GLOBAL MISTREATMENT OF WOMEN

By Vincent Lyn

I was a girl in a land where rifles are fired in celebration of a son, while daughters are hidden away behind a curtain, their role in life simply to prepare food and give birth to children: Malala Yousafzai

While it’s true that women worldwide are seeing more opportunities than ever before, outlining the grim situations and environments that many women still face each day. For example, in Somalia, 95% of girls experience genital mutilation. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1,000 women are raped each day. Every day, 10 Brazilian women lose their lives to domestic violence. What’s more, a conspiracy of silence still exists around these issues because of many cultural norms. The silence of survivors, their families and friends, law enforcement, and other citizens, has enabled and fueled this violence and mistreatment. For example in India tough data to swallow shows that 90% of raped women in India know who their rapist is — but very few of these men are prosecuted.

Problems like these stem from the fact that women around the world are often not treated as equal human beings. Those in power stifle their rights, voices and ways to fight back. Many countries don’t even allow women to leave the home or receive education — places such as Afghanistan experience a 90% illiteracy rate among women. So, not only are women being victimized, when they try to stand up for themselves by using their own tools and power, they face extreme opposition and resistance.

One of the key obstacles women face is a lack of education. In many countries, education is granted only to men, denying women of their right to knowledge and leaving them in the continuing cycle of mistreatment, violence, and poverty. But when women are provided with education, they’re better equipped to make decisions for themselves, to obtain employment, and to gain new perspectives about gender equality and basic human rights. In Pakistan, they risk their lives speaking to women about their rights as human beings to be treated with respect and dignity. They have opened their own schools in the country, and now they are appealing to the men of Pakistan and engaging in dialogue about allowing women to be educated.

The image of the 21st century woman is confident, prosperous, glowing with health and beauty. But for many of the 3.3 billion female occupants of our planet, the perks of the cyber age never arrived. As International Women’s Day is celebrated every year, they continue to feel the age-old lash of violence, repression, isolation, enforced ignorance and discrimination. Many countries in the world women are victims of violence. There are numerous reports on the world’s worst countries for women of which I’m showing two. Firstly a survey conducted by The Thomson Reuters Foundation followed by the Global Citizen.

1. India

Tops the list of worst countries for women, due to the high risk of sexual violence and slave labor, according to a survey conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The world’s fastest growing economy is shamed for violence committed against women. A crime against a women is committed every three minutes. A women is raped every 29 minutes, a dowry death occurs every 77 minutes and one case of cruelty committed by either the husband or relative of the victim occurs every nine minutes. 50 million girls were killed in the past century in the practice of female infanticide or foeticide. Around 100 million women and girls are estimated to be victim of human trafficking; 44.5 percent of girls are married before the age of 18.

India ranked as the most dangerous country for women on three issues; Cultural traditions, sexual violence and human trafficking. Domestic violence in India is endemic and widespread predominantly against women. Around 70% of women in India are victims of violence includes; Rape, marital rapes, sexual assault and harassment, cultural and traditional practices, and human trafficking including forced labor, sex slavery and domestic servitude.

2. Afghanistan

Second in the list of worst countries for women in the world. In Afghanistan, women were stripped of their rights nearly 17 years after the overthrow of the Taliban. Gender-based violence is rampant, more than 80% of women are illiterate, and many die in childbirth.

The average Afghan girl will live to only 45 — one year less than an Afghan male. After three decades of war and repression, an overwhelming number of women remain illiterate in Afghanistan. Afghan girls are also discouraged, sometimes fatally, from seeking an education and Afghan rape victims can be forced, by law, to marry their attacker. More than half of all brides are under 16, and one women dies in childbirth every half an hour. A large majority, up to 85 percent, of women in Afghanistan give birth with no medical attention. It is the country with the highest maternal mortality rate in the world. Ranked as the worst country for women in three areas — non-sexual violence, access to healthcare, and access to economic resources. Also, according to the 2018 Women, Peace and Security Index, Afghanistan is the worst place to be a woman.

3. Syria

The civil war raging in Syria since 2011 shows no sign of abating. According to the BBC report, Syrian women were being sexually exploited in return for humanitarian aid. Ranked as third most dangerous country for women in terms of access to healthcare and both sexual and non-sexual violence. There are so many dangers for girls and women. The country is on the risks women face of sexual abuse. The executive director of Women Now For Development, Maria Al Abdeh said: “There is sexual violence by government forces. Domestic violence and child marriage are increasing and more women are dying in childbirth. The tragedy is nowhere near an end.”

4. Somalia

Somalia, where more than two decades of war has put women, who were the traditional ministry of the family, under attack. The war fueled a culture of violence. In Somalia, 95% of girls face genital mutilation mostly between the ages of 4 and 11. Only 7% of parliament seats are held by women. In addition, only 9% of women give birth in a health facility. Somalia, named fourth dangerous in terms of access to healthcare and for putting them at risk of harmful cultural and traditional practices. Also one of the worst countries for women in terms of having access to economic resources.

