Women experience systematic social and economic inequality. Despite substantial progress over the generations, many women still suffer from violence, exploitation, and discrimination. According to the United Nations, gender inequality only makes these problems worse.
Women across the world have less access to education, political and economic opportunities, and healthcare. One study showed that almost no countries exhibit objective gender equality. Altogether, this has forced millions of women and girls into poverty. According to the UN, a staggering 70 percent of people living in poverty worldwide are women. Much of this is due to the fact that women worldwide face inequality in labor markets. In some places, this takes the form of subversive discrimination and glass ceilings. In others, however, women are outright banned from taking certain jobs.
According to the Wall Street Journal, over 100 countries have formalized gender-based legal barriers to employment. This means that more than half of the world’s national economies bar women from holding certain jobs. And these are not the only types of laws that negatively impact women’s economic opportunities. In 18 countries, husbands can prohibit their wives from working if they choose. Most countries do not have criminal penalties for extreme forms of sexual harassment, and only about have impose civil penalties for this kind of behavior.
Across the world, women have fewer economic opportunities. Much of this is due to institutionalized gender discrimination. Progress in gender equality in recent decades has been encouraging, but progress is slow. As a result, women have been creating new economic opportunities for each other.
Over the past year, women have made substantial progress. Much of this is due to the gallant efforts of women human rights defenders. In several nations, legal reforms have been put in place to address gender-based violence. Other countries have passed laws and policies focused on increasing job opportunities for women. However, women around the world have been able to lift themselves – and others – up from poverty. They’ve done this by creating their own path, and blazing a trail for the next generation.
According to the Human Rights Watch, women in the Middle East and North Africa are experiencing positive momentum. Countries that have traditionally offered few economic and social protections for women are now passing liberal reforms. Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, and Morocco are among several nations that have bolstered legal protections for women and girls. This progress is impressive, and it occurred only because women in the region fought hard for change.
Now more than ever, women are rising up to empower each other. Lady Kharrazi has worked to help empower women through the arts and important educational programs like the American University of Afghanistan, Harvard University’s initiatives in Lebanon, the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, and the National University of Singapore. These programs increase opportunities for women across the world. And, this trend towards larger support his trend is extending to women around the world.
Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, a Muslim woman activist and founder of popular website MuslimGirl.com, even created Muslim Women’s Day. This day is meant to both empower women and combat Islamophobia in the West. Amani and other women are speaking out to empower each other. That way, we will all be able to look forward to a better future together.
Video – Tweet from MuslimGirl.com about Muslim Women’s Day: https://twitter.com/muslimgirl/status/976829190153568256
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