My name – Divya Anand – is always seemingly confusing people; across cultures, geographies, and even closer home. I regularly receive correspondence addressed as, “Dear Sir”. I am usually amused and end up trying to decode the semiotics of how that might have come to pass.
The cleaving through the assumptions stack notwithstanding, one question chimes loud and clear as we hold hands across the world to celebrate ‘International Women’s Day’: why did we stop celebrating Shakti (the female principle of divine energy) that surrounds each one of us irrespective of gender?
While a few of us have the privilege of being born into a matrilineal framework, most cultures have always celebrated the principle of a composite whole with both energies: aka Yin and Yang (Chinese) or the Ardhanareshwar (Indian).
For a culture to flourish, for a country to be powerful, for an organisation to be outstanding and for an individual to be assured, it is important to celebrate all aspects of the composite because the sum of the parts is greater than the whole…well, in most cases. Today as we look around us, we find more than a fair amount of discernible difference in how the world perceives men and women irrespective of the role they assay. According to the Global Gender Gap Report, “The gaps between women and men on economic participation and political empowerment remain wide: only 59 percent of the economic participation gap has been closed – a continued reversal on several years of progress and the lowest value measured by the Index since 2008 – and about 23 percent of the political gap, continuing a trend of slow but steady improvement.”
As the economy and society make this ‘slow but steady improvement’, technology is moving at lightning pace, permeating across borders and revolutionising the way we think and act. It encourages diversity of thought, which is the kind of diversity we need to build our futures.
How can citizens of the world benefit from this incomplete cognitive stance that seems to have emerged as the language spoken by the majority? We agree on being able to build a better tomorrow for our next-gen. Why should it be so hard to agree on the cognition? The fourth industrial revolution is here to stay. All things digital have seen an accelerated pace of change. We need to be able to deploy talent and technology to craft intelligence (artificial or otherwise) to address parity – parity on every single parameter across community and polity.
It is for all of us, men and women alike, to make a bid, a bold bid for a more inclusive tomorrow. A tomorrow coded for, of and by citizens of the world, irrespective of gender. We have definitely made a start, I think to myself and smile, as I watch Disney’s latest offering of a Polynesian princess in her enviro-friendly quest, shoulder to shoulder with a male Demi-God, for the zillionth time with my daughter.