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Gender Equality: a geographer's perspective

Our Year 12 geographers have been exploring gender equality across the globe.

"Human rights and its violations are a concept depicted not solely in humanitarian-based subjects but in fact, they have been evoked within different spectrums in the educational system. Be it in English Literature, where the literary work of playwrights such as Tennessee Williams, emphasised the oppression of women and the marginalised gender ideologies in society or in Geography through the teachings of Human rights.

Tennesee William’s “A Streetcar Named Desire” exposed the dominant, and repulsive character of men, starving women of their right to life and freedom of speech by silencing their suffering during sexual abuse in their marriage. This issue is still prevalent today. According to the International Labour Organization, 21 million people in the world are now known to be victims of forced labour, and 40.3 million are victims of modern slavery, 11.4 million of them being women. 42% of the 78% of victims of slavery are known to be women who suffer from sexual abuse in arranged marriages they cannot get out of according to the Global Slavery Index.

The Global Slavery Index stated that the Asia and Pacific region had a high prevalence of forced labour (4.0 per 1,000 people) compared to other regions. Within the region, North Korea, Afghanistan, and Pakistan were the countries with the highest prevalence of modern slavery. India, China, and Pakistan had the highest absolute number of people living in modern slavery and accounted for 60% of the victims in the region. The UN website states that, globally, 750 million women and girls were married before the age of 18 and at least 200 million women and girls in 30 countries have undergone FGM (female genital mutilation). One in five women and girls, including 19% of women and girls aged 15-49, have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner within the last 12 months. Yet, 49 countries have no laws that specifically protect women from such violence, hereby enforcing the movement of “women rights” being considered “human rights”. The UN website, further states that the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the risk of violence against women and girls because of lockdowns.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) has declined in recent years, and women’s representation in the political arena is higher than ever before, but the promise of a world in which every woman and girl enjoys full gender equality, and where all legal, social, and economic barriers to their empowerment have been removed, remains unfulfilled. In fact, that goal is probably even more distant than before, since women and girls are being hit hard by Covid-19."

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