Culture · Society

Plight of women: International Scenario

At present the world consists of 196 countries and each of these countries are completely different from each other, be it in respect of nationality, culture, race, language, history even but in one aspect their history seems to be like soul sisters, and that is the history of women. Around the globe, the notion about women has always been the same that they are naturally meant to be house- keepers and the bearer of children. One can trace its roots in the ancient Indian history where the Vedas have clearly excluded the women from the mainstream society. They were not entitled to anything and were always considered to be inferior to their male counterparts. They were considered to be the property of their husbands .History is a witness that even if any rights or benefits were given to women, it was always for the convenience of men. For instance, France had schools where admissions were allowed to both sexes, but it was widely accepted that women’s intellect is always less than that of men. In Germany, it was believed that women must be educated in order to be intelligent so that they can be better interlocutors for the husbands. The women who were poor were required to work so that they could save their earnings in order to get married. They also had to take dowry with them, over which they had control but it had to be used for the benefit of the husbands only. During war, the women of elite class became more and more confined to their homes. Similar beliefs prevailed in other parts also. The phrase ‘second sex’ for women is a clear indicator of the society’s belief that men are superior to women and no matter what ever the scenario is, they will always remain superior. And somewhere this long standing belief can be blamed for the growing number of atrocities against women and their inefficiency to defend themselves.

The Syrian crisis has achieved global attention because of infamous mass executions carried out by ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) but the worst affected are the women population. A recent U.N. Report, from July 6 through September 10, stated that there has been mass enslavement of women and children by the ISIS. The women abducted by them mostly belonged to Christian, Shiite, and Yazidi communities. The women who got converted to Islam were given to ISIL fighters as a reward or were sold. A market has also been established for the sale of abducted women. The customers are mostly the youth belonging to the local communities. The real motive of the ISIS is to sell these women to the youth as a means of inducing them to join their ranks. According to a recent report last month, an auction was organised for these abducted women and several videos show the members of ISIS and ISIL attending these auctions. Many women who were sold in the auction belonged mostly to the Christian families. Global media has termed it to be the ‘second Christian displacement’. According to the witnesses, girls who were found to be more attractive than others were taken to be the ISIS princes personal sex slaves. One Yazidi women was sold to 10 ISIL men. It would not be wrong to say that these are not just crimes against women but also crimes against the entire human race. The U.N. has urged that these matters should be taken to the International court for trial. In this regard it is also very important to consider the mass rape of women done by the government army and also the border guards last week in the village of Tabit, Northern Dafur. According to the reports, the raping spree started on Friday and continued till 4am the following day. First heavy injuries were inflicted upon men and were later separated from the female members of the family. This also included minor girls as well. The data states that there were women of whom around 8 were primarily school girls, 72 were minors and 105 were unmarried. According to Amnesty International report 2004, it documents how rape was used as a weapon of war. It also documents how women are systematically raped and are subject to forced marriages, forced prostitution, sexual harassment. The investigations against these crimes were not done properly. Several allegations have been levelled against the U.N. agency in Dafur for not properly investigating the matter. On being summoned they said that there was no evidence of such mass rape being carried out by the troops.  However, the picture still remains the same, female students in Dafur face sexual harassment at the hand of officers. But what is most disturbing is the complete global denial of the incident.

This not only shows the pitiable condition of women around the globe but also shows the double standard of our current world and reflects a kind of racial discrimination even though apartheid has been officially abolished. Inspite of all the international laws for women empowerment, various organisations, both national as well as international, for women development, no doubt their work is commendable, the miserable plight of women is still predominant. On close scrutinization, one can analyse that not much change has been brought out.  In our world, being a women means to be subject to poverty, illiteracy, abuse, exploitation. The hour demands that we must stop for a moment and ask ourselves ‘where are we lacking’. This does not exist in the war torn countries only, atrocities against women exist in other quieter places as well, such as England, maybe with less intensity, but it does exist. Sometimes a simple attitude towards any issue can bring tremendous change than all those statutes in a hundred years. There are still many out there who are completely indifferent to the plight of women in war torn countries and in other parts of the world, what is needed is that more awareness programmes should be carried out in order to gather more public support. History cannot be changed but we can definitely change the present. It has to be accepted that women empowerment is not a cake walk but still it is not impossible. The measures being carried out at present has to be done on a larger scale and with more public participation.

About the Author

NIYATINiyati is confused but passionate, currently pursuing law at Central University of Bihar. She has a keen interest in literature and politics. She is a feminist and believes that a nation’s development lies in the development of women.

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