Rights women still don't have
Five major challenges facing women of the world today.
March is Women’s History Month. As the women of America look back to celebrate how significantly their rights have progressed, here’s a look around the globe at five of the major challenges still faced in other nations.
Land rights. Women produce nearly half of the food grown in the developing world, yet have severely limited rights regarding land ownership, inheritance and access to farmland. Through most of Africa and South Asia, land and housing can be secured only through male relatives — leaving millions of women landless and homeless following a divorce or the death of a husband. In Kenya, more than 25 percent of women living in slums have migrated from rural homes after being dispossessed of land they lived on. Land rights impact health, nutrition and the general well-being of families. Child malnutrition levels are estimated to be 60 percent above average where women lack the right to land ownership and 85 percent above average where they have no access to credit for financing land cultivation or ownership.
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Right to free speech. Women in many regions of China face education discrimination, pay inequality and underrepresentation in government. But raising one’s voice against inequity can be dangerous. Amnesty International has reported on the plight of Mao Hengfeng, a women’s rights activist who has championed housing rights and reproductive rights. In November 2012, Hengfeng was sentenced to a labor camp — a “re-education through labor” for “disturbing social order.” She was returned home earlier this month, in poor health, due to widespread campaigns calling for her release.
Right to vote in national elections. A hundred years ago only two countries in the world, New Zealand and Australia, allowed women to vote. Today the formal right to vote is nearly universal. However, the formal right does not always translate to freedom to vote, nor to vote in national elections, nor to participate in politics. Saudi Arabia is one of the last nations to have empowered women with a vote of any kind; the reformist King Abdullah granted women the right to vote in municipal elections in September of 2011. (NB: The right to vote is limited for both men and women in the United Arab Emirates). See the United Nations' timeline of women’s suffrage here.
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Right to reproductive health services. More than half a million women and girls die each year due to complications related to pregnancy. An additional 70,000 die annually from unsafe abortions, many as a result of illegal procedures. Millions more are maimed or injured. According to the Feminist Majority Foundation, only 14 percent of Afghan women receive skilled medical attention during pregnancy or childbirth.
Freedom from violence. Violence against women and girls is the most pervasive violation of human rights in the world today. According to UNICEF's last report, roughly 60 million women who should be alive today are ‘missing’ because of gender discrimination, predominantly in South and West Asia, China and North Africa.
Primary sources: UN Millennium Project, Commission on Sustainable Development, GlobalIssues.org, Landesa, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Amnesty International, Feminist Majority Foundation, UNICEF
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Photo: An Afghan woman is examined in the maternity ward of a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan / Natalie Behring/Getty Images
Anyone thinking that you can change 2,000 years of religious rule is an idiot. The rest of the world is NOT America and does not have things like the Bill of Right or even a Constitution. Nor should anyone be forcing "America" type ideals on other countries. It is not a RIGHT to force your views on others. These countries will change over time on their own. If they don't they will become extinct, just like the dinosaurs.
We need to stop trying to change the world and work on our own problems like homeless Vets, fat cat politicians,jobs,corruption,etc.
We can only change the world after we become a model to the people that live here now.
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