In a way, International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the women who have paved the way towards our progress. At the same time it is a tribute to all the women who have fought across time and space against all forms of discrimination, exclusion, marginalisation, violence and lack of equal opportunities for women.

It is also an opportunity to realise that in most countries of the world the problem is still relevant. International Women’s Day sheds light on all things standing in the way of true equality for women; from the so-called glass ceiling to rape and domestic violence. Both women and men together have the obligation to once and for all make subordination of women an issue of the past.

When you learn of stories that touch you to the core… heroic stories of brave young girls who display extraordinary courage during extremely dangerous circumstances, it does make you sit up and take note of the fact that each one of us must raise our voice against any form of injustice. Also, the stark truth that we must never ever compromise on self-respect or bow down to any form of suppression.

Violence and abuse against women are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over them. An abuser never ever plays fair. Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down, and keep you under their thumb.

Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you. Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to violence. And while physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone.

No one should have to endure this kind of pain—and your first step to breaking free is recognising that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge the reality of the abusive situation, then you can get the help you need.

This is when it all comes down to your inner strength, your determination and your perseverance in dealing with situations that life throws at you. You have to rise and face these tough situations definitely. Family support and understanding are the key underlying traits.

Like they say: If there is a will, then there definitely is a way out! And the strength of a woman can never be taken for granted!

Do understand the many facets of a woman. The many roles she juggles and the many hats she dons. International Women’s Day is a good time to appreciate the remarkable contribution of women in our society.

Sometimes I wonder if it isn’t just a paradox to have such designated days when women all over the world are an inspiration in diverse achievements on a daily basis. But maybe it is also a way to remind those that forget about celebrating, respecting and appreciating women’s achievements, be it socially, economically or even politically.

Not a day goes by without reading or hearing about inspiring work being done by courageous women around the world. Not only are they doing a fine job in securing women’s rights but they are also ensuring that societies are more accepting and tolerant to ‘woman power’. There is more awakening in being reasonable and unbiased towards the roles women handle these days.

Of course, as we take stock of the status of women and gender equality, there are still many unspoken voices, some that go unheard and some who still don’t know their full potential. There is still so much progress to be done as inequality still plagues our society. We need to work harder towards expanding possibilities for women in every domain.