2017 has been a signature year for women and their rights. Movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp saw women from all walks of life coming together on a global scale. These women broke their silence against sexual harassment and gained countless support in doing so. As we step into the first quarter of 2018, it is an opportunity to applaud and support the struggle and courage of women worldwide. The UN commission’s 62nd theme for women’s day is -Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives. In the light of this theme, let us glimpse at how these agents of change are fighting for women’s rights across the world.
The rural contribution in fighting for women’s rights
Rural women make up for 25% of the global population. As such, it will be extremely erroneous on our part to not consider rural women’s empowerment. Rural women have long been excluded in this fight for women’s right. But not anymore. In 2012, the Baha’I International Community (BIC) issued a statement in United Nation’s 56th Commission on the Status of Women. According to this statement, the BIC spoke about three important steps that the world must take while fighting for women’s rights.
The BIC talked about access to knowledge, informed participation in decision-making and uniform distribution of goods and services. These three steps are crucial in transforming women’s lives in the rural areas of the world. As we enter 2018, it is upto us to transform these statements into practice. Moreover, rural women’s empowerment rests upon immediate and impactful actions. 2018 seems all ready to welcome just that.
How is social media transforming women’s lives?
Social media is the reason why the world is now a tangled web- no longer is each part of the world distant from the other. Social media has helped women’s movements go viral. Now, more than ever, women are connected to women. Experiences are shared. Traumas are talked about. Female isolation doesn’t exist anymore.
Social media is also aiding in rural women’s empowerment. Rural women are no longer cut off from the urban world, thanks to digital social platforms. The urban world, on the other hand, can also get a glimpse of rural women’s conditions. Social media has played a crucial role in transforming women’s lives– be it rural or urban.
Law and law-making becomes inclusive of women in 2018
Come 2018 – women are fighting for women’s rights. Gradually, they are carving out their own space in politics in law. While a record 22,000 women in the US ran for offices this year, women in Saudi Arabia are finally getting to steer the wheel of their cars as well as their lives. King Salman issued a decree, lifting the driving ban imposed on Saudi Arabian women. The statement will come into effect from 24th June, 2018.
Abortions are illegal in Ireland. The country places the right of life of an unborn child on par with that of its mother. However, after much contesting and campaigning by women, Ireland is going to hold a referendum on abortion by next year.
Britain is transforming women’s lives economically. The British government has passed a rule, whereby the companies in the UK, with 250 or more employees, have to declare the gender wage gap by April of this year.
Fighting for women’s rights does not necessarily entail shouting at the top of the lungs from a rooftop. Sometimes, transforming women’s lives require a more subtle approach. Politics and law are just two of those approaches.
How is 2018 the year of the women?
In 2017, Donald Trump took over the American Presidency. Since then, situations for women in the US only seem to be going downhill. First, there were debates about Planned Parenthood. Then came a slash on the legal and medical benefits. The worst was yet to follow. Towards the end of 2017, reports on sexual harassment exploded. Women began to speak up for their own bodies. All of these have been overwhelming not only for the women but also for many men.
This resulted in women being more articulate, determined and dedicated towards their cause than ever before. 2018 saw how women slided from the sidelines to the mainstream and raised their voices against issues that matter the most to them. In practice, numerous women ran for offices, and in a shocking turn of events, they won.
Moreover, millions of humans across the world are now fighting for women’s rights. Women themselves have stepped out on the streets. They march and protest so that the world can hear them. Once they speak against the injustice, the world has no choice but to listen. Merriam Webster has declared ‘feminism’ as the word of the year. 2018 is already a watershed year for women all over the world. However, the best is yet to come.