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Muhtarema Mou Islam: Often times when we see things that we don’t agree with, we keep quiet; especially in this era of social media, when everyone has an expert opinion on everything.

This year on the international women’s day, we saw 3 different types of ads featuring women, promoting women empowerment and gender equality. I personally really enjoyed those ads- every one of them. Tv/media has a strong influence on the general population. So my happy heart thought yay these ads will encourage some women to think, think outside the box. Sure some men may have a problem with it, but these are great for the women in the country in general.

Much to my surprise, I witnessed a few women denouncing these ads. One person wrote that these ads targets the elite. Bangladesh doesn’t only contain just the elites. One person wrote why fathers have to go on paternity leave, a child needs the mother the most. One person wrote about the cliché of traveling solo. Of course all wrote about empowering women in the light of Islam.

What I noticed is that the women who wrote long long analysis of these ads mostly were hijabis. Sharers were a mix, but hey, we often try to find meaning to things that trendsetters say. And you know who are better trendsetters than tv personalities or the elite class? Extremists. Unfortunately when 3 leading agencies were out to create an awareness centering women, the extremists just had to work against it and spread false statements like maternity leave is more important than paternity leave, traveling solo is clichéd. Those of you who are sharing these, do you realize you are sharing extremists’ point of view? Bangladesh may not be made up on elites, they are also not made up of extremists. Elites are trendsetters, so are extremists. So we have to choose which trends we should follow. How many times have we chosen to follow fashion trends on social media by the top designers. Are they elites or extremists. Of course they are elites. So when it comes to women, why we decide to share extremists’ posts?

Elites don’t always mean money. Elites also mean they have an upper level of knowledge and intellects. An influential writer whether or not has the money is an elite in the society.

This proves time and time again that women are women’s worst enemies. Instead of supporting women breaking barriers and breaking that glass ceiling, you are telling them to sit at home. How ironic!

Have we ever thought about what may happen if we support women instead of going against them? Sisterhood has shown time and time again that supporting and promoting women has only shown brighter and better results. After all, it is always noted that empowered women empower each other. Why can we not be that woman that empower, rather than the one that pulls you down. May be this is something that we can think about and we can consciously make an effort to uplift women.

Writer: women organizer, Canada.

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