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