An eleven year old girl has just been sold to her neighbour. A fourteen year old is pregnant for the second time after being raped by the same man. A nine year old child has just married a fighter. A young woman has just been ‘honour killed’ by her family. If this was happening near you, there wouldn’t be a soul who didn’t hear the story. Yet this is going unnoticed simply because it isn’t happening on our soil. Map coordinates should not change the validity of horror stories like these, so why do they?
These horrendous injustices constantly lead me to question why today, I have a roof over my head, food on my plate and love in the hearts of those who surround me, when a girl just like me is being abused today, and every day for the rest of her life.
In Sudan, a woman can be sentenced to flogging or death by stoning for being raped outside of marriage. In Mali, most women are married before their eighteenth birthday, and almost all of them will experience some degree of genital mutilation. These vile examples of the oppression of womanhood are a dangerous reality for far too many women around the world.
In our society, women are often told to ‘cover up’ to prevent unwanted attention. Although this concept is unfair in itself, hiding one’s body doesn’t make a difference in many parts of the world. In fact, in Sudan women are flogged simply for wearing trousers. It seems that the cyclical persecution of women is perversely inescapable. What is it that makes young British women more deserving of respect and equal treatment than someone born on different turf?
In Yemen, of 301 parliamentarians, no more than three have been female at any one time. It’s no wonder why Yemen has been voted by the WEF, as the worst nation for educational and economic equality every year since 2006. Recently it was revealed that Hollywood’s leading actress, Jennifer Lawrence, is earning an average of 18 million dollars less than her male equivalent. In the first world, organisations and feminist movements are battling for equal pay – a perfectly valid cause – but what about the women in the likes of Pakistan who earn over 80% less than their male equivalents? This sexism will never end if something isn’t done.
There are some wonderful organisations working every day to change the lives of people who suffer like this. Amnesty International have a campaign dedicated to improving the lives of women around the world, by providing them with fundamental human rights. Similarly, foundations such as The Girl Project are working hard to put every young female into education.
As human beings, we have a collective responsibility to change the world for the better.
Let's do it.
Published by Meg Edwards