BY: Therese Ngo
As an American girl who grew up in the 90’s, fighting for women’s rights and gender equality never crossed my mind. I never had thoughts like, “Will my family survive if I go to school today” and I never had to cope with inequitable employment wages, financial or social security. I grew up in a world where the Women’s Suffrage Movement was just a lesson in American history.
I hardly ever faced discrimination for being a female. I never had to give up my education to walk 2-3 hours from my home to fetch clean water. I celebrated when school was cancelled. It came as a surprise to me that liberties, that sometimes I take for granted, aren’t even offered to women in developing countries.
Women’s rights is still a movement being fought for in developing countries. Pakistan, a country located in South Asia is one of those still advocating for women’s equal rights. Does anyone remember a case of violence and injustice against a woman in Pakistan that was all over news a few years ago? A woman, Mukhtar Mai, was harassed and publicly humiliated as punishment for her younger brother’s alleged crime. Fourteen men were involved in the case, but only one was sent to prison. She was given compensation money by the Pakistani government. She then used that money to build two schools for girls in her village. Mukhtar was an uneducated woman because there was no education available for women in her village. She changed that. Mukhtar is an inspiration because instead of escaping from the village that had wronged her, she chose to improve it.
In the world I know, the bad guys get put away. The good guys and the victims win. Then again, my world involves watching melodramas such as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Mukhtar is an international hero for women. She is the beacon of hope for the oppressed. She had strength and spoke out in a society where her words were not welcome.
The things we can do to help:
- We can educate ourselves.
- We can be supportive of organizations that promote women’s rights.
- We can increase awareness.
- We can read about it.
- We can write about it.
- We can blog about it.
- We can talk about it.
Let us know your thoughts on fighting for women’s rights, how do you get involved? Download our Women’s Rights: Focus on Pakistan guide for more information.
For more info visit: http://gccblogs.concernusa.org/