What it is to be a woman


Some disgusting facts have come out recently about some women’s lives around the world.  Afghanistan, Congo, Pakistan, India and Somalia are thought to be the worst possible places to be a woman, although it is important to remember that these things go on around the world in most countries, even those considered ‘western’.

87% of women in Afghanistan are illiterate; in Congo, 1150 women are raped every day; 90% of women in Pakistan face domestic violence; in India, 50 million girls are “missing” over the past century due to female infanticide and foeticide; and in Somalia, 95% of women face FGM.

These facts are ridiculous. It seems impossible that the world we live in today can still be so unfair, and so backwards. In  Britain, the percentage for illiteracy is barely 3% and the comparison between here and Afghanistan is appalling. No wonder western countries such as ours face so much immigration, when there is so much to try and get away from. Something needs to change. This is not just sexism, this is hundreds and thousands of people all over the planet being denied basic human rights. Female infanticide would be unthinkable in almost any developed country, yet it continues to happen on such a mass scale. Yet it is important to consider that it has largely been ignored that it occurs in China, as people consider China ‘developed’.

But what can we do? Well something has to be done. It seems to me that the obvious way forward in these countries is information. Inform the men of women’s rights in other countries and cultures, and inform the women to help them see that they don’t deserve what they are being put through, and give them access to information. I expect that the women being raped think it is what they are meant to endure (or at least have no one to help them), illiterate women don’t think that they should be able to read, and domestic violence is often seen as a given in marriages, especially in cultures where arranged marriages are common. Free access to information here is the only way forward.

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3 thoughts on “What it is to be a woman

  1. Jay says:

    Interesting point of view and I agree with you on most of your frustrions! Although I think it is more about re-education. Can you really go into another man’s land and educate them on how to run their country or is it more about re-education?

    I’m struggling to see how you can educate men and women about how to live in their own country, culture and religion. Historical evidence can show that the West going into countries to ‘educate’ the ‘natives’ has left a sea of destruction which has resulted in wars, political unrest, genocide, greed, corruption, desperation and pure devastation has been the outcome. Rape in the Congo for example is due to a few things but one is about power and territory. Many companies that supply for example bits of our mobile phones (IPhones and blackberries) get the raw materials from the Congo! I also I think it is unfair to even consider that women of Congo think it’s OK to raped – I hope this is not based on the assumption that because they are uneducated they don’t know any better… visit http://www.tgfoundation.org.uk The simple fact is that any type of violence is wrong and you don’t need a degree to know that….

    WHO have documented 29 countries within Africa that still practice FGM and in Britain 20,000 girls are at risk of this procedure every year. In Egypt which is more forward thinking than Somalia there is a 95% prevalence of FGM!
    http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/fgm/prevalence/en/index.html

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts but still believe it is more about ‘re-education’ that ‘education’!

    • I appreciate your opinion, and I can see why you would lean towards ‘re-education’, rather than ‘education’. The point about rape in Congo was much more generalised. A lot of rape that doesn’t get punished is because the victim is unsure that it is totally wrong. I came across a case in England where a highly educated women in her late teens had been repeatedly raped by family members, and never reported it as she was told she was ‘special’. It is a case of letting these topics become general knowledge and letting people know about the dangers faced by women all over the world so that even if they don’t face any, they are equipped to help others. You can class this as ‘education’ or as ‘re-education’, but these facts do need to be publicly known and these issues need to be freely discussed. Thank you very much for your comment, I will reconsider my post in reflection.

  2. Jay says:

    YES! without a doubt this and any injustice is wrong that goes without saying.

    In the context of what you have explained I can clearly see where you are coming from. I would suggest however that based on your example this is clearly a case of not only rape but also mental and physical abuse and maybe even sexual slavery! The abusers all need to be locked up and punished, this was clearly premeditated and calculated.

    This poor lady will have to live with the aftermath forever. She will need to be re- educated about herself to reinstate her self worth, confidence and understand the special doesn’t mean abuse. As for the abusers of such affliction, I’m on the fence of what can be done.

    All I know is that they knew what they where doing and from what I have read, sexual abusers rarely change. The best and humane place for them (if any, also no capital punishment in the UK) is to be locked up for life. Its a shame as even when locked up they will still be treated with grace. Its a shame they couldn’t do the same for their victim.

    Once again I appreciate your point of few.

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