by Samantha Ritchie
International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements women have made and empower a new wave of women to push through the barriers. Although there have been break throughs vast inequalities still exist that prohibit women when participating in the economy, society and everyday life. But, this does not deter many female activists in fighting for equality for all.
In Pakistan, where Malala Yousafzai fought for girls to be educated but in October last year got shot in the head by a member of the Taliban. In India where a woman fought six attackers while being raped on a Delhi bus that fundamentally sparked widespread anger to stop violence against women and girls. In Ireland, where women fought to get justice for the way they were used as slave labour in the Magdalene laundries. In Russia, where ‘Pussy Riot’ conducted musical performances to show the anger at the government’s policies which discriminate against women and the restrictions that are placed on legalised abortions.
Women have been fighting for equal rights for hundreds of years. But, with the use of the social media revolution it allows women to find other activists and protest against the inequalities they face on a day to day basis. Social media gives women a new sense of empowerment and a way of expressing their views on the world stage.
International Women’s Day is a day which we should use to celebrate women and the activists who fought long and hard for equal rights. However, we should refrain from looking at this with rose tinted glasses. There is still a long way to go.
The Commission of the Status of Women is currently taking place in New York which has a priority theme of the “elimination of violence against women and girls.” From this, the UK has pledged to set up a fund to tackle female genital mutilation. With countries such as Iran, Russia and China opposing CSW’s proposals it’s hard to see how we can really achieve equality for all in the 21st century with countries opposing basic human rights.
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