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  • Writer's pictureMeredith Haberfield

Women Are Still Fighting for These Basic Rights in 2021

Women around the world face many comparable issues. Be it wage disparity; education gap; or lack of access to affordable and adequate healthcare, women are continuing to tread towards an even playing field with men. While an article about all of the obstacles faced by women currently would be an exhaustive list spanning pages, here are just a few we should take note of.

  1. Wage gap. It is no surprise that women face many inequalities in the workplace, and the wage gap is the most crucial and glaring one. Women should not be getting paid less than men for doing the same work. I have written another article for my sister’s company about the wage gap in athletics- you can read more here- but it applies to almost all industries, perhaps on lesser scales. In athletics, women who compete in an equal competition do not have the same prize money. For example, in the LPGA, the winner of the Women’s U.S. Open won $1 million, while the winner of the Men’s U.S. Open won over $2 million.

  2. Education gap. In numerous countries, women do not have access to or are not allowed to seek the same education as men. Women have become more educated over time, however, they are still not receiving as much schooling as men. Over 60 years ago, almost 50 percent of women had no formal education. Over the years, the numbers have changed and as of 2010, only a fifth of adult women do not have a formal education (Source). In 2020, it was reported that 88 percent of females worldwide had a primary education, compared to 91 percent of males. However, more females than males had attained tertiary education (Source). Similarly to the rise of education in women, educational attainment in rural areas has risen, but the number of adults with a bachelor’s degree is still higher in urban areas. In 2019, 21 percent of adults in rural areas had a bachelor’s degree, whereas in urban areas this percentage was at 35 (Source).

  3. Gender- based violence. Gender-based violence refers to acts of violence towards someone who’s targeted purely based on their biological sex or gender. This happens to women and girls in disproportionate numbers. 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced physical and or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner violence. Gender-based violence not only occurs in the household, but in political situations as well. Throughout history, sexual violence has been perpetuated during wars and mass migrations, and women, for the most part, have been the subjects of such heinous crimes.

  4. Reproductive rights. Women around the world are faced with struggles regarding reproductive and sexual rights. Abortions are not considered healthcare in many places and therefore women do not have the ability to choose what is best for themselves. Women end up getting unsafe abortions in these cases, which in turn can lead to health complications or even their death. Not all women have access to contraception which also leads to issues in a large number of countries. 200 million females have experienced female genital mutilation and/or cutting; failure to address this problem will lead to significant costs in the future for the next generation. Women should be able to make these decisions for themselves and not be forced into a marriage, giving birth, or sterilization.

  5. Right to vote. Women’s suffrage has been a debated topic for hundreds of years now. New Zealand was the first country to give women the right to vote on a national level in 1893. In the United States, women only gained the right to vote in 1920 when the 19th amendment was passed. Countries with stricter rules on women’s rights in general, such as Syria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, still have not allowed women the right to vote, or made it nearly impossible for them too even if they are allowed. Everyone deserves a say in the government they live under, regardless of gender.

As stated earlier, this is just a short list of women’s rights topics that hit close to home almost universally. While much progress has been made in numerous countries, there is still a long way to go. Women’s rights are human rights and should be treated as such.

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