Feminism, sexism, and gender gap are all hot topics right now. People are striving to understand and act on bridging the gender gap and lowering discrimination against women. Developed countries like The United States of America are slowly, but surely improving the image of women. Constantly we come across articles about gender issues, domestic violence against women, and sexism in general in the U.S. Admitting that there is an issue is the first step in solving a problem. However, there are countries in the world that are facing a bigger problem and are fighting for the most basic rights.
Women in these third world countries are fighting a bigger battle: to simply stay alive and walk alone without being raped. In fact, many women have been fighting for the most basic rights before she is even born. Some countries do not value a baby girl, as much as they value a boy. Therefore, these girls are being denied the right to live before they even get a glimpse of the world. Female feticide is an issue many third world countries face.
So while you or someone you know is fighting for equal pay in the workplace, there are women in other countries who are simply fighting for the right to stay alive. Some gender discriminations are given more light than others. There are stories that are far worse and too crucial to dismiss.
Many Afghan girls are illiterate and are discouraged to seek education and build a prosperous future for themselves. Many girls are also denied the right to choose their partner or even if they want to marry; many are forced into marriage. According to Wonderlist, “more than half of all brides are under 16, and one woman dies in childbirth every half an hour. A large majority, up to 85 percent, of women in Afghanistan give birth with no medical attention.” Hence, Afghanistan has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world.
There are famous stories of gang rape in India (such as the Delhi gang rape), which exemplify that women face dire issues when walking or even riding a bus. In addition, domestic violence is a constant in India.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau and Wonderlist, “a crime against a women is committed every three minutes, a women is raped every 29 minutes, a dowry death occurs every 77 minutes and one case of cruelty committed by either the husband or relative of the victim occurs every nine minutes.”
A female is also discriminated against when in the womb. Female feticide is popular in India. Reports say there have been about 50 million cases of female feticide over the last three decades. In India, a female may be considered a burden because when she is to marry, her parents are required to pay a dowry to the groom’s family. This is one of reasons why female feticide is so common in India; whereas, having a boy is considered an investment of some sort to the family.
Child marriages are every day “normal” rituals in Somalia. But child marriages are the least of their worries. Many women in Somalia have to deal with genital mutilation, and mostly between the ages of four to 11. The idea behind female genital mutilation is to keep the woman “pure” until marriage.
Some women in Pakistan face violent issues such as rape, “honor” killings, domestic abuse, acid attacks, and forced marriage. According to the 2014 World Report, “there have been several thousand ‘honor’ killings in Pakistan in the past decade, with hundreds reported in 2013. Provisions of the Islamic Qisas and Diyat law that allow the next of kin to ‘forgive’ the murderer in exchange for monetary compensation remain in force and continue to be used by offenders to escape punishment.”
About 1,000 girls die in “honor” killings annually, according to the Pakistani Human Rights Commission. It’s a staggering amount and must be brought to people’s attention.
The Democratic Republic of Congo estimates about 1,150 women who are raped daily, which would total about 420,000 a year. Women in Congo are not even allowed to sign legal documents without their husbands’ consent and authorization.
These severe and dehumanizing acts against women must be brought to attention and acted on. Sexism and discrimination is not simply occurring in countries like the U.S., it is happening in far worse ways in other countries as well. Basic rights, such as the right to live, the right to marry when one is ready and to whom they want, the right to keep their genitals in tact, the right to walk without being raped…these are rights that every human is entitled to.