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#Eachforequal is this year's IWD theme

And it couldn't have come at a more potent time. We have recently entered a new decade; an era that promises many struggles for our global society, and in a way, an era that sees many of the underlying issues of humanity reach a sort of pinnacle. No longer can we avoid them. The freedom experienced like never before means more voices speak out who have been historically silenced. Women's inequality is one of the major topics we are now kneading through.

Despite the fights, the seeming equality and equal opportunities, the laws put in place to protect women against violence (in some countries), and the positions of power women currently hold the world over, women's rights to wholehearted equality are still not there.

As stated by the official global website for IWD 2020, "An equal world is an enabled world. How will you help forge a gender equal world? Celebrate women's achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality."

#EachForEqual. Read, Debate: Engage.

The good

Women make money. A lot of it.

We now know for a fact that gender equality in the workplace helps businesses thrive. We also know that women-led businesses, while receiving considerably less funding than male-led businesses, produce more revenue per dollar funded. We also know that movies made by women break blockbusters. That women have a massive purchasing power and are driving industries forward.

And yet, there continues to be a huge stigma associated with what women are capable of – that women don't make good leaders, or founders, or politicians.

The facts and stats are too vast to continue ignoring. Gender-based myths and discrimination do not only belong in the past but have been proven wrong time and time again. Gender equality will mean a thriving economic world. Now who doesn't want to get behind that?

The bad

1 in 4 women have reported to be scared of standing up for women's rights.

According to an Ipsos MORI, a global market research company, a research that surveyed women from 24 countries, including Brazil, Canada, Russia, Britain, India and Sweden, more than half of those interviewed called themselves "feminists," but a quarter said they were "scared" to speak up for women's rights. Moreover, women are often the one who are most likely to be subject to global inequalities, be affected by climate change and struggle through war and refuge.

In the global south, Women are baring a majority of the brunt for the climate crisis, with their homes and communities being impacted. Seeing the inequality of this suffering, the Indian-based and female-led organisation Mahila Housing SEWA Trust has been set up to help women improve their habitat to include, among other things: clean water, toilets, electricity, and adequate light and ventilation.

Find out how you can support the MHT and empower women in India to lift themselves out of poverty and become the foundations of their community.


Help women in India improve their habitats

by Yair Oded

MHT is an India-based, female-led non profit organisation working to empower women from poor backgrounds to improve and upgrade their habitats.
Women's Rights Around the World
Zimbabwe women

Hardships expose Zimbabwean women to “sextortion”

by Cyril Zenda

As ruthless land evictions continue in Chisumbanje, in the south-eastern part of Zimbabwe, to make way for a voracious ethanol producer, everyone feels vulnerable, but women – who have traditionally been economically and socially marginalised – find themselves in an especially desperate situation.
Afghan woemn

A personal journey for nation building

by Shadi Khan Saif

Fawzia Koofi has embarked on treacherous drive to empower Afghan women as grim uncertainties hover over her conservative country.
Bali womens rights

Ecofeminism: when women's rights meet ecology

by Magdalena Rojo

Her latest book Ecophenomenology (Ekofenomenologi) brings a different perspective on how we can approach environmental issues. Saras Dewi (36) is a philosophy teacher at the University of Indonesia, a writer, and an environmental activist from Bali. FairPlanet talked to her about her theory, about ecofeminism, and up-to-date environmental issues Bali is facing.

Eswatini women challenge oppressive laws

by Cyril Zenda

Hlengiwe Tsabedze, a married 33-year old shop-floor worker in Mbabane, the capital of the tiny southern African kingdom of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), does not appreciate the importance of the recent landmark court ruling that ungraded married Swazi women to be equal partners in marriages.
Country focus

The Kingdom of Swaziland, which was renamed by its king in 2018 to eSwatini, is one of the world's last remaining complete monarchies. King Mswati III rules over the country's 1.3 million population in complete autonomy, while the majority of the country lives in rural areas and in traditional ways. The media is almost entirely controlled by the monarchy and journalists who dare to speak out against the state face prosecution. And while the state does not restrict access to the internet, very few citizens can afford to connect to it.

According to UNICEF, "eSwatini has the highest HIV prevalence rate in the world. The HIV-Aids virus has killed countless Swazis and left thousands of orphans. Some 210,000 people are estimated to be living with HIV." Women's rights in the country are poor, with women married under the civil law provisions subject to the 'marital power' of their husbands, while they are equally not permitted to independently manage property or sign contracts. And while rape is illegal, justice is not enforced against those who commit the crime.