It is somehow sad that women still have to be celebrated on this occasion to claim their rights to be equal. Thousands of people all over the world are tweeting and blogging today, and so do we.
The SCEME team are so excited about this year’s upcoming International Women’s Day, which will take place on 8th March 2012.
“International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday.”
We want to know about your plans for the day, so let us know how you are going to celebrate the achievements of women from all over the world! And don’t forget to follow our updates on Twitter: @SCEME_MENA
Violent conflict has plagued Yemen for months now and as a result, women and children are being pushed into the most vulnerable of positions. As stability in the country wavers, many are being forced to take refuge outside of large cities and subsequently, children are going without basic education and nutrition.
“Malnutrition rates are rising. Children are, more than ever, vulnerable to life-threatening illnesses and diseases. They are being deployed as soldiers by all warring sides, and scores have been killed in the crossfire. Many schools have been shut down,” reported Sudarsan Raghavan of the Washington Post.
Citizenship laws have long proved a difficult factor for women across the Arab world. Countries such as Lebanon and Jordan continue to implement laws that restrict women from passing on their citizenship to their children; this greatly affects Arab women who are married to foreigners.
However, on November 30th of this year, AFP reported that “The United Arab Emirates announced that children of Emirati women married to foreigners could apply for citizenship once they turned 18, moving closer to giving women the same nationality rights as men.”
Today is the 30th International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
When we set out to establish SCEME, we did so because we care deeply about the rights of women and girls in the Middle East and North Africa. Over the past year, we have been continuously shocked and saddened to read stories and gradually mounting statistics about the sexual exploitation of women, about domestic violence and honour crimes. Our investigations led us to produce Karamatuna: An Investigation into the Sex Trafficking of Iraqi Women and Girls, which has uncovered a mass of abuse of vulnerable Iraqis across the region.
But we are hopeful for the future.
In 2011, more women are employed, literate and enrol in areas of study previously deemed inappropriate for their gender; they have gained more freedom to travel independently, with laws requiring a guardian’s permission for a woman to obtain a passport have rescinded in Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar.
Women have also become more visible participants in public life. And women’s organisations across the region have become more vocal, stronger, and making monumental strides. Women’s Organisations and NGOs committed to the eradication of violence against women have seen successes in Jordan. After years of hard-fought lobbying, the Government of Jordan followed the landmark lead of Tunisia and finally enacted the Family Protection Law in 2008, and in 2009, established a specialised court in 2009 that handles cases involving honour crimes.
And, over the last few years, the condition for women in Yemen, Iraq and Palestine has even worsened. In Iraq honour killings, kidnappings and rape have vastly increased.
This can’t continue. On the International Day to End Violence against Women, please help us to do something to stop these human rights abuses and protect the vulnerable.