Women are God’s gift to mankind. It may sound a bit like a feminist rant but that is the truth as mankind will perish without women. Most women often put their own personal dreams aside once they have a family because of family obligations and the responsibility of raising children. Unfortunately, as if women’s sacrifices aren’t enough, the society, in general, considers women as second-class citizens who have to prove their worth first before they are even given the chance to try.
A fine example is the right to vote. It took a long while before most women all over the world were recognized to be equals of men and were allowed to help shape the future of the nation by exercising their right to suffrage. But until now, there are still many instances where women don’t get the same treatment as men. Also, violence against women has never waned despite the many advances in technology. It just took off on different platforms like the web. For the most part, women existed for the pleasure of men and it is something that many feminists detest considering many women can even outsmart men in school or at work.
Yet we’re seeing a lot of warning signs that global progress on women’s rights is in real danger of being thrown into reverse. Whether that’s new legal loopholes allowing child marriage in Bangladesh, where ActionAid works, or President Trump reinstating the ‘Global Gag Rule’, restricting access to abortion for some of the most vulnerable women in the world. There is a global urgency to make sure women’s rights are protected and advanced, not eroded.
One in three women and girls will experience violence in their lifetimes. Women are still earning on average 23% less than men, in more insecure, part-time, low-paid jobs. They also bear the brunt of unpaid care work, doing nearly 2.5 times more than men. ActionAid’s research has shown that the barriers women in developing countries face to accessing job opportunities and fair pay mean they lose out on a staggering $9 trillion every year.
There is so much more to do, and it is essential that Britain keeps up its role as a champion for women’s and girls’ rights internationally.
There have been many allegations of women right’s violations even in first world countries like America and the UK. Even though leaders often talk about valuing women’s rights, it is not exactly what always happen in real life. From discrimination in the workplace, marital abuse, and limited opportunities, women struggle all the time and it seems that the whole world is just okay with it because deep down, a highly patriarchal society considers women as second-class citizens who don’t deserve to enjoy the same perks enjoyed by men.
From the same white male–led White House that brought you the American Health Care Act (which could force women to pay as much as $1,000 more per month for maternity care) and the disastrous new budget proposal (which explicitly denies federal funding to Planned Parenthood for services including cervical cancer screenings) comes a brand-new “f-you” to women: The federal government on Monday created an official rule that could almost immediately enact President Trump’s recent “religious freedom” executive order. Signed earlier this month, the measure would allow employers to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s free birth control mandate if they feel it is in violation of their religious beliefs. Recall craft store chain Hobby Lobby, which won a 2014 Supreme Court case on the matter, allowing it to deny its employees birth control because its owners are Evangelical Christians (and forever cementing this writer’s love for Michaels).
Trump’s executive order appeased religious groups, but it stands to imperil women’s reproductive rights across the country. The ACA’s birth control mandate benefited 50 million women in making contraception affordable, The New York Times reported, citing Democrats’ estimates. Now Trump’s rollback (which will face inevitable legal challenges from women’s groups) “is a direct attack on women’s access to birth control,” Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement following the executive order. “A woman’s health should not be up to her boss or politicians.”
With a known misogynistic leader, it seems that America is progressing backward for the entire world to see. Not only does he implement controversial policies that don’t seem to benefit the rest of the American population and may even harm the planet over time (think of the Paris Climate Agreement), his chauvinistic behavior will perhaps make it impossible for him to achieve his goal of making America great again. There is still a lot of work left to be done. It is why women advocates try to make as much noise as they can to highlight these violations against women even though the struggle is real every single day.