We always think women on Women’s International Day which comes around on March 8! For a change perhaps it would be useful to ask men what they think about IWD and how much they love and/or hate the women in their life. Listen to the few men who agreed to share their views….

Vashu Sumaya, 77, businessman
Well, God made men and women equal. So there was no attraction between them. So women asked God to give them some more if what was not allowed to men – God said women will have to make some sacrifice, give up their brains maybe. The women agreed and gave up their brains for more good looks and sex appeal to drive men crazy! Now you make up your mind whether men love or hate women. But seriously? You want me to be serious? I love women with intelligence as they are practical and capable for multi-tasking. I love that a woman can be supportive of her husband and stand behind him like a rock and boost his morale. And I hate it when a woman can humilate him and bring down his self esteem. A woman can make you or break you. I hate women who have no grey matter as they waste their lives in cheap gossip and go yaketi yak bla bla blab la…okay, enough!
Vishal PG, 25, businessman
Woman, a beautiful creation of God! The angels on earth who make our life a wonderful experience altogether! All the great personalities of the world are born from the womb of woman and it is a woman from whom they have taken their life’s initial teachings. She is the creative force of the world in almost all expression and it is her guiding hands and tender love and care that finds expression. And to emphasise these qualities of women, we honour them all by celebrating International Women’s Day, commemorating the social, political and economic achievements of women over the decades. The life of a woman is full of hardships and dependency. A woman is the most multi-tasking human being on this planet. A woman works relentlessly: putting more hours than there are in a single day: both at homemaking and in the professional world, still managing to look fresh all the time. She portrays different roles, that of mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, counsellor, all at once; juggling it all to perfection. Empowering women is very necessary to bring gender equality, or let’s say gender equality is necessary to empower women. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “A woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacity.” Men should understand that women are not only liable to only handle household chores or take responsibility of home and family. Instead, both men and women are responsible for everything in their daily routine. And it is observed today that women are capable of doing more complex tasks than that of a man’s capability. The world needs to salute a woman for her contributions to the society. IWD is all about making women realise their worth and motivating them to achieve as per their true potential and not restrain themselves into captivity. Women are meant to achieve far greater goals at different stages of life. So let us all respect, honour, uplift, worship — make her feel she is worthy of being treated like a goddess and no less. Naari Shakti Zindabaad !!!
Dr Olav Albuquerque, 50, advocate
I love women because they are the most beautiful species whom God created or pehaps evolved after millions of years of evolution, as Charles Darwin postulated. Were it not for for women, none of us would exist today. I love women because my Mother was gentle and loving. She taught me to love. I love women because all my aunts, who were the younger sisters of my mother, brought me up, after my father’s untimely death. Their names are Idinha, Sylvina, Hilda and Vita, who all together played a stellar role of both mother and father in my life. My late mother, my four aunts, my elder sister, were the ones who instilled in me values and an upbringing which has served me very well in life. After my mother, Nina, passed away in 2009, my aunts Sylvina, Hida and Idinha passed away in 2012, 2019 and 2020 respectively. They fed me, clothed me, educated me and taught me the lessons of life which have stood me in good stead till today. Next, I love women because I had my first crush on my attractive class teachers in Campion School in Bombay as it was then known and later on my eighth standard English teacher way back in the 1970s in Don Bosco High School at Panjim. She gave me the highest marks in English and laid the foundation stone to my becoming a senior journalist-cum-lawyer. She put up with all my pranks and tomfoolery just to draw her attention to me. These childish crushes on these young adult women teachers served me in good stead because I studied well and never ranked below 2nd in class. And when I entered Dhempe College of Arts and Science with a distinction in 1975, I missed entering the Goa Medical College in 1977 although my late uncle priest, Fr Antonio Albuquerque, had one seat reserved in the freedom fighters’ quota. That was a great letdown and setback to my ego. I had a girlfriend who was doing her First Year Arts. She was the daughter of a Goan judge. We only spoke to each other and I walked home with her twice. That was all. But when students began to tease her, she changed her college. Thirty years later, when I was a practicing lawyer, I got an email in my inbox asking if I was so-and-so. I did reply to her and we began to chat sometimes. But later that too tapered off. She now resides at Benaulim in Salcette and I would love to meet her again. To lift me, a smart young girl taught us Botany while I was doing my B.Sc in Dhempe College. I immediately got attached to her and got a First Class in my B.Sc. She and another teacher played a major role in my academic career. Today, I am a Ph.D in law and definitely must acknowledge the role these women played in my life. Finally, I have often wondered whether God created man in his own image or it is the other way around. Perhaps God created woman first, and out of her rib, He made man. For woman can live without man. But I doubt any sane man could live without his wife. Why can God not be a woman ? After all, it is our mothers who bring us into this world. I definitely do love my lovely wife, Deborah. So, if a man does not love a woman, well then, he is crazy !
Vijay R Patel, 56, businessman
THERE are two sides to it. Why I love or hate women. Women are good and bad! I feel with our kind of generation today women have made it as corporate heads and they’ve got power to control men. In the old days women were only in homes but with the changes they are now more educated than men. But still I feel women never change and depend on men too much, a woman should be independent and so too a man, but in any relationship they should try to be friends, be it with mother, wife, sisters, friends. With women I find there are a lot of whys, why this, why that and they don’t let an issue go and have long memory to bring it up when it suits them! They will bring in history, geography and so many stories which are inappropriate for me at least. Are only their views correct? Men generally want to be generous but there is a woman to stop him. Women tend to forget facts. I hate women who want to control too much. Till today I have never asked so many whys to women, even to my wife, as they have asked me! Most of the time I try to accommodate women and they are good at taking advantage. Men try to be specific but women are not specific with answers, men come to the point. Not women. If nobody is around to observe a woman will say anything and walk away without feelings, very good at pataoing as long as they are the happy beneficiaries. After all this I will say women are too much to deal with. In my father’s time he would say many things but my mother would say a few things only sometimes! Now it is reverse.
Yogen Patel, 63, chartered accountant
MY take on women in general is they have a natural aptitude for compassion compared to men, and a greater sense of selfishness compared to men’s self-centered or self-righteous nature. For me it all starts at the motherhood stage. The mother who I believe valued compassion more than selfishness, given the male dominated socio-economic structure and behavior towards women in general. With a woman’s natural ability to have compassion, she taught us to be fair and civil; I am sure with it the ulterior motive to gain security and dignity later in life. Born out of compassion is the most complex sense of the notion of love either for the opposite sex and devotion towards duty and responsibility – karma. Both if not understood will cause hatred and carnage of various magnitude! My personal experience with the hindsight of being 63 years of age was more hinged towards responsibility rather than love towards the opposite sex, which in my opinion left me with an impression of people in general having the perception of loving or being loved rather than experience true love; hence, the spate of arguments, quarrels, etc. So, true love is the source of creation in all beings. And karma is the source of all preservation right, wrong or indifferent. Underlying all the above said is how one or the society in general graduates into acquiring true education and knowledge from understanding various subject matters, and this is not easy – given current social media opinions bought and sold in the form of news by politicians, business people and media alike. So again in my opinion and life time observations (acquired through relationship with my own family and friends) in developing and so called advanced society, maturation breeds true love for opposite sex. But a shift is happening from just men being self-centered or self-righteous, to educated women fighting for the same vantage point at the top of the pyramid, for centuries a male domain!
RAMAKANT BHAT, 58, shipping consultant
I love women for making me mad with passion. I hate women for also making me mad with their unnecessary bhashan!

