The focus of this yearís International Womenís Day is to empower women in rural settings and in this way come one step closer to bringing an end to poverty. Although in the UK, we donít often have to deal with many of the challenges these women have to face, itís still important to understand that we are all fighting for the same thing, to simply be able to live equally to men, be healthy and be able to lead the lives we want to lead on our terms.
Women in Swaziland still seen as possessions
In Swaziland women are still viewed as possessions, bound by duty and archaic traditions and itís believed that this is the reason this small African nation has the highest HIV rate in the world. In a country where two thirds of the population live on less than a £1 a day, life is difficult, in particular for women, as female citizens canít own land or there is almost no family planning support in place.
More women in the UK workforce
Thanks to changing womenís rights and feminist campaigners in the UK, the number of women in the countryís work force is at a 25 year high. Seeing this positive shift in female empowerment, even political leaders such as the prime minister and other political figures are attempting to position themselves to appeal more to female voters and their interests.
Sudan has the highest maternal mortality rate
South Sudan, recently announced a new country, has committed itself to international conventions of womenís rights. However, Sudan still has the highest maternal mortality rate in the in the world and female circumcision is still widely practiced. There is also no sex education system as this is said to lead to adultery.
Australian women are being encouraged to enter male fields of work
In Australia, where they currently have their first female prime minister in power, women are being encouraged to play rugby, get into mining and even to become involved in international peace keeping initiatives.
The above examples illustrate that in some parts of the world, women donít have many of the basic rights that should simply be part of being a woman, such as having control over your own sex life, while other countries demonstrate why womenís rights are worth fighting for. Some governments find it difficult to approach the topic of Ďfeminismí, but itís undeniably important, even in developed countries, as Meg Ryan once put it, if you empower women, you can change the world. Happy International Womenís Day!