March 8 is Women’s International Day; this year it’s a whole week of celebrations themed ‘Make It Happen’. The question is, make what happen? Sadly, until this day and age, women are still treated as second class citizens. If you’re reading this, you’re probably privileged enough not to be suffering like many women around the world -even though you ARE suffering somehow. We need women’s day to create awareness about what’s happening to women. Here are some shocking facts about women and women’s rights from around the world:
1-Globally, 1 out of 3 women get beaten or raped: According to the UNIFEM report, Not A Minute More: Ending Violence Against Women: “Throughout the world, one in three women will be raped, beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Violence against women has become as much a pandemic as HIV/AIDS or malaria. But still it is downplayed by the public at large and policymakers who fail to create and fund programmes to eradicate it.”
2-25% of violent crimes consist of men beating their wives/girlfriends.
3-In Egypt, 99.3% of women have been sexually harassed: Before you accuse us of ruining Egypt’s reputation, remember that sexual harassment includes making unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks. The United Nations report showed that women get more psychically harassed than verbally, with a 1% difference.
4-Approximately, 125 Million living women had Female Genital Mutilation: FGM is usually performed on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15. It has absolutely no recorded health benefits; it harms girls and affects, not only their health, but their whole life as well.
5-15 Million girls are forced into marriage: Young girls, as young as 8 years old, are forced to marry much older men. They have no saying in the marriage and become slaves for their husbands. It mostly happens in Muslim countries all under the false excuse of abiding by “Shari’a Law”.
6-1.2 Million children are sold into slavery, 80% of them are girls: According to International Labour Organization, 1.2 million children get trafficked. Most of the young girls are sold as sex slaves and used for trades in drug dealing.
7-Only 76 countries in the world have laws against domestic violence.
8-57 countries, however, have laws against sexual abuse.
9-In some countries women are jailed for not obeying their husbands: Again, that’s mostly in Muslim countries under “Shari’a Law”.
10-Other countries have women jailed, or even killed, for being raped: Saudi Arabia and Iran are two countries which have publicly executed victims of rape.
That being said, let’s not forget the wages inequality, men getting priorities in promotions, labelling of women and slut shaming. Don’t be passive and give up on women’s rights. Don’t hate feminists but be one of them. If you’re a woman, think of how oppressed your life can sometimes be. If you’re a man, think of your mother or sister getting harassed.
So to answer the first question of “make what happen”, it’s simply make women feel safe!