I find it difficult to watch or read about the bad things which happen to women worldwide. Particularly when it comes to rape. The reason is simple, I can’t help but to put myself in the victims body, and to wonder what it felt like. It makes me feel sick, or makes my adrenaline rush (in a bad way, like I am being attacked). This is a big reason why I am largely unaware of current situation of many women. I simply can’t bring myself to look into it, or watch any serious documentaries about it.
Recently I made myself watch BBC documentary entitled Hillary Clinton: The Power of Women. It was a big eye opener. The objective of the program was to look at the last 20 years and see how has women’s situation changed worldwide. The starting point of the 20 year period is Hillary Clinton’s famous speech ‘Women’s Rights are Human Rights‘. I have heard the phrase before, but I never knew the context or understood the power of her speech. For the first time in history she said in simple and plain words that women’s rights are not a luxury, but a key issue. That’s not to say she was the first women’s rights activist, the power of her speech is the simplicity of the summarising sentence. There are few who publicly question human rights, yet many a country questions women’s rights (like education for girls, legal protection against domestic violence, banning child marriage, female trafficking).
Ever since I came across Womankind, a wonderful organisation which supports root-level activists and organisations to empower women and educate them about their rights, as well as provide safe haven for those who escaped forced marriage or domestic violence, I wanted to get involved at some level in promoting issues of women’s rights. As a woman and a mother I can no longer bury my head in sand.
Women’s rights are a cause worth fighting for, as they stands to improve life of 50% of world’s population. If women’s lives improve, the lives of their children will as well.
Womankind‘s latest campaign strives to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Kenya. Here’s a very short and very moving story of one woman, who thanks to something as simple as knowledge of her rights, managed to turn around her and her daughters’ lives. She is now helping other women do the same. To continue her work of educating other women money is needed. If you can, please donate via the link below (UK government will match all the donations).
In western, developed countries we are incredibly lucky. We take the right to vote for granted. We take legal protection against sexual violence for granted. We take equality (or at least open debate about it) for granted. As parents we really must do something to make this world a better place for our children. Especially if we are raising girls.
To motivate you, a telling quote from Madeleine Albright (first woman to hold the position of United States Secretary of State):
There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.
This is a first post in a new monthly series: Women’s Right’s are Human Rights. Each month I will introduce a charity or an organisation, which focuses on empowering women and fighting for women’s rights.
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