Are Circumstances for Women Getting Better or Worse?

In the age of the internet, everything happens in a political and social climate plays out on a global stage and involves your standpoint on those issues. So, physically and mentally, circumstances for women depend on how you think of them and what legal system you’re under.

Are women moving forward or backward? That might just depend on the country. The French National Assembly passed a bill calling to fine catcallers among other measures to crack down on sexual assault, hoping to make the streets safer for women. Similar legislation to certain aspects of the French bill (raising the age of consent and lengthening time period of prosecuting child abuse) is on the books in Norway, thanks to measures that mandate consent. Meanwhile, the Trump administration revived policies of Reagan’s presidency which many critics call the “Global Gag Rule”, an effort to reduce healthcare for impoverished women and prevent them from being educated on all their options. While France takes important steps into a future with better circumstances for women, Americans move back.

Thankfully, these changes are driven by women with more power than ever. And, though the numbers may seem small, prevalent women of color have engineered them. The newly minted Duchess of Sussex has demonstrated a commitment to gender equality, championing efforts to aid women whose health needs are not being met. Stateside, history-maker Stacey Abrams scored a party nomination in the primaries that could make her the nation’s first African-American female governor. It’s about time, isn’t it?

Photo by Monica Melton on Unsplash

Former president Jimmy Carter classified the treatment of women and girls as a human rights issue and the most major issue in the world today. Political leaders- even the old white men- and youth- even the people who think they’re powerless- have to speak out about this situation that has long demanded we act. That’s exactly what we see happening if only we care enough to look around us. Gender-offensive stereotypes have recently come under intense scrutiny on what would previously have been considered typical advertisements and child marriage is on a decline thanks to legal measures taken by numerous countries such as Norway this year and US states such as Tennessee.

But steps forward are accompanied by steps backward. In the business sphere, Stacey Cunningham has made revolutionary advances for women with her appointment as COO of the New York Stock Exchange. While the financial sector remains male-dominated, it faces an exciting time while a major company embraces its first female leader. However, the judicial powers of the USA recently reached a decision that enables corporations to forbid victims of workplace sexual harassment from taking any collective action that would essentially introduce some legal accountability into the situation. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was vehemently opposed to the verdict reached, but this step backward has been taken for men to continue mistreating women in many of the same ways supposedly done away with, but her disapproval was unable to produce a majority in the Supreme Court.

Photo by T. Chick McClure on Unsplash

So, are circumstances for women in first world countries being improved or degraded? I would say, this depends on your viewpoint, and I try to remain optimistic. As for other global environments…

If you were displeased with the Trump administration take on “recycling” being to implement policy from the 1980s, you’ll look with similar favor or Iran’s mandates for women in place since 1979. While some of us fight for rights to our health, women in Tehran protest restrictions on their freedom; in case you were unaware, they are required by law to wear headscarves regardless of personal belief. Those who fail to comply are punished; just look to the records of women who’ve recently been arrested for protests comprised of removing hijabs. I found it inspiring to look at the photos taken of these women in the act of their small yet powerful resistance to oppression dominating their society.

Women may not be powered by law everywhere, but they are united in empowerment that stems from something that cannot be taken, broken, or voided: their own courage. Feminism, sparked from this source, continues to fuel it as women struggle for equal rights, freedom, and safety.

“Group of women standing and sitting against a white brick wall on the sidewalk in Uptown” by Clarke Sanders on Unsplash

Thank you for reading, as always. Feel free to leave me your thoughts on the topic and let me know how you feel about it.

…BRD…

I write poetry, prose, and personal pieces. All images are mine unless indicated otherwise. Feel free to leave feedback on my work anytime; I hope you enjoy.

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