The Good: India
To mark the occasion of International Women’s Day, Air India set aside a flight to San Francisco as an example of progress. The 9,000 mile, seventeenth hour flight from Delhi to the Bay Area set a new record for the longest flight ever that was operated solely by a female crew. All four pilots were women, as were all twenty of the cabin attendants. Even the baggage handlers, ground crew, and air traffic controllers were all women. In a nation that frequently receives negative publicity about their regard for women, this was certainly a step in the right direction. However, one cannot help but wonder if Air India had an ulterior motive. After all, this was the same airline that six months ago found itself in the middle of a media firestorm after declaring that 130 of its female flight attendants were too fat to fly.
The Bad: India
Perhaps thinking that the coverage of International Women’s Day would jack up the price, a debt-ridden man attempted to sell his wife on Facebook. Dilip Mali, a 30-year-old from Sanawad in the Khargone district, has been married to his wife for four years. The couple has a three-year-old daughter. However, whatever affection he had once felt for his wife faded as his debts mounted. Over the last year, Mali had borrowed an increasingly large amount of money from neighbors, friends, and criminals in the city of Indore. Those creditors recently began demanding that he repay the loans, which he was unable to do. As a result, he took to social media. In a status update on Facebook, he wrote “I want to return the money I have borrowed from various persons. Therefore, I’m selling my wife for Rs 1 lakh. Anybody interested in buying her can contact me on my mobile number.” No word on how many people offered to purchase her for the roughly $1500 asking price, but the woman’s family quickly alerted her to the Facebook comment. She, in turn, filed a complaint with the police that her husband had violated Indian Penal Code 509. This code encompasses crimes that include any word or act that insults a woman’s modesty. If found guilty, Dilip will end up at least another $1800 in debt.
The Weird: China
Husbands in the village of Laojunshan, located in the Henan Province, took to the streets to show how much they care about their wives. Continuing a tradition established three years ago, the husbands marched to the village square and encased themselves in giant blue punching bags. All the bags said, “If you’re angry please hit me” except for one that read “A love punch bag.” Dozens of women, including the men’s wives, lined up to put on a pair of boxing gloves. In an effort to clear the air and remove any lingering hostility that might exist from the previous year, the women were encouraged to punch the men in the gut as hard as possible. It was clear that some took the activity more seriously than others did. Some husband and wife duos were seen laughing throughout the exercise, while others were certainly more in the fighting spirit.