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Oppression of Women Around the World

Since man and woman were created, women have been considered inferior, incapable of
doing things other than domestic chores, and the only purpose of our existence has been to have
and raise children. As time continued, women began to rebel against this oppressive mindset, and
started a movement known as Feminism. Feminism is a political, cultural, and economic
movement aimed at establishing equal rights and legal protection of women. But, as the feminist
movement as grown, and recognized more problems in society the feminist movement continues
to not only advocate for women’s rights, but also to stop masculinity, and to also fight for the
equality of the LGBTQ community. Although there is a lot of controversy when coming to the
feminist movement from people who stereotype us, or have misconceptions and do not educate
themselves, in the U.S we have liberated, and have changed many women’s lives. With that
being said, in the U.S the feminist movement is still fighting for equality and rights being that
women are still constantly being treated as inferior. While watching “Girl Rising” in class, I
learned that girls around the world are being oppressed. So, when receiving this assignment, I
knew exactly what I wanted to do. Throughout this paper I will be analyzing women in the most
oppressive countries around the world, and the different movements in each of these countries
that help fight oppression.
The country that is ranked number one for the worst country for women to live in is
Yemen. (USA TODAY) Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world with limited
opportunities and resources, high unemployment, widespread corruption, and rampant human
rights abuses. Women in Yemen are perceived and treated as inferior to men in most spheres of
society, and have limited access to health care, economic opportunities and education. Women
are controlled by their husbands, and cannot leave or travel without their permission. They also

cannot marry without the permission of a male relative and if she has no father, she must ask her
brother or cousin, and if she has no male relatives, she must turn to a judge. Of the 301
Parliamentarians, just one is a female, and women who are employed outside of the home tend to
be in agricultural labor positions, and get paid very little on a day-to-day basis. (Vogl) The World
bank has indicated that in Yemen, males receive 5.9 years of education while on average the
women only achieve 1.3 years. Also, in the work force women only represent 6%, and the
Illiteracy rate in Yemen is at 52% and when coming to the women it is as high as 70%.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, 14% of girls in Yemen are married before
reaching 15, and 52% are married before 18. (Alex) Yemen also has one of the highest maternal
mortality rates in the world with a one in thirty-nine chance of dying in pregnancy over her
lifetime. (Alex) But, although the Yemeni women face all of this oppression, they still have the
will power to fight. Support Yemen is a popular campaign that advocates for free mandatory
education and adequate health care for all females, setting a minimum age of marriage at 18
years old, criminalizing domestic violence, as well as 30% quota for women in all decision
making positions. They have a twitter and Facebook page, and their website is
supportwomen.org. Support Yemen is an “independent media collective engaged in using video
to tell their under-told and under-heard struggles.” The people who make up the group are young
Yemeni female and male organizers, activist, journalist, videographers, photographers and
bloggers who are passionate about “using creative communication strategies as a tool for social
change.” (Womens)
Another country where women are terribly oppressed is in Mali. 91.4% of women
reported to have experienced some degree of Female Genital Mutilation, a number that hadn’t
fallen since statistics began. 71% of women are married before 18, and just 25% of women are

illiterate. (Alex) Recently the president of Mali announced that he is not going to sign the
country’s new family law. Under this law a woman no longer required to obey their husbands,
instead husbands and wives owe each other loyalty and protection. Women get greater
inheritance rights, and the minimum age for girls to marry in most circumstances is raised to 18.
This law would have changed so many young girls and women’s lives and the president of Mali
declined it. In addition, 1 in 10 dies in pregnancy or childbirth, and 60% of women with no
education agree that a husband has the right to beat his wife. (USAID) Starting at the age of 15
about 4 in 10 women experienced physical violence in which, 65% was inflicted by their
husbands or most recent sexual partners. More than 10% of women between the ages 15-49 years
reported being victims of sexual violence at some point in their lives and 25% of women have
been physically injured as a result of domestic violence in the last 12 months. (USAID) Members
of the peace corps around the world, especially from areas such as the United States, England,
and other countries considered dominant, have been introducing what the concept of feminism is,
and how they can safely, but efficiently advocate for women’s rights. Numbers have increased
from 10-13% of women in politics in Mali which is a huge improvement. (UNCIEF)
Pakistan is ranked number 2 for the worst countries to live in by USA TODAY. The
female-to-male income ratio is 0.18 tied at the third worst in the world. The labor force
participation is 86% male, and 25% female, and women only represent 21% of parliament.
(Alex) Pakistan is among the nations with the widest disparities between men and women in
economic and opportunity, and education. Just 67% of school-aged girls in Pakistan attended
primary school, and that figure decreases to 31% for secondary school. (Person) While boys
were 77% and 41% respectively. Pakistan also a huge literacy rate gap between males and
females with just 42% being able to read vs. 67% of men. (Person) In addition, violence against

