A Promise is a Promise

‘Promise’ – what is it? In general a promise is something made by one person or a group to another. The ‘everywhere’ accepted and ‘known to everyone’ truth is that a promise is mean to be kept.

Since history began human beings have been making promises to each other – persons to persons, kings to kings, politicians to public, nations to nations, etc. But if we step back to the olden ages we could see that promises were not always kept. It was these broken promises that led to arguments, misunderstandings, disagreements, frustrations, conflicts, wars and deaths in millions.

This is not different with the promises made to women from then to now. Promises were made of various kinds. Promises were made by diverse groups. Promises were made for number of reasons. Promises were made to millions of women of this globe. Promises were made on important occasions, special events and on significant days – especially days such as the International Women’s Day.

BUT…. where are those promises today? Is International Women’s Day is one of the only day to make promises.

The International Women’s Day was originally marked for the purpose of respecting, appreciating and showing love towards women for their contribution and achievements in the society. Later in 1909, the United States celebrated the National Women’s Day following which Russia celebrated the first International Women’s Day in 1913. The International Women’s Day has now become a significant day to be observed all over the world. Today everywhere in the world, most people are holding various different kinds of events to mark this day which is recognized as a day for women. If so, are the other days in a calendar year meant for only men.

Are women who hold 50% of the world population, meant to be remembered only on International Women’s Day?

Though the whole world celebrates the International Women’s Day on the 8th of March, on March 9th the world begins to forget the promises it made to the women – promise of equality, promise of equity, promise of non – discrimination, promise of recognition, promise of acceptance, promise of protection, promise of care, promise of understanding, etc. The world forgets that it is a responsibility to fulfill the promises made to the women society.

But who is this world? Does not the world consist of both men and women? Does not the world consist of both men and women in equal portions? Then is it only the responsibility of men to make and keep promises to women and could it not be the responsibility of women too.

Yes! Women are also responsible to keep and fulfill promises.

Women are responsible for the vulnerability of their fellow – women. Women hold the responsibility of upholding their fellow – women in times of crisis, difficulties and sufferings and for their poor and helpless state of lives.

We women should be able to understand the sufferings of our fellow – women better. We should be the agents of change in the lives of the helpless and poor women. We should be the voice to the voiceless women. By giving a voice to the voiceless and to the unheard women, we will be able to bring change to their lives – we could support them towards a better life – and into a society where they too will be recognized, respected and realized.

Today on International Women’s Day shall we – women from around the globe, make a promise to our fellow – women who are not able to make a choice of their own; shall we promise them that ‘’we would stand for them’’; ‘’we would speak for them’’; ‘’we would contribute towards change in their lives – change through writing’’.

Let us today make this PROMISE.

 A PROMISE to be kept.

A PROMISE to remember that ‘a promise is a promise’.

“A Promise is a Promise: time for action to end violence against women”

E. Ariyaratnam | Founding President – Asian Press Institute