Don't give up, Fight the Good Fight
The world is a better place because people fight for this, but for every action, there is a reaction. We need to remember that what we have won can be lost
Observe any group of antilopes, or any other animal of choice, and you will see more or less the same thing: a group of dominant males vying for leadership, another group of younger males awaiting their turn and a group of females whose lot it is to procreate and look after the kids. Those who are already chortling in self-righteousness and agreeing that the woman's place is in the kitchen therefore place themselves at the same level as a herd of cattle.
Worse, because the human being has within its reach the means to behave differently, not better or worse, than any herd of animals because the human being is an animal so weak in structure and so unadapted to the planet in terms of survival skills that we have developed other means to survive.
We have fought for, and won, many fights. Workers' rights (now already under assault), children's rights, the right to vote (already under threat because the Lobbies have taken over Congresses and Parliaments) and so on. And women's rights?
The fight for Women's rights is not over
Women have won the right to vote after a prolonged fight by the Suffragette Movement and the full emancipation of women by the Soviet Union, lighting a beacon which would fire up women's equality movements around the globe. That was a century ago.
And today? Sure, women can work as equals in some places but not all, women continue to receive less for the same work in many cases, women have the right to go to school in many countries but not all, and so the fight has not been won completely.
According to statistics provided by UN Women, more than one in three indigenous women are raped in their lifetimes; according to an ILO (International Labour Organization) report relseased this year on March 8, International Women's Day, "A future of work in which women will no longer lag behind men is within reach, but it will take a quantum leap, not just hesitant incremental steps, to get there".
In many areas, gender discrimination is entrenched, women do not have equal access to healthcare and education, one in five girls are forced to marry by their families while they are minors. One in three women worldwide have experienced some form of abuse. 15 million girls aged 15 to 19 have experienced some form of unwanted sexual act or rape.
And no, it is not a phenomenon particular to Sub-Saharan Africa: half the women in the European Union have experienced sexual harassment as adults. Three-quarters of women and girls who are the victims of human trafficking are forced sex slaves; many of these held against their will in countries in the northern hemisphere.
200 million women and girls have been subjected to Female Genital Mutilation, many of these having been excised before the age of five.
The statistics remain the same in some areas, are getting better in others and worse in others, while the expected population increase of some 2 billion people over the next 30 years is likely to affect women and girls negatively. We can win fights. If we fight.
UN Women has a very good website which is a good place to begin. Otherwise let us all remember that this is a global fight which has not yet been won, by women or by men. Let men remember that they have a responsibility too.
Photo: By Biswarup Ganguly, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51402784
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey works in the area of teaching, consultancy, coaching, translation, revision of texts, copy-writing and journalism. Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru since 2002, and now Co-Editor of the English version, he contributes regularly to several other publications in Portuguese and English. He has worked in the printed and online media, in daily, weekly, monthly and yearly magazines and newspapers. A firm believer in multilateralism as a political approach and multiculturalism as a means to bring people and peoples together, he is Official Media Partner of UN Women, fighting for gender equality and Media Partner with Humane Society International, promoting animal rights. His hobbies include sports, in which he takes a keen interest, traveling, networking to protect the rights of LGBTQI communities and victims of gender violence, and cataloging disappearing languages, cultures and traditions around the world. A keen cook, he enjoys trying out different cuisines and regards cooking and sharing as a means to understand cultures and bring people together.
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