It is the International Women’s Day today, and the theme this year is ‘Break the Bias.’
The organisers of International Women’s Day want us to think of a world there is no discrimination - a world free of bias and stereotypes.
Is that possible?
It is conditioning of the mind resulting in what has been taught at home and what the young minds have been exposed to. This generation has been to great extend seeing gender equality, but two centuries ago in some countries it was considered that girls would not be able to handle the same academic subjects boys were being taught. Then it was the myth about the professions that women might not be able to cope with.
Women have come a long way and she has been breaking the glass ceilings but there is so much more to be achieved. Women are present in all fields including politics to defense but it is not something women take it for granted.
HH Sayyida Basma al Said is one of the speakers at the inauguration of Forbes USA for World’s Most Powerful Women for International Women’s Day. She is the first Omani to take part in this global event for women in history - the Forbes 30/50 Summit which started on March 6 and concludes on March 9.
Baida al Zedjali is an entrepreneur but as a child she loved cycling. As she spoke to us on the Observer's podcast she reflected on how some of her relatives were uncomfortable seeing her cycling around in the neighbourhood. The family pressure meant no more new cycle as she grew taller but she learnt to cope with her younger sister’s bike until she grew taller and soon forgot about. Years later a friend nudging her to try out triathlon ended up in not just her participating but her organising duathlon and for sure cycling was part of it.
Every woman has a story and each woman is breaking her own barrier. It is not always necessary that barriers are always external but sometimes it is the individual herself who could be the biggest block.
It takes a lot of strength to break free from the limitations set by one’s own self. Sometimes it becomes one’s comfort zone. And when a person breaks free of the limitations there is a world waiting to be explored.
Sara al Belucci is an Omani artist who has been creating her own stage for her art work.
According to her there is no difference just because she is a woman. According to her, we live in a complementary atmosphere to each other, only the difference is what she witnessed in recent times has given her an entity more than the past, no matter how society tries to encrypt it.
Of course there is a difference between men and women but the quest now is to accept the difference and celebrate it too. Women are going to be in all professions and women will continue to thrive in their traditional role as motherhood is an instinct but over the years she has even managed to keep it as two distinct roles but maybe the corporate world will include that part of her as well, as many organisations are thinking of incorporating daycare into their premises.
So March 8 is to celebrate women’s achievements but most importantly it is to accept her the way she is.
Where women work make all the difference. So finally, the objective of the day is about, ‘celebrating women’s achievements and increasing visibility, while calling out inequality is key.’