I AM Present

I AM Present

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Being Born A Woman...

We still live in a world where, when women exert and express their own personal power, they are often met with resentment (mostly by men!) and subtle dismissive, put downs. Sometimes the male respondent's viewpoint is disguised in clever academic-speak in debates or via other means in the workplace.
And that's still the regular response, along with a tendency to ignore the woman's contribution in many Western countries (if she's fortunate enough to have been accepted into the 'boys club' in the first instance, that is). And more so when discussions on gender issues arise.

Some men will even try to find hidden, sinister meanings behind why 'feminist agendas' exist. The subject is usually a great button-pusher for many men in conversation - revealing in itself! Just so that that programming/meme about women being lesser than men, existing to serve men, etc, is kept psychologically-intact in the minds and emotions of both genders.
These responses often turn out to be a thinly-veiled disguise for their own personal feelings of unacknowledged misogyny.

In these countries listed below - the most dangerous ones to be born a woman today -no subtlety of language or mind manipulation between the genders need exist. Because this is the way men are culturally given permission and free reign to their true feelings about women.

It's a not-so-gentle reminder of exactly WHY the pure hearts of such organisations/individuals need to continue to exist. May all the strength by with each of them for their varied and courageous stands to speak out and intervene on behalf of these sisters everywhere. Including the ones in our own backyards.


Afghanistan is most dangerous country for women
'Continuing conflict, NATO airstrikes and cultural practices combine to make Afghanistan a very dangerous place for women'

Owen Bowcott
Afghanistan deadliest spot for women
The New York Times, Jun. 15, 2011: Women live perilously in many developing countries today, but on top of the list is Afghanistan, the experts said, with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, minimal access to basic health care and education and scarcely any economic rights for women and girls. Eighty-seven percent of Afghan women are illiterate and one in 11 dies in childbirth, Unicef estimates. As many as 8 in 10 face forced marriages. (Photo: Getty Images/Paula Bronstein)

LONDON: Targeted violence against female public officials, dismal healthcare and desperate poverty make Afghanistan the world's most dangerous country in which to be born a woman, a new global survey shows.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India and Somalia feature in descending order after Afghanistan in the list of the five worst countries, the poll among gender experts shows.

The appearance of India, a country rapidly developing into an economic superpower, was unexpected. It is ranked as hazardous because of the subcontinent's high level of female infanticide and sex trafficking.

Others were less surprised to be on the list. Told of Somalia's inclusion, its Women's Minister, Maryan Qasim, said: ''I thought Somalia would be first on the list, not fifth.''

The survey has been compiled by the Thomson Reuters Foundation to mark the launch of a website, TrustLaw Woman, aimed at providing free legal advice for women's groups around the world.

High maternal mortality rates, limited access to doctors and a ''near total lack of economic rights'' render Afghanistan such a threat to its female inhabitants.

''Continuing conflict, NATO airstrikes and cultural practices combine to make Afghanistan a very dangerous place for women,'' said Antonella Notari, the head of Women Change Makers, a group that supports women social entrepreneurs around the world.

''Women who do attempt to speak out or take on public roles that challenge ingrained gender stereotypes of what is acceptable for women to do or not, such as working as policewomen or news broadcasters, are often intimidated or killed.''

The ''staggering levels of sexual violence'' in the lawless east of the Democratic Republic of Congo account for its second place in the list. One recent US study claimed that more than 400,000 women are raped there each year.

''Rights activists say militia groups and soldiers target all ages, including girls as young as three and elderly women,'' the survey reports.

Pakistan is ranked third on the basis of cultural, tribal and religious practices harmful to women. ''These include acid attacks, child and forced marriage and punishment or retribution by stoning or other physical abuse,'' the poll finds.

The reproductive health adviser at the International HIV/Aids Alliance, Divya Bajpai, said: ''Pakistan has some of the highest rates of dowry murder, so-called honour killings and early marriage.''

Pakistan's human rights commission says about 1000 women and girls die in honour killings annually.

India is the fourth most dangerous country. ''India's central bureau of investigation estimated that in 2009 about 90 per cent of trafficking took place within the country and that there were some 3 million prostitutes, of which about 40 per cent were children,'' the survey finds.

Forced marriage and forced labour trafficking add to the dangers for women. ''Up to 50 million girls are thought to be 'missing' over the past century due to female infanticide and foeticide,'' the UN Population Fund said, because parents prefer to have boys rather than girls.

Somalia suffers high levels of maternal mortality, female genital mutilation and limited access to education and healthcare.

Ms Qasim added: ''The most dangerous thing a woman in Somalia can do is to become pregnant … There are no hospitals, no healthcare, no nothing.

''Add to that the rape cases that happen on a daily basis, and female genital mutilation being done to every single girl in Somalia. Add to that famine and drought. Add to that the fighting [which means] you can die any minute, any day.''

The survey was based on responses from more than 200 specialists chosen for their expertise in gender issues.

Read more: http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/2011/06/15/afghanistan-deadliest-spot-for-women.html#ixzz2ZHyEikob