Den internasjonale kvinnedagen 2022

Dagen er her, den internasjonale kvinnedagen 2022. Noe fremgang har det vært det siste året, abort er legalisert i Colombia, Mexico og San Marino. Samtykkelov, som definerer sex uten samtykke som voldtekt, er innført i en rekke europesike land, blant dem Danmark, Sverige og Island. Andre land vurderer også oppdatering på utdaterte lover som gjelder voldtekt. Disse landene er Finland, Nederland, Spania og Sveits. I 2021 bestemte omsider norske politikere seg for at Norge også skal få en samtykkelov. For et land som hevder å være best i klassen på likestilling, var det på høy tid!

Dessverre er det sånn at selv om det har vært fremgang på enkelte områder, så har det gått i revers på andre. Etter to år med pandemi har andelen jenter under utdannelse gått kraftig ned. Vold i hjemmet har økt, noe som først og fremst rammer kvinner og barn.

Tilgangen til helsetjenerster for kvinner, spesielt angående reproduktiv helse og abort har mange steder fallt helt bort, og er blitt sterkt redusert andre steder.

Etter Talibans overtakelse av Afghanistan, har jenter over 12 år mistet retten til å gå på skole, kvinner har mistet retten til å arbeide, og kvinner får ikke reise med offentlig trasport uten å være i følge med en mann. Tjue års kamp for kvinners rettigheter i Afghanistan, alt som var oppnådd, ble blåst bort over natten da Vesten lot Taliban få komme tilbake til makten.

I Etiopia brukes seksualisert vold, spesielt mot kvinner, som et våpen i krigen. Både etiopiske og eritreiske soldater er skyldige i voldtekter og andre seksuelle forbrytelser mot kvinner i landet.

I USA har abortmotstanderne vunnet stadig mer terreng, og ingen har kunnet unngå å få med seg at staten Texas har innført tilnærmet totalforbud mot abort. I juni 2020 kommer abortspørsmålet opp for høyesterett i USA, og tilgangen til trygg og lovlig abort står dermed i fare i hele USA.

Krigen i Ukraina viser oss nok en gang hva en humanitær katastrofe innebærer for kvinner og barn. Denne krigen føyer seg inn i den sørgelig rekken av land hvor befolkningen allerede lider, som I Jemen, Afghanistan, Etiopia, Myanmar, Syria…

Kvinnekampen handler om så mye mer enn likelønn og fordeling av foreldrepermisjon. Disse sakene er også viktige! Men det faktum at vi i Norge og Europa har gjort store fremskritt på disse områdene, betyr ikke at kampen er over. Fremdeles er det millioner av kvinner og jenter der ute som har behov for at vi også fortsetter å holde fokus på saker som lik rett til utdanning og arbeid, at vi fortsetter å jobbe mot barneeksteskap og omskjæring, bedre rettsvern for voldtektsofre og kvinner på flukt, for sikker tilgang til trygg og lovlig abort, sikker og trygg tilgang til prevensjon, og tilgang til forsvarlige helsetjenester, for å nevne noe.

La oss jobbe mot en bedre verden, for absolutt alle, ikke bare i dag 8. mars, men hver dag hele året!

Kilder:

Rapport fra Amnesty Internasjonal i anledning kvinnedagen 8. mars 2022

https://samtykkelov.no/internasjonal-oversikt

8 March 2022

Another 8 March. And still we have to march and speak up for women’s rights. For our right to control our own bodies. Our reproductive health. For our right to marry of our own will, when we come of legal age, and not as child brides. We have to fight for maternity wards and access to mid-wives, for contraceptives and informed family planning. We have to fight for access to free and safe abortion. For equal status and equal rights. For women’s health to be taken as serious as men’s health.

It is true that in some countries women has fought and won certain rights, and that on paper there’s equality between the genders. But putting something on paper, doesn’t mean it works like that in real life. Men are still over-represented in higher positions. Women are still over-represented in low-income jobs and part-time jobs.

