Issues Still Facing Women in 2015
Issues Still Facing Women in 2015
Women are constantly being fed messages all over the media that tell them that being thin and young is the key to beauty and success.
Body image seems to be the go to subject when people ask about issues affecting women today. What seems to be forgotten though is that there are still some issues that we assume have been fixed a long time ago. Unfortunately this is not the case.
The following will look at issues that are still facing women in 2015, that have seem to have fallen off the radar.
Around 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence. New research shows that women who suffer at the hands of domestic violence are stuck in their situation for nearly three years, on average, before getting the help they need. More than 85% of victims are in contact with professionals in the year before they get help. Diana Barran, the Chief Executive of SafeLives, said, “It is simply not acceptable that victims should have to try to get help repeatedly.” However more and more women's shelters being closed every year due to budget cuts, therefore immediate and apparent help is becoming less likely than ever.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
FGM is a global problem. The World Health Organisation estimates that three million girls undergo some form of the procedure every year in Africa alone. In the UK, the Home Office estimates that 170,000 girls and women living in the UK are survivors of the practice, with 65,000 girls under the age of 13 being at risk - these are the highest figures of any EU country. In July 2014, the Prime Minister David Cameron hosted the first Girl Summit along with UNICEF. It was thought that the issue of FGM was finally going to be tackled both in the UK and abroad. Unfortunately since then, the subject seems to have dropped off the radar once again.
In December 2014 Louise Burns was asked to cover herself with a napkin while she breastfed her child in Claridge's Hotel. She was made to feel "humiliated", as though feeding her child in public - a completely natural thing to do - was somehow wrong.Since then, mothers across the word have shown their support for public breastfeeding by posting brelfies (breastfeeding selfies) and Prime Minister David Cameron stated that it is "totally unacceptable" for mothers to be made to feel uncomfortable when feeding their babies in public. Although more still needs to be done to end the sexualisation of women's bodies and quash any stigma still attached to breastfeeding.
Sex Selective Abortions
Sex-selective abortion is illegal in the UK, but figures from 2014 suggested the practice had become so prevalent that between 1,400 and 4,700 females had disappeared from the national census records of England and Wales. Members of Parliament (MPs) rejected a proposed amendment to the Serious Crime Bill, to clarify in law that abortion on the grounds of gender alone is illegal in the UK. Many MPs (and journalists) raised concerns that the amendment was a move towards limiting women's abortion rights in the UK. Lisa Hallgarten wrote in the New Statesman that, "Crucially this bill implies specific protection for foetuses in the event that they are aborted for sex-selective reasons, thereby giving rights to some foetuses in some circumstances,". Nonetheless this does not change the fact that around the world, female fetuses are aborted on the grounds that a male child is considered preferable to a daughter.
Some people may argue that catcalling is "not a big deal" as it is not a matter of life and death. "Roll your eyes and ignore it" might also be said.
However, in November 2014 a man was almost killed for defending his girlfriend against a cat caller. When a woman secretly filmed herself walking round New York City in October 2014, she was catcalled a total of 100 times in 10 hours. The video went viral.
Men, women and children are trafficked within their own countries and across international borders. According to the charity Stop The Traffik, the practice affects every continent and every country. According to Equality Now, 20.9 million adults and children are bought and sold worldwide into commercial sexual servitude, forced labor and bonded labor and trafficking women and children for sexual exploitation is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. They state that women and girls make up 98% of victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Stalking and harassment
According to Women's Aid, stalking is one of the most common types of abuse. UK Government figures support the claim, showing around 1 in 25 women aged 16-59 are a victim of stalking every year. Police in the UK have said that the number of women being stalked is growing due to the internet. A source told the Express that, "The prevalence and popularity of social networking sites means that stalking can be done at the touch of a button, rather than the old style of stalking, which involved waiting at someone's house and following them wherever they went."
On 14 April 2014, 276 School girls were kidnapped from the Chibok Government Secondary School by Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria.
The people from around the globe were outraged by the kidnappings with high profile people such as Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai showing their support for the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.
However now the media interest has all but disappeared, despite the fact that approximately 230 of the girls are still missing. Yousafzai said in February this year that "These young women risked everything to get an education that most of us take for granted. I will not forget my sisters. We cannot forget them. We must demand their freedom until they are reunited with the families and back in school, getting the education they so desperately desire."
Low rape conviction rate
Reports suggest the conviction rate for rape is criminally low. Estimates suggest 12,000 men and 85,000 women on average are raped in England and Wales every year, but only 1,070 rapists are convicted of their crime.
An average of just 15,670 rapes are reported to the police each year.
Poor Parliamentary representation
In the UK, 77% of MPs are men. The House of Commons is made up of 502 men and 148 women.The imbalance in other parts of the world is even more shocking, so it's not surprising that women's issues so often fail to be the priority. The 50:50 Parliament campaign aims to address the problem in the UK.
Gender Pay Gap
Women now make up 47% of the UK workforce, but figures from 2014 show that for every pound a man makes, a woman will only earn 80p.
Currently, the average British woman earns £2.53 less than the average British man per hour. Unfortunately, it's a similar story in America.
In 2014 the #GamerGate furore confirmed that online trolling is becoming a huge problem for women.Female game developer Brianna Wu fled her home after receiving rape and death threats online. Developer Zoe Quinn also received graphic threats before details of her home address were posted on social media.The threats made over #GamerGate almost certainly echo the threats female journalists, authors and campaigners faced the previous year.
Nina is in her Honours year at The University of Strathclyde in Glasgow studying History. She loves keeping fit and healthy at the gym and singing to her hearts content. Because of Nina's love of all things history related, she has a passion for reading, writing and researching. Nina is the Editor-in-Chief for an online magazine for female students at Strathclyde called Her Campus Strath and wants to continue her passion for writing after graduation.