Monday, March 27, 2023

Women’s Day events highlight major gaps in gender equality – Usky News

Madrid: From demands for constitutional rights in Islamabad to demands for economic equality in Manila, Paris and Madrid, International Women’s Day Demonstrations in cities around the world on Wednesday highlighted the unfinished business of providing equity for half the planet’s population.
While activists in some places celebrated political and legal progress, the rituals pointed to repression in countries such as Afghanistan and Iran and the vast numbers of women and girls who have experienced sexual assault and domestic violence globally.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said this week that women’s rights were “abused, threatened and violated” around the world – and that gender equality will not be achieved for 300 years, given the current pace of change.
Progress achieved over decades is disappearing because “the patriarchy is fighting back,” Guterres said.
Even in countries where women have considerable freedom, there have been setbacks recently. It was the first International Women’s Day since the US Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion last year and several states adopted abortion bans.
United Nations gained international recognition Women’s Day in 1977, but the occasion has its roots in labor movements of the early 20th century. The day is celebrated in different ways and to varying degrees in places around the world.
The United Nations has identified Afghanistan as the most repressive country in the world for women and girls since the Taliban takeover in 2021. The UN mission said Afghanistan’s new rulers were “imposing rules that effectively imprison most women and girls in their homes.”
He has banned girls’ education beyond the sixth grade, and barred women from public places such as parks and gyms. Women must cover themselves from head to toe, and are also barred from working in national and international non-governmental organizations.
Afghan women’s rights campaigner Zubaida Akbar told the UN Security Council that women and girls in the country were facing “the worst crisis for women’s rights in the world”.
Zubaida said, “The Taliban have not only tried to erase women from public life, but have also tried to eliminate our basic humanity.” “There is one word that aptly describes the situation of the Afghan woman today: gender apartheid.”
Women gathered in major cities of Pakistan to march amid tight security. Organizers said the demonstrations were aimed at demanding rights guaranteed by the constitution. Some conservative groups threatened to stop a similar march by force last year.
Women’s rights activists in Japan held a small rally to renew their demand for the government to allow married couples to use different surnames. Under the Civil Code of 1898, a couple must adopt the “spousal’s surname” at the time of marriage. Polls show majority support for both men and women to keep their own names.
In the Philippines, hundreds of protesters from various women’s groups rallied in Manila for higher wages and better jobs.
“We are seeing a widening gender pay gap,” said protest leader Jose Salvador. “We are seeing an unprecedented increase in the number of women workers who are doing informal work without any protection.”
President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Tanzania’s first female leader, said during an International Women’s Day rally organized by an opposition party that she had brought a new level of political tolerance to the East African nation.
Hassan has been accused of continuing the anti-democracy policies of his predecessor John Magufuli, but he lifted a 6-year ban on opposition rallies in January.
The President said, “The opposition is lucky that it is a woman president because if there is any misunderstanding, I will stand for peace and let the men sort out their egos.”
In Turkey, women gathered in a central Istanbul neighborhood to try and demonstrate for their rights – and to protest the staggering toll of the deadly earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria a month ago.
Thousands defied an official ban on the march, and were met by police, who fired tear gas and detained several people. Similar incidents plagued previous years’ efforts to organize the march.
More than 46,100 people died in unsafe buildings in Turkey and millions were left homeless by the February 6 earthquake.
In Europe, hundreds of ethnic Albanian women in Kosovo’s capital threw black and red smoke bombs at police headquarters protesting domestic violence. The protesters, who rallied under the slogan “We march, not celebrate”, accused the police, the prosecutor’s office and the courts of gender discrimination.
In Russia, where International Women’s Day is a national holiday, President Vladimir Putin presented state awards to several women during a Kremlin ceremony. He chose a military paramedic and a journalist to carry out their duties during the war in Ukraine, which the Kremlin insists it calls “a special military operation”.
In Spain alone, hundreds of thousands of women – with the total expected to exceed 1 million as in previous years – took part in evening demonstrations in Madrid, Barcelona and other cities.
Although Spain has produced one of the world’s largest turnouts on March 8 for years, this year’s March has been marked by a split within its own left-wing government over a sexual freedom law that has inadvertently killed hundreds of sex offenders. The sentence has been reduced for ,
Feminists in Spain are also divided over a new transgender rights law, which took effect last week, and allows anyone aged 16 and older to change their gender on official documents without medical certification.
Elsewhere in Europe, tens of thousands of people marched in Paris and other French cities, brandishing posters with the messages: “Equal pay, now” and “Solidarity with the women of the world.” The rallies focused on protests against proposed changes to the pension system, which women’s groups say are unfair to working mothers.
The protest came hours after President Emmanuel Macron’s government introduced a new gender equity plan that would bar companies that do not publish a gender equality index or have poor ratings from receiving public contracts. Women’s wages in France are, on average, 15.8% less than men’s.
In Ireland, the government announced it would hold a referendum in November to establish gender equality and remove discriminatory language from the country’s constitution.
The Irish Constitution, which was drafted in 1937, currently states that the state “shall endeavor to ensure that mothers shall not be compelled by economic necessity to engage in labor to the neglect of their duties in the home. “
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announced measures to promote and protect women after years of setbacks fueled partly by the rise of far-right forces under predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.
Lula introduced a bill that would guarantee equal pay for women and men doing the same work. and pledged 372 million reais ($73 million) to build domestic violence shelters.
Despite global protests every year, International Women’s Day is not widely celebrated in the US.
“For most of its history, Women’s Day was associated with socialism,” said Kristen Ghodsi, professor of Russian and East European studies at the University of Pennsylvania. “I’m sure you can imagine that wasn’t very popular in the United States.”
Ghodsi said the day has been indicative of several events where women have stood up for their rights as workers. “They’re not just trying to get the right to vote—they’re trying to promote a progressive cause with the entire working class.”


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