International Women’s Day

by | Mar 8, 2019 | News | 0 comments

purple balloonsInternational Women’s Day

Happy Birthday to the approximately 386,000 babies who enter the world today!   For every 100 girls, there will be 107 boys.  Some of this is due to innate biology, but regrettably selective sex abortion and the gendercide (the deliberate murder of female infants) play a significant part.  Of the baby girls who are allowed to live, it will be a matter of luck as to whether they are born into a country where the law protects them from some or all of the following:

  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Being deprived of an education (at primary, secondary or tertiary level)
  • Having the education cut short, because they are forced to work or marry
  • Being banned as females from designated public spaces and events
  • Being forced to cover their bodies outside of the home, in ways not required of their brothers
  • Being denied an equal voice in political processes
  • Being denied access to certain professions
  • Being paid less than males for the same/comparable work
  • Being denied the right to decide whether/when/with whom to marry
  • Being denied the right to decide whether/when/with whom to have sex
  • Being trapped in an unhappy or abusive marriage/family situation
  • Being denied equal legal rights and responsibilities with regard to any children they may have
  • Being abandoned by husbands/male relatives and left destitute, without legal recourse
  • Being victims of domestic violence or abuse
  • Being forbidden to travel without permission
  • Being denied access/control in relation to personal identity documents
  • Being free to choose their own religion

No human being should be subjected to any of the injustices or abuses described above. Gender issues are a subject on which everyone has an opinion in the United Kingdom, which in and of itself is positive in a democratic society, but the legal framework is the mechanism which sets polices where we have agreed to draw our collective boundaries.  Unfortunately, gender equality is still very much a work in progress, and in some respects we seem to have rocketed backwards.  For instance, toy shops in the 1980s and 1990s were not generally starkly divided into stereotypical gendered zones and nobody would have suggested that girls required pink and purple lego bricks in order to cope.  Despite these shortcomings, our legal system now protects women and girls from a whole spectrum of treatment which was accepted as normal in previous generations, and tragically is still a reality for millions of their peers in other parts of the world.

Law matters in this regard (and other human rights contexts) for three reasons:  1) It is the powerful, practical mechanism for individuals to demand protection and redress; 2) It is a means of helping attitudinal shift, and making behaviour illegal and punishable renders it less socially acceptable; and 3) It is symbolically important, as a public, formal and official statement of our shared values and lines in the sand.

All of the children born today, whether they happen to be male, female or intersex, are equally precious and should be welcomed with joy as a unique gift to the human family.  Legal protection and equality should not be a lottery, and we all share the responsibility for doing what we can towards changes for the better.

Related articles

Abortion on grounds of the sex of the foetus (UK Government 27/8/15)

Nearly 386,000 children will be born worldwide on New Year’s Day, says UNICEF UNICEF (18/1/18)

Why are more boys born than girls? (Live Science 9/9/11)


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