All posts filed under: Gender Equality

Women are our Best Support Group

The other day I overheard a group of women talking about something they’d seen on social media. A woman they all knew had reported a sexual assault she had suffered earlier that night on her Facebook page.  She had claimed a man, who the group of women were all acquainted with, had inappropriately grabbed her in a local night club. Immediately, the women started accusing the girl of being intoxicated, because she had posted her message early in the morning. They said that because of this she had no credibility, and they claimed the encounter she described was not even remotely close to what they considered to be sexual assault. They also criticized the fact that she was willing to humiliate the man through social media. While I sat there listening to their unbelievable lack of empathy, I started thinking about gender congruence amongst women in Mexico.  One out of three women worldwide will experience some sort of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. I want to emphasize how important this issue is; these numbers are rising as I write. So, if you read the event …

Does International Women’s Day Deserve to be an Official Ukrainian Holiday?

8th March, for most in the world, marks an average day.  International Women’s Day (IWD) is often acknowledged but not truly celebrated. It’s mentioned on the news or acknowledged by a local women’s non-governmental organizations, but it could easily be missed if you’re not looking for it. In Ukraine, as well as many other countries of the former USSR, International Women’s Day is widely celebrated. From little girls to older ladies, each and every woman is given flowers and cards to celebrate. But in the months leading up to the 2017 celebration of IWD, public opinion and debate have shifted. The Ukrainian Institute of National Memory published a bill which proposed the removal of International Workers’ Day (May 1-2) as well as International Women’s Day (March 8) from the list of official state holidays. To understand why anyone would propose the removal of IDW, you must first understand the history. The holiday first appeared in the United States and was organized by the Socialist Party of America to commemorate the strike of the International Ladies Garment Workers. On 22 November …

The Gender Boundaries Imposed on Children in India

Many children worldwide have grown up playing with Barbie dolls and Transformers. You can perhaps guess which children played with which toys. From the time of our birth we are taught the ways in which males and females should conduct themselves. Why does society enforce such restrictions from the moment a child is born? Too often, our society sees men as the working hand of the family and women as the caretakers of homes. Both put in equal effort and time but the work done by women is not really considered “work”. It is a common fact that working women are paid less than their male counterparts. Many parents invariably end up buying toys and clothes – pink for the girls and blue for the boys – based on prevalent and enforced gender notions. Mine did too. Why is that only girls can have pink and only boys can have blue things? Both are equally beautiful colors! So why is it that society laughs at a boy wearing a pink shirt? “Don’t lift that, it’s too heavy.” Most girls have heard something like this …

The Young Women of the Ukrainian Government

The Ukrainian Revolution of 2014, also known as the Euromaidan Revolution, induced a widespread series of changes to the sociopolitical systems of Ukraine. This self-organized revolution was focused on ensuring closer ties to the European Union while also working to dispel corruption within Ukraine, starting with the removal and exiling of Ukraine’s president at the time, Viktor Yanukovych. One of the most significant changes was the installation of a new government filled a great number of inexperienced and idealistic youth. But as time progressed it became clear that the criticism faced by these young politicians and bureaucrats has fallen mainly on the women holding these positions of power. The question for Ukraine is how it will handle the upheaval of its traditionally male-dominated political landscape? In Mid-November 2016, 24-year old Anastasia Deeva was appointed to the position of Deputy Minister of the Interior, becoming the youngest person to hold a post of a Deputy Minister in Ukraine. The decision by Arsen Avakov, Minister of Interior, to appoint the young 24-year old to such a high level …

Equality Must Start Early

Blog post written by Lisa Öhman, intern at the Girl Child Platform Many of us would agree that gender equality must begin in early ages, but why is this so important? The Swedish School Inspection has now presented a report of their review of preschools’ work with equality. The purpose of this review was to see if girls and boys are given the same opportunities to try and develop abilities and interests without being limited by stereotypical gender roles. Research and investigations have previously shown that if there is a lack of a conscious equality work then stereotypical gender roles can be strengthened instead of being made visible and questioned. The conclusion of the review was that the Preschool policy on gender equality is not clear or defined, and can thus not be used effectively. It is imperative that equality is worked with consciously in preschools through a girl perspective – by which we mean that girls have limited possibilities to live a life free from discrimination and the conviction that this must change – because …

The Women Marched. Now What?

London. Miami. Nairobi. New York. Tokyo. All over the world, women (and men!) took over the streets of their cities to join in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, which took place on the day after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. 21 January 2017 It was a day when history was made. My social media and news feeds were flooded with articles, pictures, videos and comments about the women’s marches around the world. It’s impressive the reach that these marches had – literally on every continent – and I truly believe this fact cannot be belittled or ignored. The marches brought together people from different age groups and backgrounds, although the fact remains that some indigenous, women of color and other minorities felt left out and divided from the white majority that attended the marches. Important issues of the intersection between gender, race, class and religion were brought up during the marches, which amplifies their significance and relevance. However, for the goals of the marches to become reality and …

This is What Democracy Looks Like

I started the morning bright and early at 6:40 and headed to Washington D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington. The metro was packed with chatty passengers wearing pink hats, carrying signs and snapping pictures. Every time a new group of riders boarded the train erupted with cheering. The excitement was contagious, and we all cheered and clapped are way to D.C. They called it the Women’s March but it was evident that it was everyone’s march. We were all there, and everyone had a message to deliver, whether through song, chant, cheer or shouting. And we delivered those messages – with Love, Faith and Courage. Some called themselves Nasty Women, nasty like Rosa, Condoleezza, Sonia, Malala, Michelle and Hillary, while others simply stated they were PISSED OFF. Regardless of the countless voices that were represented in Washington D.C. on January 21, 2017 we all stood together for equality. So if you ask me what Democracy looks like, this is it – An inclusive, reflective representation of all kinds of voices and stories.    

My Attempts at Facilitating Change in Rural India

In my final year of medical school, as I was reading a chapter on Maternal and Child Health, I came across a table of mortality rates elaborating the health status of mothers and children of my country. They were dismal and though I could see that progress had been made, to my 20 year old brain, it seemed insufficient and too slow to be accepted. After all, these were lives and not just numbers! The rural-urban difference made the figures look worse. I was restless. How could I bridge this gap? I reasoned – a woman was the base of the society’s pyramid and if I could do something to strengthen her I could attempt to address this gap. I was also convinced that since most of India’s population lived in rural areas, in order to make a significant impact, I should focus on rural areas. Though I had been reared in a city and had never seen what a village looked like, I was ready to learn along the way. Itching to materialise this dream, …

I Survived for a Reason

By an anonymous writer from Afghanistan My parents wanted a son, My birth disappointed them. A few weeks after I was born, My grandfather was killed. My mother thought I was bad luck. When I was 6 years old, Our neighbor’s boy sexually harassed me. I spent my childhood in fear. The Taliban closed my school, They ruined my best days. I was unable to go out without my father, brother, and a burqa, Like a prisoner in my own home for six years. My body was a sin to them. They attacked our home a few times because we were Shia Muslim. They beat my parents and brother in front of me. They hanged my mother’s two young cousins from a tree. Deprived of their own humanity, they dehumanized the rest of us. I had my first marriage proposal at the age of 10. I saw my cousins getting married at the age of 12, 13, and 14, While still children, they had to become mothers. I felt sorry for them and wanted to …