The expression the more things change, the more things stay the same often seems to have ominous undertones. When it comes to women’s rights in the year 2014, clearly there has been massive progress since the suffrage movement but the eerie comparisons to the oppressive past are still all too common.
Fciwomenswrestling.com has reported on the areas of concern; FCI articles, Jan 23, 2014 “For Millions No Marriage”; Dec 24, 2013 “Homeless Female Vets”; Nov 12, 2013 “Water Is Miles Away”; September 23, 2013 “Women’s Rights Malawi” and more.
Dignified, fully competitive female wrestling is a growing global sport and we try and keep a bird’s eye view on how women are being affected around this ever changing molten mass of civilization.[alert_red] Let us please travel to areas of focus in 2014. [/alert_red]
The New York Times reported Hillary Rodham Clinton continued her tour of speaking engagements and events related to women’s rights with a panel discussion at the United Nations in New York.
Looking as if she were still secretary of state addressing the United Nations in an official capacity, Mrs. Clinton used the venue to explain her new “No Ceilings” initiative with the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, an effort designed to use data to measure improvements in women and girls issues globally.
“When it comes to fighting poverty, improving public health or ending hunger, we have learned that investing in women and girls and creating more opportunities for participation in the economy can make all the difference,” Mrs. Clinton said. “Just as women’s rights are human rights, women’s progress is human progress,” she added.
The group www.dw.de shares women’s rights in Afghanistan are under threat, especially as foreign troops prepare to leave.
Since the fall of the Taliban regime, Afghan women’s rights have expanded significantly. Under the constitution, gender equality is protected and women are free to seek education and work. Today we have women serving in different positions in the government, ranging from ministers to police officers. There are also many women running their own businesses and millions of girls are back in school.
Moreover, rape has been criminalized for the first time under the Elimination of Violence against Women Decree (EVAW). There are a lot of achievements that we are proud of, but unfortunately these gains are not sustainable and they are still contested every day.
There is no clear idea of what will happen to women’s rights after 2014, as it is still unclear who will form the next government and whether the national security forces will be able to protect the country. Everyday women become more and more scared and concerned because not only are the troops withdrawing, but also the funds are diminishing, leading to a lack of jobs.
The long-time well respected magazine nationalgeographic.com adds; a proposed new law in Afghanistan remains a threat to women in a society where 87 percent have experienced violence and only 2 percent own land. An Afghan law that protects perpetrators of domestic violence, new sharia criminal laws in Brunei that allow stoning, sexual assaults in Arab Spring countries, and proposed “virginity tests” in Indonesia.
These are just a few examples of a rollback of women’s rights in recent years, even where revolutions and political transitions have been hailed in the West.
The law, which its detractors say makes it nearly impossible to prosecute perpetrators of domestic violence, remains a threat to women in a society where women’s rights appear to be eroding as Western powers retreat.
Historic gains in women’s rights have been made in some countries, such as Kenya, Mexico, and Tunisia—the birthplace of the Arab Spring—with new rights for women enshrined in their constitutions. Tunisia has been hailed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as “a model for others in the region and around the world.”
El Salvador has led the way among Latin American countries in fighting gender-based killings of women, and the international community has been buoyed by Afghanistan’s willingness to reexamine its new domestic violence law (Nov 11, 2013 fciwomenswrestling.com “The fight Against Femicide”).
The widely read www.theguardian.com sheds light on women’s rights in Iran. If you think the Iraqi government has reached its limit in violating women’s rights, think again. On 25 February, the Iraqi council of ministers approved a new personal status law called Ja’fari law, named after the sixth Shi’ite imam Ja’afar al-Sadiq, who founded his own school of jurisprudence (Shi’ite). It was submitted to parliament for a vote. The draft was put forward by the justice minister Hassan al-Shimari, a member of the Shi’ite Islamist Fadhila (Virtue) party to deal with issues of marriage, divorce, inheritance and adoption.
