Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow
Medical Mission Sisters in North India celebrated International Women's Day 2022 in three different locations - with a focus on the theme: “Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow.”
On March 5th 2022, MMS celebrated in Sheetal Bhakura Panchyat Manzhi Tola (a Dalit community) and other local officials to join them in marking the Day. Adolescents and youth from Swabhiman Bhavan, MMS’ centre in Hajipur where Sister Smita serves, created awareness around the theme through performing a colourful street play, highlighting gender equality, education and the rights of women and girls.
On March 7th 2022, they changed venue and celebrated in Saraiya Panchyat with a focus on the same theme, but giving a strong message: “Save Girls, Educate Girls.”
During the celebration, representatives of local media were present and asked Sister Smita to give a talk. She spoke about the importance of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. She compared society to a train running on two rails and asked the women present, “How does a train run? On two rails or one? If it runs on one rail only, the train will topple. There will be an accident. In the same way, a family and society have to run on two rails to enjoy a smooth journey ahead - the two rails representing woman and girls, men and boys. We should not delay in educating girls as well as boys - together - as a girl is no less than a boy.”
Sister Smita urged the people listening to her to help in taking women’s equality forward. She told them that although we face challenges, we, women, will strive to move forward together in every way; ultimately, this is what women want - social and political equality, respect and opportunity. However, like all rights, these rights have to be fought for and women must help one another to realise them. The most significant social change in the world is related to the status and contribution of women.
Mr Anil Kumar from the media explained how MMS is working for people of all religions and makes no distinction on grounds of caste or creed. He said that women have to go through many struggles in order to gain their rights, but society in India will not develop until women are given all of their due rights. As a celebration, International Women’s Day is a wake-up call for all women, especially those who are still not able to let their voice be heard.
Finally on March 8th 2022, International Women’s Day itself, 150 women were taken to Rajgir for the celebration. This was mainly to break down barriers to women’s empowerment in local communities and show how women have an equal right to participate in celebrations and, when they are invited to do this, they must be able to fully participate in all the activity.
Many congratulations, Sister Smita, on the award you were given in February to mark your service to the community!