You don’t have to be a woman to be for women’s rights. Neither do you have to be a woman to see that there is something intrinsically wrong with the statement that ‘women’s rights have led to moral decay in our homes and country’. If anything this movement is a challenge to the unequal social structure that subjugates and discriminates women. Promoting gender equality, any kind of equality for that matter, can never be morally destructive. Today on International Women’s Day (IWD) it is important to commemorate the enormous gains we have made. These gains are however neither equally distributed globally, nor have they made us come close to ending gender discrimination.
Female genital mutilation, child marriage, honor killings, domestic abuse, lack of equality under the law are all issues that make girls and women all over the world suffer. Women’s rights cannot be only about our own situation back home. Even if these above-mentioned issues may be considered a ‘far-from-my-bed show’, women’s organizations everywhere should make women’s rights a global issue. Without women’s rights around the world, there is no global well-being.
In the workplace women’s rights have played an important role to lessen gender discrimination. I admit however that women more than often work more than men, yet are paid less. Consequently women and girls are more often the face of poverty; they are disproportionately financially dependent on others and are unfortunately more unhealthy than their male counterparts. Fact remains that women’s rights have seen more progress in the workplace. Lacking unfortunately is progress in our homes. Women’s rights and roles at home have not moved in step with changes in the workplace. Too many women and girls are denied social contacts outside of the home, they suffer domestic and sexual abuse and are too often prevented from making personal choices in their private lives. If we want to make changes in the lives of women and girls, we should not stop at labor issues. It should be in the first place at home. And I can honestly say that we have steered away from this issue for too long. No wonder there are so many people who are blaming women’s progress at work for all kinds of societal problems and using this as a poor excuse to deny women and girls the same betterment at home as has been the case in the workplace. This is unacceptable. It should become clear that the women’s movement is not about women who want to be like men. It’s about equal opportunity so that all genders have more options in life and that they can freely make their own choices in order to live full and productive lives. Regarding women’s rights, the battle on the workforce is progressing. In our homes, it’s another ballgame.