People not property

School is over and summer is rolling in so it’s time to make some fun plans. This summer I am going to Mombasa, Kenya with a group of teens my age from all over the world to experience firsthand the developing world’s issues and to create solutions for the problems that exist there. One of the main problems that has improved only slightly in the past few decades and is quite overlooked is the treatment of women in the third world. This is a quite overlooked topic because it is seemingly “fixed” in America but even this statement that we have accepted as fact is an altered reality. We are all oblivious to the true facts; even I didn’t realize the level of discrimination there was toward women until recently. This is why we must educate ourselves instead of accepting what others say as fact.
50 million girls and women in India alone have been murdered because of the huge and growing discrimination in the area. This was made clear to me through the documentary Petals in the Dust and then again during the 2016 Global Issues Summit that we have been overlooking the measure of female discrimination there actually is, more so in India, china, and Africa but also here in sugar land. In America, there are huge pay gaps between men and women which even exist more drastically with those that have a degree and complete education. According to the AAUW, in American economic, women with an advanced degree get 74% of what men do who also have an advanced degree and the same exact job.
There is also a growing problem of female abortion and infanticide, which is the unlawful killing of very young children. This happens because of the continuous preference of boys over girls. Girls are thought to be a liability: you have to provide for them until they are old enough to be married off then you must pay the husband’s family as is part of many cultural traditions. There is such an obvious separation such that when a girl is born or about to be born, the family mourns and instead of complimenting the mother, people say ‘sorry for your loss.’ This is why it is illegal to know the gender of the baby in those areas. Even so, many doctors provide it illegally. Girls that are born are considered trash and are treated as so. They are left beside the road, in a trash shoot, poisoned, or buried alive. If they are kept, they are named “Nakusa” or “Nakushi,” which literally means ‘unwanted.’ In 2011, 285 girls whose names were ‘unwanted’ were able to choose new names for themselves.
Women were often considered failures if they did not provide a boy child for their husband’s family and were definitely treated with disrespect because of and despite this. Women live in fear of taking the bus with the possibility of being groped or raped. Countless women live their whole lives in fear and never feel safe even in their whole house. Many have abusive husbands who beat them daily and end up with broken bones and scars, physically and emotionally. Some have even been beaten to death. They feel trapped and are not allowed to say anything because according to the culture, talking to others about what occurs inside of your household is wrong. Even the hand full that have been able to tell the police have been shot down to have to deal with it on their own.

July 2024
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