Why Do We Still Talk about Gender Equality and Women’s Safety?
UN declared the decade 1975-85 for women; focusing on making policies for women’s safety, gender equality, and empowerment. 35 years down the line how far have we succeeded in making a world better for women? how far have come in providing equality to genders?
The very first thing is that there is something fundamentally wrong with the world if; gender equality and women’s safety is an issues, instead of common sense.
Violence Against Women
United Nations defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women; including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”. This violence can be of any form like domestic violence, forced marriage, economic control, etc.
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine states that 1 out of every 3 women on the globe experiences violence in some form. In Sierra Leone’s 11-year civil war approximately 250,000 women were sexually exploited.
Of all women murders, 38% were killed by their partners. 89% of women in Brazil, 86% in Thailand, and 79% in India reported being abused or harassed on the streets; says Action Aid 2016. 17 out of 173 countries do have a few specific legislation addressing sexual harassment done in public places; world bank 2016.
Violence falls under the violation of human rights; it can have devastating consequences on individuals’ physical and mental states. There are 46 countries where there is no law to protect women against Domestic violence; in those countries, the life expectancy of women is discernibly shorter.
Elections & Politics
It is hard to swallow, but there are still a few countries in the world; that do not allow women to participate in elections. In Bhutan, only one person can vote per house. Whereas in Vacation city only the male section is granted the right to choose the leader.
Less than 10% of Pakistan’s female population participated in the last 800 poll elections. But unlike in Saudi Arabia in Pakistan, women were granted the right to vote in 1956. Saudi Arabia’s women after decades of dissidence; got the right to vote in 2015.
United Nation reports says that women are extensively victimized during the elections. In Kenya’s 2017 elections, Human Right Watch published a report; which dictates the growing violence against women during the 2017 election. Politically motivated rapes and other forms of sexual violence were practiced; for not letting women participate freely in elections.
In the case of women in political participation and leadership; from 1995 participation of women in politics has increased by 11%; 11% in 20 years. Globally women make up just 23.3% of parliamentarians; Inter-Parliamentary Union, 2017.
49.6% population; and this less participation at the highest level of government is just not acceptable.
Story of Struggle for Equal Rights
Women’s struggle for equal rights is centuries old. 1848, was marked as the watershed moment for women’s rights; with the Seneca Falls convention. Where women activists publicly petitioned for their social political and religious rights.
In 1893 New Zealand sent a message to other activists across the world; informing them that equal voting rights were achievable through advocacy. In 1911 the very first international women’s day was celebrated, in Europe.
In 1927 the All India Women’s Conference convenes for the first time. Japan 1911, writer Raicho Hiratsuka challenges women’s traditional roles. Rosalind franklin lights the way for the double helix theory; The establishment of the commission on the status of women in society; in 1975 the first world conference on women. The UN celebrated 1975-85 a decade dedicated to women’s safety and growth.
Entering the 20 century; women around the world are mobilizing in ever greater numbers to camping for gender equality and women’s safety. In 1945 the United Nations came into existence; in response to the destructive poll of two world wars. Eleanor Roosevelt oversees the drafting of the universal declaration of human rights for all the world to hear; ahead and other advocates underlined the place of women’s rights within this set of foundations. For women’s rights norms and standards at the international level.
Sirimavo Bandaranaike become the world’s first elected women prime minister of Sri Lanka in 1960.
Activists at the grass-root level dovetail with the worldwide momentum by becoming a powerful symbol of feminism, social resistance, and social change. Over one-tenth of the population went on strike for equal rights. The momentum reaches a climax in 1995. The Beijing Declaration and platform for action present a visionary global agenda for women and girls’ rights.
Miles to Go
As we enter the 21st century, patriarch, the stigma persists; and the exemplary leader arises to resist them. With the rise of the digital age, social media emerging as a crucial tool to motivate the population and fight against injustice.
Grassroots activist triggers social movements online and offline from cities to villages inspiring the future generation of women and girl leaders. After a relentless campaign, this movement generates changes in policy that signal a shift in the international attitudes and practices toward equal rights.
Where we are now a quarter-century after the Beijing declaration; women and men; mobilized together to overcome the remaining obstacles to gender equality and fight for an end to gender-based violence. And providing everyone access to health care, equal pay, and equal participation in political life.
There is yet a long way to go; let’s be a part of generation equality. Let us all together march towards a future, where men and women are equal, none is superior, none is inferior; just equal.