From Wonder Woman to Wondering Women!

Utkarsha Malkar
4 min readMar 8, 2022

What exactly are we celebrating?

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It is developing critical consciousness which makes it possible for the oppressed to move from understanding to acting and it is a long road ahead for every individual woman across the globe facing challenges on many fronts be it personal or professional. My journey reflects the struggles and aspirations of the thousands of women in India who are trying to break gender norms and social constructs.

As I pen this heartfelt note surrounded by the buzz of Woman’s Day celebrations around the globe, I cannot help but wonder what exactly is everybody celebrating? The gender pay gap has hit me as a mid-life crisis, and the fact that the world I move around is becoming increasingly unsafe for my gender is emphasized by squads launched to protect women in the commercial capital of India.

Society’s unequal power structures must be rebalanced, so that the state becomes more responsible for its actions, the power held by civil society increases, and large corporations become more socially responsible. However, the signals are mixed and the message is lost as many women struggle on a very basic level where housing is denied to a single woman in a city like Mumbai which constitutes a large women’s workforce participation.

The recent hijab row is another feather in the cap for men belonging to opposing religious fraternities. Strangely it is the woman’s body and its rights discussed and decided by ‘men’ while women seem to be silenced in either guilt or shame!

“Burgas, hijabs and even ghungats for that matter have worked their way into becoming religious and cultural constructs.

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Empowerment can have many different meanings to different people — depending on their experiences, circumstances, hopes, and dreams. Conscientization for the people is at the heart of my profession for the promotion of development free of all forms of oppression based on sex, class, race, or nationality as I navigate my role in the design education sector. What I share in a safe space with students is often this disparity hoping that the next generation bears the flag of equality with more success and less helplessness.

Indeed, every new generation has brought in a wave of women entrepreneurs and leaders who have excelled in a male-dominated world. The current generation has picked the baton and is fighting a new battle…that of equality and transformation of society.

They are vocal and strongly believe in their birthright as it is a women’s vision and perspective that will spearhead and bring about the structural changes needed to satisfy her strategic needs.

Free expression is the bedrock of all liberties. The Constitution of India provides the right to freedom under Article 19 which guarantees the Freedom of speech and expression, as one of its six major freedoms. It is appalling that the ‘establishment’ in India would want to stop a journalist from starting a new project simply because they disagree with her point of view or body of work.

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For feminists, empowerment differs from holding power of domination over someone else. It is more of a creative power that can be used to accomplish things on a collective level to be used by individuals and also a “power from within,” referring to self-confidence and the capacity to undo the effects of external oppression lasting over centuries.

Until the workforce and family units don’t respect and accept women as forerunners and equal contributors to excellence, society at large will not change its notion of gender-related issues and women will only celebrate a calendar event on ‘Women’s Day as a reminder of the shallow promise of a better tomorrow.

As a woman shapes her life and her destiny it will shape the destiny of the world.

UTKARSHA M. | Author | Design Thinker | Creator  - A desire to understand the world and to improve it always remains at the core. Design is a managed process and my quest for knowledge is subject to an inquiry of the apparent, the imagined and the recalled. As I speculate and design, my liberty of self-expression is in direct correlation to my existence and knowledge.



Utkarsha Malkar

A reality check as I alone can weigh the blue of my sky and you of yours.