The 8th of March of every year marks a very special day. Because it is ‘International Women’s Day’. But what’s so special about it? 

Well, women across the world wake up to some exciting discounts and offers. From your local grocery store to the bar across the road, everyone is in a hurry to sell you something at a discount. 

But 50% off at the women’s section of your favourite clothing store is in no way the progress this day actually stands for. Stop trying to sell me a membership to your gym, when the women who are employed there still make less money than their male counterparts. 

Did that get too real too soon? 

The International Women’s Day is a focus point in women’s rights across the world. It is a day to protest our place in this world. Not to sail away into the sunset with bags of discounted shopping bags. This isn’t a feel-good day and it was never meant to be. 

In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly invited members to proclaim March 8 as the official UN Day for world peace and women’s rights.

So how has it been reduced to Whatsapp forwards and a string of spam messages? 

Offers don’t even come close to what women want. This isn’t in an any way moving towards equal rights. If you have enough margins to offer discounts, pay your female employees better. 

Don’t cut down their maternity leaves, don’t fire them if they’re about to get married. Don’t refrain from hiring them because you fear they’re of ‘marriageable’ age. 

In 2018, according to the Monster Salary Index (MSI), the gender pay gap in India stood at 19% where men earned ₹ 46.19 more in comparison to women. The wage gap is astonishingly high in India. The IT/ITES services showed a sharp pay gap of 26% in favour of men. And in the manufacturing sector, men earn 24% more than women who work the same jobs. 

With 60% women in India believing that they face discrimination at work and 44% fearing that if they ask for maternity leave, their employers will assume they are quitting, this is a huge setback in basic rights for women. 

So this Women’s Day, instead of putting one rack of clothes on sale or offering free drinks at the bar, pay your female employees better. Value your employees’ equality, give them incentives, offer both your male and female employees, paternity and maternity leaves. 

Because that’s what this day really stands for. It isn’t just another excuse for you to put pink advertisements on your windows.