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Why Women Matter

February 26, 2010

This post is a part of the Blog for International Women’s Day BLOG

One women dies every minute of every day because of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. About 75 million children who should be in primary school are not, and at least 55 percent of those – nearly 41 million children – are girls (all statistics via CARE). In the U.S., HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death among black women aged 25-34 years (via cdc.gov). Around the world, women and children are more susceptible to HIV/AIDS than men (via thebody.com). Women are more poor than men in most parts of the world (via globalissues.org).

Those are just a handful of issues of why women are still not equal to men. Many people in the U.S. think that women are already equal to men, especially in developed countries in the U.S. But this is not so. As Jessica Valenti writes in the Washington Post, “For women in America, equality is still an illusion:”

There is so much more work to be done. The truth is, most women don’t have the privilege of being able to look at gender justice from a distance; they have no choice but to live it every day. Those of us who are lucky enough not to have to think about sexism, racism, poverty and homophobia on a daily basis — those of us who have the privilege of sending money to an international cause via e-mail while ignoring the plight of women here at home — have a responsibility to open our eyes to the misogyny right in front of us. And then to stop it.

If gender inequality did not exist in the world, then we wouldn’t be talking about these things:

“Nicaragua’s Abortion Ban Is Inhumane and Backward” (via Politics Daily)

or this…

Female asylum seekers: fast-tracked unfairness” (via new Statesman)

Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre near Bedford (U.K.), where all the women undergoing the fast-track processing have been held. Image credit: Getty Images

or this…

DUBAI: British woman jailed after reporting rape says she was forced to drop charges (via L.A. Times blog)

or this…

The “Transvestite of Directors”: A Backlash Against Kathryn Bigelow? (via Jezebel)

from Jezebel

…just to name a few.

Unfortunately, we have not successfully reached a point where we are post-sexism. We experience sexism, whether man or woman, in our everyday lives, whether we are from the U.S. or from Morocco. And I’m afraid that it will continue to exist for a very long time.

That being said, though, feminism and other women’s rights movements and organizations have made tremendous strides: for example, this, this, and this.

Men have also played an important role in fighting for gender equity–so let’s not count them out.

Let’s continue to fight against sexism and for women’s rights around the world. We can do this by reading the news and blogs that talk about women’s rights and we can tell our friends about them. We can go to rallies and protests. We can volunteer for an organization that helps women. We can write to our local Congressperson, and we can put down our thoughts and opinions on a blog.

After all, if  feminism were dead, we wouldn’t still be talking about why women aren’t equal.

——-

Blog for International Women’s Day [IWD] is Monday, March 8. We’re asking bloggers to answer the following questions:

  • What does “equal rights for all” mean to you?
  • Would you describe a particular organization, person, or moment in history that helped to mobilize a meaningful change in equal rights for all?

To participate in this inaugural event, go to http://genderacrossborders.com/blogforiwd/sign-up. If you’re a Tweeter, you can answer these questions, too! Just remember to use the hashtag #BlogforIWD.

If you have any questions about Blog for IWD, contact info@genderacrossborders.com. Thanks!

2 Comments
  1. March 1, 2010 9:37 am

    Great discussion of the various issues in play for feminists and marginalized communities the worldwide. One important point that needs to be corrected, though, is that the statistic is that HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death for black women (including African American women) aged 25–34 years, not African American women overall. This certainly does not mitigate the seriousness of the epidemic for women of color, but it is a very significant distinction.

    • March 1, 2010 10:09 am

      You are correct, thanks very much for pointing that out! It’s been changed.

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