women have increased at least seven percent over the last year. Thousands of women are
kidnapped, murdered and raped in Pakistan every year. Discriminatory laws, such as the Hudood
Ordinances, denies women their constitutional right to gender equality, and a gender-insensitive
and dysfunctional criminal justice system has failed to protect women’s rights and lives. In some
communities’ informal justice systems such as jirgas, all male councils, have sentenced serval
women to death for dishonoring their family and have given away females, often minors, to
settle tribal disputes. (Aurat) Many women have come together in Pakistan to fight for equality.
One common group is known as Aurat. Aurat was established in 1986, as a national, non-profit,
non-governmental organization under the societies registration act of 1860. They are committed
to creating widespread awareness and commitment for a just democratic and caring society in
Pakistan, where women and men and recognized as equals. (Aurat) Over the last 30 years, Aurat
Foundation has become to be recognized nationally and internationally as one of the leading
institutions creating, facilitating, and strengthening civil society groups and networks promoting
trust and collaboration among citizens to mobilize public pressure for women’s empowerment in
country.
Chad is one of the lowest-rated countries on the United Nation’s Human Development
Index. Although women do have work opportunities and the income gaps are not especially large
due to the countries heavy reliance on agriculture, it is ranked as the worst country in the world
for gender-driven disparities in educational attainment. (Chad) Just 28% of women in the country
could read and only 55% of school-age girls were enrolled in primary school, and 5% in
secondary school, both among the worst rates in the World. (USA) 3 out of 10 women are
married before the age of 15, and 49% of girls between 15 and 19 years of age were married,
divorced or widowed. (UNCIEF) Polygamy affects more than one third of married women, and

according to tradition, only men have parental authority and, in case of divorce, mothers can only
obtain custody of children up to the age of 6 years old. (Africa) Violence against women is also
highly prevalent. Although a recent law on reproductive health prohibits some forms of violence
against women such as female genital mutilation, early marriage and domestic and sexual
violence, decrees implementing this law have never been punished. This law also doesn’t protect
women from incest, forced marriage, marital rape or sexual harassment. (Africa) There are also
no facilities to support women who are victims of violence. Female genital mutilation is still
practiced throughout the country and it is estimated that almost half of the women in Chad have
been subjected to a more or less severe form of genital mutilation. Today there are many women
speaking out against the violence and oppression they face regardless of the consequences. But
while many women are speaking out, especially in the city of Guelendeng’s, but many more
women around the country suffer in silence. Human rights activists say support from the
authorities is critical to protecting women’s rights, and has asked for support from UNFPA, and
UNCIEF. (Fighting) Hopefully with these resources the women of Chad will one day be treated
as equals.
India’s vast size and strongly rooted history in patriarchy means conditions for women
vary quite a bit from one end to the other. Equal rights exist for women according to the
constitution, but difficulties for Indian women are still plentiful-68% of women in the world’s
second largest nation suffer from some sort of domestic violence, and it continues to grow.
(Person) Dated traditions also attempt to discourage giving birth to daughters, and 300 to 600
thousand pregnancies with female fetuses are terminated each year, according to The Lancet.
There are regions where fewer than 800 girls are born for every 1000 boys. (CNN) It is estimated
that India has been losing up to 12 million baby girls over the last three decades. Women are also

seen as subordinate and inferior to men. Much of the discrimination against women arises from
India’s dowry tradition, where the bride’s family gives the grooms family money and or gifts.
Although dowries were made illegal in 1961 the law is almost impossible to enforce, and the
practice persist for most marriages. Strong patriarchal traditions persist in many societal parts,
with women’s lives shaped by customs that are centuries old. Women at a young age are often
regarded as a liability and conditioned to believe that they are inferior and subordinate to men,
whereas sons might be idolized and celebrated. One-third of adult women are illiterate, and
spousal rape is not illegal. (The) Women only represent 29% of the workforce and only 7% of the
Indian police force is female. (CNN) According to the New York Times, the elected head of the
village council, his nephew and two other men allegedly abducted a 15-year-old girl, beat her,
and raped her, then was dropped off outside her village. After these events, and more that have
occurred, the women’s movement has been in India has been in full force. (Where)They have
achieved much, but many of the activist and scholars state that they have a long way to go.
(India) The women’s movement is grappling with ever-new problems as vast economic and
social changes sweep the country while old mindsets steeped in patriarchy still prevail.
When watching Girl Rising in class, I became intrigued as to how women are oppressed
around the world. When doing research, I looked into the different countries such as India, Mali,
Pakistan, Yemen and Chad. I found horrifying statistics on things ranging from education, labor,
pay gaps, and domestic and sexual violence throughout all of these countries. But despite all of
these hardships, in each and every one of these countries there are strong and beautiful women
who are working hard for equality and to make a difference in the lives of the women of their
country. Women have been oppressed for centuries, and regardless of whatever situation women
have endured, we have persevered, and prevailed. Like Nancy Pelosi states, "Women are leaders

everywhere you look—from the CEO who runs a Fortune 500 company to the housewife who
raises her children and heads her household. Our country was built by strong women, and we
will continue to break down walls and defy stereotypes."

Works Cited
1.

Vogl, Martin. "Mali Women's Rights Bill Blocked." BBC News. BBC, 27 Aug. 2009.

Web. 14 Apr. 2016.
2. ""Women’s Rights." SupportYemen RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2016Yemen: The Worst
Place for Women." Counterfire. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2016.
3. Person, Diana Pearl, and Http://www.marieclaire.com/author/4012/diana-pearl/. "The 10
Countries Where It's THE WORST to Be a Woman." Marie Claire. N.p., 04 June 2014.
Web. 27 Apr. 2016.
4. Alex, and Er E.M. Hess, 24/7 Wall St. "The 10 Worst Countries for Women." USA Today.
Gannett, 29 Nov. 2014. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.
5. "Chad." UNICEF. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.
6. CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.
7. "Where Is India's Feminist Movement Headed?" India Ink. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.