Although there is still much progress to be made in British society concerning women’s rights, it’s easy to be blinkered to the fact that around the globe, Feminism is manifested differently in different cultures. In Argentina, it’s reproductive rights, with 500,000 illegal abortions carried out every year and women pushing for a bill to be pushed through Argentina legalising abortion. Indiais the most dangerous country in the world to be a woman, with women fighting against sexual violence, human trafficking and discrimination to name a few. In the Western world, it is the #MeToo movement, which shone a light on workplace harassment and the authority that some men hold over women.
Equality is something that women demand. However, it is a slow and arduous path to get there. Women are fighting against multiple grievances: Violence against Women and Girls, against sexual harassment, for reproductive rights, against objectification, against stalking, against the gender wage gap, for equality in the workplace, for maternal and infant health care, for parental leave, for better child care, against human trafficking, for better mental health provisions, for access to education, against discrimination, and for the right to breastfeed (to name just a few!).
We need feminism because FGM still occurs. We need feminism because infanticides still occur because of the gender of the baby. Women’s rights is an issue that affects everyone, not just women. It is also an issue that will benefit the whole of society once women’s rights progresses.
Violence against women and girls is an epidemic. 120 million girls worldwide have experienced forced sexual acts. 38% of murders of women worldwide are committed by a male partner. In some countries, domestic violence is not yet considered a crime! Morocco has introduced a law to combat violence against women, which is great news, but some state which does not go far enough to protect women. Educating societies, and especially men, to treat women and girls with respect and with equality is the first step to ensuring equality for all and the safety of women and girls from violence.
Many of these issues compound and affect women and girls not just physically, but mentally too. Mental health is an issue that affects men at a much higher rate than women. However, the rate of suicide among women and girls is rising. In the UK, the number of young women and girls committing suicide has more than doubled in the last five years. Suicide and mental health must be tackled head-on, or more men and women will lose their lives to pressures that can be inhibited.
At JAN Trust we believe that the global fight for women’s rights is essential and the myriad of ways women are oppressed across the world needs to be recognised. We cater to women that come from many different countries, cultures, and speak many different languages and so have many various issues. We have users who have suffered from domestic abuse and forced marriages, mental health issues, as well as experiencing discrimination because of their gender and religion. We find this unacceptable and work to empower these women so that they can overcome as many barriers as they can in order to live freely and independently.
To find out more about our work, go to www.jantrust.org.