Together we can create a world that not only treats women as equals, but ensures that they enjoy lives free from oppression, violence and subjugation, writes Mohammed Elleissy, a 26-year-old from Melbourne, Australia.
The world celebrated International Women’s Day on 8 March – an event created exactly 100 years ago to celebrate the economic, social and political achievements of women all across the globe, while also acknowledging there is still noticeable inequality in many parts of daily life.
According to the United Nations Development Program, 75% of all women cannot get bank loans because they have unpaid or insecure jobs and lack property ownership rights.
Women are also 21% less likely than men to own a mobile phone and therefore to have similar communication possibilities.
In Australia this year, 236 events were held to mark this day, right around the country.
While things are slowly improving for women, it’s still very far from perfect.
One of the greatest moral issues of our time is violence against women. Perpetrated predominately in a domestic setting, it is a social ill that has not escaped any country, culture or social class in the world.
In Australia, people of all ages – but especially young people – are coming together to combat this problem.
One of the leading organisations working on this issue is the White Ribbon campaign, originally started in Canada in 1991 and now spread across 57 countries.
Already the campaign has recruited 1400 Ambassadors and more than 13,000 Australians have sworn never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.
Among the young people on the National Leaders Group, which sets the agenda for the White Ribbon campaign, are Keelia Fitzpatrick, the women’s officer for the National Union of Students, as well as Reece Harley, a member of the Western Australia Youth Advisory Committee.
Young people not only have a huge role to play in ending domestic violence against women, but in fact are probably the most important part of the puzzle.
Sexist views usually have their roots at a very early age. They might occur in college sports or when people hang with mates make sexist remarks in a joking way.
There has been an upsurge in the number of sexist groups people can join on Facebook (with names such as ‘why does a woman need to go to college, you don’t need a degree to make a sandwich’). This creates a sense that not only being denigrating to women is perfectly ok – it’s even humorous.
Young people have played a huge role in social change, and while it may be hard for some adults to change their behavior, there is always hope with every new generation.
Together we can create a world that not only treats women as equals with men, but ensures that they live a life free from oppression, violence and subjugation!
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. All articles are published in a spirit of improving dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
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