Women are still being labelled “hysterical” if they speak in a loud voice and gesticulate, while a man is deemed to be “powerful”. Girls are still taught to be nice, gentle and caring, while boys are expected “to be boys”.

Women are still blamed for sexual assault, when in fact they are the victim. They are asked questions about their way of dressing, and their behaviour. Because they must have done something to attract a man’s attention. When in fact it’s the man who has shown no respect for the woman.

I write this while there is an ongoing war in Ukraine. A war set in motion by Putin. I cannot even start to imagine the horrors the Ukrainian people are living right now. Parents, grand-parents and children taking shelter from the bombing. Heroic women and men fighting the Russian army.

As we march for women’s rights on this particular 8 March, let us also march for all the innocent victims of this war, and every other war. We are women, we are able to carry two thoughts at the same time, and to multi-task!

International Women’s Day

As always, there are things to celebrate, and still battles to fight when it comes to women’s rights.

Let’s start with some good news:

Argentina changed its abortion laws in 2020, ending a total prohibition on abortion. Several other countries have also changed their abortion laws in recent years, like Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

In Kenya, 40 clan elders have decided to stop child marriages and to end female genital mutilation and other forms of gender-based violence. This is important, and progress is made in other countries as well.

In many African countries, education on women’s reproductive health, family planning and access to modern contraceptives are on the rise. This in turn will reduce the number of (unsafe) abortions, and allows the women to take control over their own bodies and their own reproductive health.

Further, more than 100 nations reignite the vision of the Beijing Platform for Action, the most comprehensive roadmap for advancing gender equality.

Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna were awarded the Nobel’s Price in chemistry. Kamala Harris was appointed the first female vice-president in the USA, and Gitanjali Rao was selected TIME Magazine first ever “Kid-of-the-year”, for her use of science and technology to promote social change. And I tell you, what a girl this is!

But despite progress, there are still battles to fight.

Honour killings, in particular a threat to girls and women, are still a widespread problem especially in South-Asia and the Middle-East. As of late, an Indian 17-year old girl was beheaded by her own father after he discovered she had a relationship with a man.

In India, as in Pakistan and Afghanistan and several other countries, women are often married off to the man who raped her. This is a horrific practice, and something that needs to end immediately.

In Poland, a country at the heart of Europe, and member of the European Union (EU), abortion is now prohibited. The law passed in parliament in 2020, despite large protests.

Abortion is also prohibited in the following European countries: Malta (also member of EU), Andorra, the Vatican and San Marino. A complete overview of the situation worldwide can be found here.

Both access to healthcare and education are under pressure during the covid-19 pandemic, and we have to make an effort so we don’t take many steps backwards now that progress has been made in many countries.

But even in western societies we now see family life returning to old stereotypes, where women take on a greater toll of housework, whether they are still working during the pandemic or not, compared to their spouses. We have to make sure that the years of 2020 and 2021 will not be the new norm, but still work for equality both in the domestic and professional areas.

We need to work to put an end to the misconception that girls and women are the property of men, unable to act on their own. Girls and women are individuals, fully capable of making their own decisions. No girl should be raised solely to be married off and being treated as a slave of the household and a birthmachine. This is why it’s so important to make sure they are given access to education.

We also have to work to improve the balance of representation of power, both in parliaments, but also in business corporations. Even in developed countries, men earn more, they own more, and they more often climb “to the top”. We have to get rid of the stereotype that men are better at making money, while women are better at taking care of the family. Men can be good caretakers, and women can certainly be good leaders.

I would like to end with a quote of Barack Obama, even if it would have been more appropriate for the day to quote a woman. Still, this one sums up the way forward pretty well.

“You may live in the world as it is, but you can still work to create the world as it should be.”

So let’s do that! In the spirit of all the women that has fought battles before us, and for all those coming after us.

Speak up, take action – and have a great day!

International Women's Day web banner illustration of woman hands holding each other in female symbol shape. Girl teamwork concept, modern flat cartoon outline arms.