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International Women’s Day

March is the month when the world celebrates in honor of the womankind the world over. I personally feel why should just one day in the entire year be celebrated as the International women’s day, our women should be celebrated all the time…each year, each month, each hour, each minute and each second. We cannot forget that our mothers are women and we are here because of them. Right?

 

Working women have loads to do, balance work and family, plus chase time! So let us start to get things organized in the kitchen first. Make a weekly menu and shop for it on the day off. It could mean stretching on a Saturday evening but it pays big time.

 

  • Keep the kitchen counter bare. It helps to cook faster, if there are no extra gadgets on the counter. You can use the space to prepare sandwiches, pack lunches, or prepare individual breakfasts in the hurry that is a good morning for you! Don’t worry about the spillages or mess. Just wipe clean once before winding up.
  • Store food items in see through containers. This helps in keeping a check on the supplies and you can decide what to buy in the next shopping trip. Who has the time to open all the containers and peer inside to check the contents and their quantity?
  • Allocate a special shelf in the kitchen cabinet for tiffins and water bottles, ziplock bags and foil. Precious minutes are lost in the morning in the grand hunt for the favourite dabba!
  • Also allocate a special shelf in the kitchen cabinet for breakfast things like cereals, brown sugar, jams, peanut butter, tea bags, milk pot, sugar pot etc. If you can keep the cereal bowls alongside, so much the better!
  • Use the refrigerator very efficiently and effectively. Mark a fixed corner for your supply of yogurt, cheese and butter so that there is not much hunting to do when in a rush. Also post a list of leftovers that can be recycled so that you know what can be re-created in a short time! Use cling film and foil for good measure to cover and pack foods in the fridge.
  • Freezer is Alibaba’s cave for you. Use it for peas, corn, tomato puree cubes. On a day off, you can chop a load of onions and freeze in ziplocks, you can grind your chilli-ginger-garlic paste and freeze it, and you can also make a supply of chutney and freeze it. You can also make two-three lots of onion-tomato gravy and freeze in individual portions. Having an electric chopper helps in cutting so many onions without tears!
  • Freezer can also hold rolled out semi-fried paranthas! No need to buy these readymade as this idea works just as well at home. All you have to do finish cooking them on a hot tawa and just before serving. No one will ever know the difference!
  • One smart chore you can do is delegate.  Ask your kids to help in clearing up the table after dinner while you put the kitchen straight. They can also help in laying the table at the start of a meal. All you have to do is then carry the bowls of hot food for the family.
  • Smarten up your kitchen with the ‘good-looking’ accessories like silicon baking pans, muffin moulds, spatulas, sieves etc. They are not only brightly coloured but also easy to clean.
  • Another good idea is to go for non-stick pots and pans and cook and serve cookware.  They look good, they clean well and they add a vow factor to your kitchen especially when you have guests over who like to ‘see’ the kitchen too.
  • Another plus point in using non-stick ware is that you can cook in minimum oil and thus safeguard your family’s health.
  • If your budget permits it, having a dishwasher installed in the kitchen is a good idea for the home with no domestic help. You can use it once at night and clean up all the soiled pots, pans and plates. Thus you can wake up to a clean kitchen ready for action the following morning.
  • We also suggest you keep your chopping board, knives, peelers and graters in one assigned corner on the counter. It is much faster to use the board for all the chopping as it is not so messy then. Some people peel potatoes over the waste bin in order to save seconds!
  • While shopping, go with a written list. A mental list causes stress. Pick up products that can make cooking easier…tomato puree, potato flakes, ready pastes, ready mixed flours, instant desserts etc. Ready to cook ranges have increased in variety and if your time is really, really short it is good idea to keep a stock for absolute emergencies.
  • Early morning challenges are the tiffins and lunch boxes to be filled up for yourself, spouse and kids. The kids will need mid-morning snack, lunch, and sometimes a commute box (to munch on while commuting back home!). Sandwiches with brown bread are ideal as they stay well wrapped in cling film. You can use hung yogurt with cabbage and apple as a good filling. Mashed paneer spiced with shahi jeera makes a tasty spread. Lunch could be a choice of stuffed paranthas, or vegetable idlis, even a roll up of roti with vegetables. Toasted sandwiches using leftover vegetable or paneer bhurji are a good option. Lemon rice using leftover rice is ideal too. For kiddy tiffins, ensure that the presentation is appealing. Roti rolls can be covered with foil halfway, sandwiches can be cut into small triangles or make them triple-decker, idlis can be cut into quarters and served with toothpicks.


Long live the women power! 

How did it come into being

The idea to dedicate a day each year to the women of the word took seed early in the 20th century. That was the time when a lot of industrial expansion and turbulence took place, the population starting growing upwards and radical ideologies took birth. And it was recognized that the women played a major role in all these progress.

And now let us see why 8th March was chosen for this purpose. It was on 8th March, 1857 that the women employed at the clothing and textile factories in New York City in United States got together to protest against the inhumane working conditions and low wages accorded to them.

Then once again on 8 March in the year 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter work hours, better pay, voting rights and an end to child labour. They adopted the slogan "Bread and Roses", with bread symbolizing economic security and roses a better quality of life. In May, the Socialist Party of America decided to observe the last Sunday in February for as National Women's Day.

The first ever National Woman's Day was celebrated in the United States on 28 February 1909 and ever since International Women's Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. In 1913 International Women's Day was transferred to 8 March and this day has remained the global date for International Women's Day ever since. 

Women empowerment

It was in 1975 that the UN drew global attention to women's concerns by calling for an International Women's year and convening the first conference on women in Mexico City. A lot has been done for women empowerment in the last few decades both in developed and developing countries. Amendments in the constitutions now guarantee that the women can enjoy human rights without discrimination on the basis of sex. Legal literacy and other measures to alert women of their rights and to ensure their access to those rights have been introduced. The world community has also identified violence again women as a clear violation of human rights. And now incorporating gender perspectives into regular program and policies has become a priority at the United Nations and in many member states. 

Indeed a lot has been done to ensure that women’s rights are not violated but lot more needs to be done. March 8th provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the achievements of women and to highlight the needs and concerns of women on national, regional and global levels.

21st century onwards

International Women’s Day is declared as an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc. with flowers and small gifts. In some countries this day is given a status equivalent to Mother's Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

There has been significant changes in women’s and society’s attitudes towards women’s equality and emancipation. Though the younger generation feel that almost all battles have been won for women, the feminists from the earlier generation know only too well that it is not all that easy. They are well aware of the ingrained complexity of patriarchy and that the male domination over the years is not all that easy to shake off. However, with more and more women making their presence felt in the boardroom, greater equality in women’s legislative rights and the increased number of female role models in every aspect of life, women have almost won their fight for equality but there is still some way to go. For women, are still paid less than their male counterparts thought in most fields they have proved that they are better workers – more sincere, more honest and more skilful. The number of women in business and politics are still not at par with their male counterparts. What’s violence against them are still rampant in many pockets of society. The saddest part is that, this is happening even in the educated and urban societies which other boast of their broad outlook towards life in general. 

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