Rajan Narayan, Journalist, 73
I LOVE women and hate women but love and hate are two sides of the same coin! All my life I have been blessed or cursed by strong-willed women. A young friend refers to herself as an opinionated woman! My mother was a strong woman from a very rich family. She was perhaps conned into marrying my father who was from a much lower economic status. Who could not keep her in the style she had been brought up in, and this led to bitter fights which often turned physical.
So the lesson I learned is that caste, creed and community do not matter, but a woman from a well to do background should not fall in love or get married to someone from a lower economic class! In this I’m not including women in the West and India who want toy boys and can afford to maintain them!
Traditionally, the man of the house is supposed to provide the means of sustenance. In our traditional societies the woman is supposed to be the hand maid of a man and a homemaker. In practice the man in pursuit of his career and providing for his family and children is so busy that he does not have the time to spare for his wife and children. This leads to resentment.
Which is why I believe that if you get married to a person from your own class your chances of being happy are much better. You will not be weighed down by the burden of expectations! I am being accused of generalizing but it is possible that there are many understanding women and indeed, there are cases of foreign women from the upper classes giving up everything to come and live in Indian villages.
But there is a difference between love and marriage. When you’re in love you only present the best face. You do not share your insecurities and expectations. I believe that love can very quickly turn into hate if expectations of either party are not met either physically or financially. We in India do not recognize physical compatibility as an important element in marriage. Most Indian men are not aware of the sexual fulfillment of the woman. They do not think that the woman has an equal right to sexual satisfaction. The Church holds classes for couples who want to get married. These are conducted by psychologists. I think every religion should conduct residential workshops so that couples know each other and what loving entails and also what they love and hate about their partner.

