We rounded up the best articles written on International Women’s Day on women’s rights in Nepal and empowering girls.
NEPAL: WOMEN’S DAY– Political brinksmanship has sacrificed women’s rights (Asian Human Rights Commission)
Since the end of the conflict in 2006, progress to protect women’s rights has been slow and has fallen low on the government agenda. The election of the Constituent Assembly in 2008 was seen as paving the way to increased protection of the women’s rights as the Interim Constitution mandated. But the government has so far failed to translate increased representation of women in the legislative assembly into concrete policies to uphold the rights of women and promote gender equality in the country. The failure to protect women from gender-based violence is only the tip of the iceberg of the government’s ineptness to promote women’s rights, whether civil and political rights or economic, social and cultural ones.
International Women’s Day: Same countries, different worlds (The Express Tribune)
The new Asia-Pacific MDG Report 2011/12 makes it clear that addressing disparities in Asia and the Pacific, especially through narrowing gender gaps, holds the key to a final push on the MDGs. The report shows much progress. Our region has already made great strides by halving the incidence of poverty, reducing HIV prevalence, stopping the spread of tuberculosis and halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water. Major gaps still remain, however, across goals, across sub-regions, and especially within countries. One indicator of these challenges is the still unacceptably low level of maternal health across the region.
In 2008, with about 140,000 deaths, our region accounted for almost 40% of maternal mortality in the developing world. In South Asia, for instance, maternal mortality ratios are almost 70 per cent higher than the world average and nine times those of Europe and Central Asia.
What have you done to support girls today? (Peace X Peace)
As you celebrate International Women’s Day, think to yourself – what have I done to help women today? What can I do to open doors for my fellow women and girls? And if you are a young woman: What can I do to build connections with those women who have gone before me? With the women around me? How can I contribute to a positive, inspiring, and supportive environment that helps women succeed? We must work together to make such an environment a reality.
Ask before you tell: How to make the world better for girls in conflict areas (Women Under Siege)
In places such as Bangladesh, girls and women may not become empowered by speaking out, much as we may like to believe. In other conflicts, some girls and women hide what’s happened to them to avoid retaliative attacks, especially in places like Congo, where mutilation or a second rape are common forms of punishment for telling one’s story. Others, such as one woman who went public in Uganda, find catharsis in defying stigma and speaking out. The complexity is endless: Women from Honduras to Nigeria have told Women Under Siege that they feel finally unburdened when they tell us they were raped, but then ask us to never publicize their names; they want to help future generations of women and girls, but feel they are beyond hope for complete healing and fear retribution if they go public. When we fail to see that there is no easy, one-size-fits-all approach, we risk heaping more damage onto already difficult lives. Whenever possible, we need to ask individuals what would help them most—and what would cause only more harm. [...] By asking enough questions and simply listening to what girls and young women say they need, we can forge a more positive path.
Revealed: The best and worst places to be a woman (The Independent)
The global gender gap defies simple solutions. Eighty-five per cent of countries have improved conditions for women over the past six years, according to the World Economic Forum, but in economic and political terms there is still a long way to go.
Best place to read and write: Lesotho
Literacy rates among women in Lesotho exceed those of men, with 95 per cent of women able to read and write, compared with 83 per cent of men. The UK is ranked 21st. The worst country is Ethiopia, where only 18 per cent of women can read and write, compared with 42 per cent of men.
Best place to be head of state: Sri Lanka
Women have run Sri Lanka for 23 years. The UK comes in at seventh place, while dozens of countries, including Spain and Sweden, have never had a female head of government.
Best place to be a top dog: Thailand
Thailand has the greatest percentage of women in senior management (45 per cent). The UK did not rank in the top 20 countries, with 23 per cent of senior management made up of women. The lowest is Japan, where 8 per cent of senior management positions are held by women.
Best place for economic participation: Bahamas
The Bahamas holds the top spot globally for economic participation and opportunity for women. The UK ranks 33rd. The Bahamas has closed its gender gap by 91 per cent in the past six years, while the lowest-ranking country, Yemen, has closed only 32 per cent of its economic gender gap in the same period.
Best place to be a journalist: Caribbean
The Caribbean is the region with the highest proportion of TV, print and radio news stories reported by women (45 per cent). The worst region is Africa, with 30 per cent of stories reported by women. Europe comes in at 35 per cent. In the UK, about 9 per cent of national newspaper editors are women.
Best place for labour force participation: Burundi
Burundi in sub-Saharan Africa ranks first for labour force participation and is the only country where the female labour force participation rate (92 per cent) is higher than that of men (88 per cent). The UK is ranked 47th. The worst country is Pakistan, where the labour force is made up of four times as many men as women.
Best place for high-skilled jobs: Jamaica
Jamaica has the highest ratio of women in high-skilled jobs, such as legislators, senior officials and managers. Almost 60 per cent of these roles are filled by women. The UK is ranked 35th in the global survey, with Yemen coming last. Women there take up only 2 per cent of high-skilled jobs.