who make us proud and who give us hope; that they can live our lives for us in a better way tomorrow.
Because you cannot beat a woman! What you kill in her â€” will only become born in her children tomorrow.
So dear fellow women, do not wait for laws and policies to be passed or for practices to change before you demand your rights. After-all, men have been practising their rights for 2008 years â€” it is time for women!
May you all enjoy the rest of the days in the year for surely everyday should be Womenâ€™s Day!
The writer is the executive
director of MIFUMI Ashoka Fellow
Everyday should be Womenâ€™s Day