The current law, No 188, was issued in 1959 and is considered to be the most protective of women’s rights in the Arab countries. It stipulates the following: the legal age of marriage for both men and women is 18; polygamy is prohibited and taking a second wife is extremely restricted; a Muslim male is allowed to marry a non-Muslim female without conditions or restrictions; and a woman can disobey her husband if he behaves tyrannically and harms her by failing to provide adequate housing or care should she fall ill.
Article 16 sets the legal age of marriage for females as nine and males as 15, although it could be even lower with the consent of a guardian, father or a grandfather. Article 104 permits unconditional polygamy. Article 101 says men have the right to “enjoy” sex with their wives any time they want, and wives cannot leave their marital home without their husband’s permission. Article 126 says husbands are not required to pay financial support (nafaqah) when their wife is either a minor or a senior and hence unable to sexually satisfy them.
The Huffingtonpost.com adds the proposed new measure, known as the Jaafari Personal Status Law, is based on the principles of a Shiite school of religious law founded by Jaafar al-Sadiq, the sixth Shiite imam. Iraq’s Justice Ministry late last year introduced the draft measure to the Cabinet, which approved it last month despite strong opposition by rights groups and activists.
The draft law does not set a minimum age for marriage. Instead, it mentions an age in a section on divorce, setting rules for divorces of girls who have reached the age of 9 years in the lunar Islamic calendar. It also says that’s the age girls reach puberty. Since the Islamic calendar year is 10 or 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, that would be the equivalent of 8 years and 8 months old. The bill makes the father the only parent with the right to accept or refuse the marriage proposal.
Critics of the bill believe that its authors slipped the age into the divorce section as a backhanded way to allow marriages of girls that young. Already, government statistics show that nearly 25 percent of marriages in Iraq involved someone under the age of 18 in 2011, up from 21 percent in 2001 and 15 percent in 1997. Planning Ministry spokesman Abdul-Zahra Hendawi said the practice of underage marriage is particularly prevalent in rural areas and some provinces where illiteracy is high.
A strong American news source www.foxnews.com spotlights Saudi Arabia. A group of female activists has sent a petition to the Saudi Arabian Shura Council, demanding the end of male guardianship and the expansion of women’s rights.
The advocates want the Council to take the necessary steps to improve women’s rights and stop domestic violence against them.
Twenty-five women—including some university professors— recently sent the petition ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, the Saudi Gazette reported, citing Saudi newspaper Al-Hayat.
The changes the group seeks include women no longer be obliged to have a male guardian’s permission to complete education, work, and travel. Women also want to be able to file a lawsuit, receive medical treatment, be released from prison, or apply for an ID or passport without a man’s consent.
Women and children who are victims of domestic violence at the hands of men should be protected by a special law granting them the right to self-determination, according to the letter.
One example of the hold men have over women in Saudi Arabia is called “adhl,” when a male guardian prevents a woman in his custody from getting married. Men can now also demand minors to marry, divorce their wives without compelling reasons, and discriminate against women and harass them at work and in public.
The petition wants to limit these powers.
Each year International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911. Thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organizations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women’s groups, corporations and the media celebrate the day.
The informative women’s rights advocate site www.internationalwomensday.com summarizes Women’s equality has made positive gains but the world is still unequal. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action.
Inspiring Change is the 2014 theme for their internationalwomensday.com global hub and encourages advocacy for women’s advancement everywhere in every way. It calls for challenging the status quo for women’s equality and vigilance inspiring positive change.
The vast array of communication channels, supportive spokespeople, equality research, campaigns and corporate responsibility initiatives means everyone can be an advocate inspiring change for women’s advancement.
Female Competition International, fciwomenswrestling.com would like to thank the above news sources for their diligence in keeping these important women’s rights issues in front of the conscience of the world.
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Sources: www.nytimes.com/2014/03, www.dw.de, news.nationalgeographic.com, www.theguardian.com, www.foxnews.com, www.huffingtonpost.com, www.internationalwomensday.com, www.fciwomenswrestling.com, www.brainyquote.com, photos thanks to Wikimedia.com