UN declared the decade 1975-85 for women; focusing on making policies for women’s safety, gender equality and empowering. 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 safety is an issue, instead of being a 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.”. These violences can be of many form like domestic violence, forced marriage, economic control etc.
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine states that 1 out of every 3 women on globe experiences violence in some form. In the 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 for being abused or harassed on 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 violation of human rights; and they can have devastating consequences on individuals’ physical and mental state. There are 46 countries where there is no law to protect women against Domestic violence; and in those countries 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 to women to participate in elections. In Bhutan only one person can vote per house. Whereas in Vacation city only the male section is granted right to chose the leader.
Less than 10% of pakistan’s female population participated in the last 800 poll election. But unlike Saudi Arabia in Pakistan, women were granted right to vote in 1956. Saudi Arabia’s women after decades of dissidence; got 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 2017 election. Politically motivated rapes and other form of sexual violence were practised; for not letting women to participate freely in elections.
In the case of women in political participation and leadership; from 1995 participation of women in politics have increased by 11% ; 11% in 20 years. Globally women makes 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, marked as the watershed moment for women 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 activist across the world; informing them that an 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 to 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 for 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 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 right within this set of foundation. For women 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 powerful symbol of feminist, social resistance and social change. Over one tenth of the population went on strike for equal rights. The momentum reaches to a climax in 1995. The Beijing declaration and platform for action presents a visionary global agenda for women and girls rights.
Miles to Go
As we enter the 21st century, patriarch, the stigma persist; and the exemplary leader arise to resist them.With the rise of the digital age, social media emerging as a crucial tool to motivate population and fight against the injustice.
Grassroots activist triggers social movements online and offline from cities to villages inspiring future generation for women and girl leaders. After relentless campaign this movement generate changes in policy that signal a shift in the international attitudes and practices towards 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, of 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.