Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sidelining Egyptian Women after the Uprising

by Widney Brown

Other Words

March 7, 2011

A century ago, more than a million people marched in streets across Europe on the first International Women's Day. They called for an end to discrimination and for women to have the same rights as men to work, vote, and shape their countries' futures.

A hundred years later, women across the globe are still much more likely than men to be poor and illiterate. We earn only one-tenth of the world's income for doing two-thirds of the work. Women produce up to 80 percent of the food in developing countries, but own only 1 percent of the land in those nations.

In many countries, we're still told what we can do and even what we can wear. Women in Saudi Arabia, Chechnya, and Iran face harassment if they don't observe conservative religious dress codes. Muslim women in France and some parts of Spain now break the law there if they don traditional attire.

Women campaigning for their liberation are often met with derision, abuse, or worse. In Russia, the Philippines, the Ivory Coast, Mexico, and Nepal, leading activists have recently been murdered for speaking out. In China, Bangladesh, India, Zimbabwe, and many other countries, they are routinely detained and tortured.

Tragically, the international community largely ignores these facts. Women's inequality is treated as a regrettable but inevitable reality.