5. Saudi Arabia

The kingdom of Saudi is ranked fifth dangerous place in terms of economic access and discrimination, including in the workplace and in terms of property rights. According to Ahlam Akram, founder of British Arabs Supporting Universal Women’s Rights; “One of the worst laws that prevent women from having equal opportunities is guardianship — because every woman is subjected to a male guardian. She cannot get a passport, cannot travel, sometimes she cannot work,”.

6. Pakistan

Sixth most dangerous country for women in the world. In some tribal areas, women are gang raped as punishment for men’s crimes. But honor killing is more widespread, and a renewed wave of religious extremism is targeting female politicians, human rights workers and lawyers. Women are victims of violence and abuse, and the country still lacks a law against domestic violence. Last year the country saw around 1000 honor killings of women and girls, a practice that has been exported to the West. Pakistan is ranked amongst worst countries for women in terms of economic resources and discrimination as well as the risks women face from cultural, religious and traditional practices, including so-called honor killings. The country also ranked for non-sexual violence, including domestic abuse. In Pakistan, 90 percent of women experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.

7. Democratic Republic of Congo

After years of factional bloodshed and lawlessness, the country listed as seventh worst country for women as regards sexual violence. In the eastern DRC, a war that claimed more than 3 million lives has ignited again, with women on the front-line. Many others were victims of direct attacks and violence perpetrated by the warring parties or by rogue armed militias. Women in the Congo face especially harsh realities; around 1,100 are raped every day. Since 1996, more than 200,000 rapes have been reported in the country. 57% of pregnant women are anaemic; women can not sign legal documents without their husbands’ authorization.

8. Yemen

Eighth in the list of worst countries for women, due to the poor access to healthcare, economic resources, risk from cultural and traditional practices, and non-sexual violence. Due to the ongoing armed conflict in Yemen, Yemen is undergoing a humanitarian crisis worldwide with 22 million people in need of vital assistance. Also, women and girls have been left vulnerable to inhumane violence, physical and psychological abuse and exploitation.Yemen has been at civil war for three years after Houthi rebels backed by Iran seized much of the country, including the capital, Sana’a. But here is another thing that really matters: Yemen is one of the hungriest places in the world even hungrier. It is a famine-level humanitarian crisis, without the charity concerts.

9. Nigeria

Ranked as ninth worst country for women, with human rights groups accusing the country’s military of torture, rape and killing civilians during a nine-year fight against Boko Haram militants. Nigeria was also named world’s most dangerous country when it came to human trafficking and risks women face from traditional practices.

10. United States

The only western nation in the top 10 was the US, where women were most at risk of sexual violence, harassment, being coerced into sex and a lack of access to justice in rape cases. The survey came after the #MeToo campaign went viral last year, with thousands of women using the social media movement to share stories of sexual harassment or abuse. In addition, USA is at top position for rape crimes in the world.

Global Citizen report ranks 129 countries, representing 95% of the world, on a scale from 0–100, where 100 indicates complete achievement of gender equality across all areas of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including access to health, education, and clean water. A score of 59 or below on the scale indicates a substantial failure to establish gender equality when it comes to everything from education to energy resources to economic opportunity.

At the top of the list for gender equality across the board was Denmark with an overall score of 89.3, according to the report’s data. It was closely followed by a number of European countries, including Finland, Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands. The United Kingdom ranked 17th, while the United States came in at 28th and scored “fair,” tying with Bulgaria at a score of 77.6.

We are presently at a 9 year countdown since the establishment of the U.N SDGs finish line. Progress on the 17 goals has been closely monitored by the U.N, as well as participating governments, agencies, and organizations — and according to last year’s annual progress report, the world is not on track to meet these targets. Progress simply isn’t happening fast enough, especially for women. Experts say the world is behind target largely due to deadly conflict and climate change that have caused mass displacement and a rise in world hunger.

Still, no country scored 90 or above, considered “excellent,” meaning every country still has aspects of gender equality in which progress is needed.

Here is the full list of the top 10 best countries to be a woman, along with their individual scores:

  1. Denmark (89.3)
  2. Finland (88.8)
  3. Sweden (88.0)
  4. Norway (87.7)
  5. Netherlands (86.8)
  6. Slovenia (86.5)
  7. Germany (86.2)
  8. Canada (85.8)
  9. Ireland (85.4)
  10. Australia (85.2)

The countries that fell to the bottom of the list, indicating severe inequality for women across progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, are:

  1. Chad (33.4)
  2. DR Congo (38.2)
  3. Congo (44.0)
  4. Yemen (44.7)
  5. Niger (44.9)
  6. Mauritania (45.0)
  7. Mali (46.0)
  8. Nigeria (46.1)
  9. Liberia (47.3)
  10. Sierra Leone (47.6)

While there is still much work to be done, the recorded progress in gender equality around the world — overall and by sub-issue area — allows for continued hope that the journey to 2030 will bring about a better world for girls and women.

Vincent Lyn

CEO/Founder at We Can Save Children

Director of Creative Development at African Views Organization

Economic & Social Council at United Nations

Middle East Correspondent at Wall Street News Agency

Rescue & Recovery Specialist at International Confederation of Police & Security Experts

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Vincent Lyn

Vincent Lyn

CEO-We Can Save Children. Director Creative Development-African Views Organization, ECOSOC at United Nations. International Human Rights Commission (IHRC)