Access to an inclusive quality education is a universal human right. When the inherent right to a good education is ignored or denied, the consequences are severe. For a girl in country of conflict or forced displacement, the impact is brutally multiplied.
Power is an intriguing concept and it means different things to different people. In simple words, power is the ability to influence the behavior of others to get what you want. Power distribution is usually visible in most societies when there is a clear and obvious division between the roles of the men and expectations from women. One can’t talk about power without talking about patriarchy - in which men always hold the power and women are largely excluded from it. Women are almost always taught power and ambition are two dirty words, and should not be linked to their personalities.
Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), and the theme for this year’s celebration is "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world."
We recognize the tremendous contribution and leadership demonstrated by women and girls around the world in shaping our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and a more sustainable future.
In times of crisis, policymakers have a tendency to prioritize economic recovery while leaving “social issues” like women’s empowerment on the backburner. During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, women’s leadership is as essential to full and meaningful recovery as it is to basic human rights. As the world mobilizes to design and build a post-COVID landscape, women’s rights, interests and priorities must not only be included in international recovery agendas but pushed to the forefront. To achieve this, women themselves must not simply be included in the discussion, but equitably represented in leadership roles.
Almost exactly a year ago today, I packed my computer and a couple of necessities in the office in New York, hugged the colleagues, and headed home to what most people thought would be a couple of week’s Covid-19 lockdown. Little did we know.
Among the greatest gifts with which I have been blessed were parents who instilled in me a deep-rooted sense of identity, and the unequivocal belief that there was no difference between what a boy and a girl could achieve.
This assurance sustained me while growing up, as the tenth child out of twelve wonderful siblings, and through the numerous times when it was suggested by others that I would never succeed, simply because I was black, poor and female.
International Women’s day 2021 heralds a particularly challenging time for women and girls. The Covid pandemic has battered our world to such an extent that we know that our lives have been irrevocably changed and has rolled back some of the gains we made in the human rights and gender equality field.
Today, despite centuries of activism and mobilisations, women and non-binary people continue to remain disadvantaged in almost every sphere – from “public life” to the “shadow pandemic” of gender-based violence.
International Women’s Day is always an occasion to celebrate strong women and an important day in the global calendar to highlight the gender injustices still lingering in every part of the world.
International Women's Day pays tribute to the achievements of women worldwide and reminds us what still needs to be done for full gender equality. In 2021, we are taking stock of the many ways in which COVID-19 has disproportionately affected women and girls around the world.
In 2020, progress on gender equality stalled or regressed
in many countries in large part because of the far-reaching impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent analysis
, by 2021, around 435 million girls and women will be living on less than $1.90 a day, including 47 million pushed into poverty as a result of the pandemic. Global lockdowns contributed to a surge of gender-based violence worldwide
, and estimates show that sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), the bedrock of gender equality, have been severely disrupted, resulting in an additional 49 million women
at risk of experiencing an unmet need for modern contraception. Our most pressing global issues have seldom been so daunting, and fault lines in existing social, political, and economic systems have never been so deep.
Marcela Loaiza was just 21 years old when a man approached her at her workplace in Pereira City, Colombia with promises of fame and money. The well-dressed, mysterious Colombian said he could give her an opportunity for a better life. Loaiza was also working at a supermarket to support herself and her three-and-a-half-year-old daughter.
During the COVID19 lockdown, there has been an approximate 25% increase in domestic abuse, dubbed by the United Nations as the ‘pandemic within a pandemic’. While the home is perceived as a secure place, for domestic abuse victims battling the pandemic is equally and increasingly unsafe. A parasol of protection is needed to rehabilitate victims of abuse starting from detection, reaching out, providing help and support.
Women living in rural India and those belonging to marginalised communities faced an enormous burden during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, including domestic violence, loss of financial assistance and income, says Rehana Adeeb, a grassroots Muslim woman leader and activist.
The bombing continues unabated. The explosions are heard in the distance. A family with seven children is cowering in fear in a corner of their shack, not daring to step out, dreading instant death from shrapnel or a sniper’s bullet.
The armed conflict in Yemen which has lasted six years, has killed and injured over thousands of civilians
, displaced more than one million people
and given rise to cholera outbreaks, medicine shortages and threats of famine. By the end of 2019, it is estimated that over 233,000
Yemenies have been killed as a result of fighting and the humanitarian crisis. With nearly two-thirds of its population requiring food assistance, Yemen is also experiencing the world's worst food security crisis
. The United Nations
has called the humanitarian crisis in Yemen “the worst in the world”.
How much is a girl worth? If you are Maja, the answer is a chicken, a six-pack of beer and 100 euros.
That is how much her family, living in a Roma settlement in Serbia, received in exchange for her hand “in marriage.” She was 11 years old at the time. “They benefited maybe a month from it, and I was left with a problem for my whole life,” Maja, now 18, said.
Over the years, Turkey has survived three Coup d'état in which its military forces took power, in 1960, 1971 and 1980. The coup in 1997, was carried out in a “post-modern way
”, where generals sat down with the then prime minister, Necmettin Erbakan and forced him to resign. However the turning point in Turkey has been the failed coup attempt in July 2016, which has till date been one of the bloodiest coup attempts in its political history
, leaving 241 people killed, and 2,194 others injured.
Survivors of female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C), are determined to share their stories to end this practice – even though they face ostracisation by their communities.
Masooma Ranalvi, an FGM/C survivor and founder of ‘WeSpeakOut’, an organisation committed to eliminating FGM/C or khafd/khafz/khatna
explains that FGM/C is practised by various communities in India but is prominently practised among the Dawoodi Bohras.
Violence, especially against women and girls, is a worldwide systematic human rights violation that has only increased since the COVID-19 pandemic. Globally, 243 million women and girls aged 15 to 49 have suffered sexual and/or physical violence by an intimate partner in the last year.
Internationally COVID-19 extracted a heavy toll on older people – raising concerns in the Asia Pacific region where more than half of the world’s ageing population live.