International Women’s Day: 100 years of fighting for equality

Women marching

Today marks the 100th year of International Women’s Day. Since the early 1900s, women have been fighting for equal rights and respect. Without the hard work of feminists, women still wouldn’t be able to vote or work and would still be treated like second-class citizens compared to men.

Unfortunately, in some parts of the world, this is still a reality for many women. In parts of India, the pressure to have a boy is so intense, that 7,000 female foetuses are aborted every day. Others are abandoned, starved or thrown away after birth.

In Pakistan, women are subjected to acid attacks if they refuse a marriage proposal. Throughout the world, women are still forced into arranged marriages and sometimes tricked by their own family. If they escape, they are disowned or sometimes killed.

Every year, over 70 million girls are deprived of even a basic education, and 60 million are sexually assaulted on their way to school.

Women are responsible for two-thirds of work done worldwide but only earn 10% of the annual income and 1% of the property.

You may think equality isn’t something to worry about in the UK. But in 2011, men are still likely to earn more money, even in the same job.  Men have a better chance of entering political office or becoming a company director. A man is less likely to be judged for promiscuous behavior and little chance of falling victim to sexual assault.

Over 30,000 women in the UK loose their jobs annually, for falling pregnant. A man has no such worries if he becomes a parent.

One in four women are subject to domestic violence, and in the UK, two women die every week as a result.

While many think the fight is over for women, there is no room for complacency or taking our rights for granted. Throughout the world, women are still fighting for basic human rights and women around the world need to group together and support them. Many women don’t consider themselves feminist, or feel it is relevant to them, but would you want to live in a world with no human rights? To live in constant fear of abuse? And no chance of freedom and independence?

Think again girls, we’ve come a long way, but there’s still battles to fight yet.

About Stacey Cosens