Vijay Gurnani, 69, shipping consultant
I love women because they are no more a weaker sex and they can do everything that a man can and sometimes even better. There is no such word like hate in my dictionary so I don’t hate any woman!


Women’s demonstration for bread and peace – March 8, 1917, Petrograd, Russia

By GO Team

International Women’s Day has a long and distinguished history! It goes to more than a 100 years when the seeds were sown with women working in factories seeking equal pay for equal work in England and also in America. In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote. It was the Socialist Party of America which declared the first National Woman’s Day a year later.
We also have the story of Russian women demanding “bred and peace” in a war-time strike in 1917, during this four days strike by women the Tzar was forced to abdicate and a provisional government granted the women their right to vote. The day was first celebrated in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Gemany and Switzerland and the centenary was celebrated in 2011.The day became official in 1975 when the United Nations approved it as a day for celebration with the first theme in 1996 being “Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future.”
Earlier on March 8, 1946, feminists in Italy had chosen mimosa flowers as a symbol of strength, sensibility and sensitivity for Women’s Day. The Socialist Party of America declared the first National Woman’s Day in 1909 and it was observed in New York. Then the German feminist Clara Zetkin asked for it to be declared as an international day at the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen in 1910. A hundred women from 17 countries accepted her suggestion and the movement took off across Europe.
So International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 round the world. It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. In 1977 United Nations recognized the day and declared March 8 as International Women’s Day across the globe. This day celebrates the social, economic, cultural, political aspirations and achievements of women.
This year the theme for IWD is “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a Covid-19 World.” We celebrate the tremendous efforts put in by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the pandemic, highlighting the gaps which remain. It is part of the overall 2021 theme this year which is to choose to challenge. This states that women are responsible for their own thoughts and actions every day and they challenge the world every day. The theme further stresses that women can choose to challenge gender bias and inequality anywhere around the world.
Interestingly, the colors often symbolizing IWD are purple, green and white, “Purple signifies justice and dignity. Green symbolizes hope. White represents purity.” The colors originated from the Women’s Social & Political Union (WSPU) in the UK in 1908. International Women’s Day is a national holiday in many countries, including Russia where it’s said the sale of flowers doubles during the three to four days around March 8.
Arguably, in India we’re still a long way before we may celebrate women as either exemplary prime ministers or chief ministers! Not that India does not run short of having women of 24 carat gold, who have contributed majorly towards the progress of women vis-à-vis social and economic independence. We have our Infosys’ Sudha Murthy and before her names which ring a bell are Ela Bhatt, Medha Patkar, Vandana Shiva, Kiran Nadar, Kiran Majumdar Shaw and some more who are very much around to count for something admirable. Every year BBC puts out its list and documentaries of 100 of the world’s most influential and inspirational women and it would be interesting to see how many of them will be from India this year!

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