BREAK EVEN

The fight for women’s rights will lead to a more eq­ui­table fu­ture.

The Peak (Malaysia) - - Lifestyle • Calendar -

It would seem that the fight for women’s rights, equal­ity and jus­tice reached un­prece­dented heights all around the world in 2017. Global marches and cam­paigns, in­clud­ing the #MeToo so­cial me­dia move­ment in the United States, have fo­cused much scru­tiny on sex­ual ha­rass­ment, vi­o­lence and dis­crim­i­na­tion against women that is still preva­lent ev­ery­where. All this at­ten­tion has also en­cour­aged more women to speak up and against those is­sues that af­fect them in ev­ery­day life.

Fit­tingly, In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day 2018, which falls on 8 March, will fur­ther am­plify this ef­fort to cre­ate a more equal fu­ture. Here is the op­por­tu­nity to em­power women in all set­tings, both ru­ral and ur­ban, and help them claim their rights and re­alise their fullest po­ten­tial. This year’s theme, Time is Now: Ru­ral and ur­ban ac­tivists trans­form­ing women’s lives, also seeks to draw at­ten­tion to the rights and ac­tivism of ru­ral women, who make up over a quar­ter of the world pop­u­la­tion and a ma­jor­ity of the 43 per cent of women in the global agri­cul­tural labour force, and, yet, suf­fer greater dis­crim­i­na­tion than their ur­ban coun­ter­parts.

Yet, even as the fight for women’s rights surges ahead, the stakes have never been higher. If statis­tics from the 2018 Rule of Law In­dex, pub­lished re­cently by the World Jus­tice Project, are any­thing to go by, fun­da­men­tal hu­man rights glob­ally ap­peared to have di­min­ished in the past year. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, a world­wide surge in author­i­tar­ian na­tion­al­ism and re­treat from in­ter­na­tional le­gal obli­ga­tions have eroded rights like non-dis­crim­i­na­tion, free­dom of ex­pres­sion and re­li­gion, the right to pri­vacy and work­ers’ rights. The sur­vey gath­ers data from 110,000 house­holds and 3,000 ex­perts and more than 70 of the 113 coun­tries that par­tic­i­pated re­ported that their fun­da­men­tal hu­man rights are be­ing eroded. Even in the United States, long the bea­con of free­dom and jus­tice, the data re­vealed wors­en­ing lev­els of dis­crim­i­na­tion and due process of law.

Yes, there must be no let­ting up on the fight for women’s rights. At the same time, a more equal fu­ture must be one where any­one, male or fe­male, rich or poor, re­gard­less of colour or creed, is the same as every­one else.

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