Women hold up half the sky according to a Chinese proverb, and I might venture they may even more than that. August 26 is Women’s Equality Day. It was first established in 1971 by Rep. Bella Abzug to celebrate the passage of the 19th Amendment. Women got the right to vote 89 years ago today. Every year our president issues a proclamation for our country that “renews its commitment to freedom and justice for all our citizens.” Is it just words?
Look at some numbers from around the world (most from the Women’s Learning Partnership):
- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury and death for women worldwide.
- Only 1 in 100 battered women in the U.S. reports the abuse she suffers. Every nine seconds, a woman is battered by her domestic partner.
- Everyday, 6000 girls are genitally mutilated.
- Every year in India, 5000 brides are murdered or commit suicide because their marriage dowries are considered inadequate.
- In Russia, half of all murder victims are women killed by their male partners.
- In South Africa, a woman is raped every 80 seconds.
- In the U.S., one in five women will be victims of rape in her lifetime. A woman is raped every 3 minutes.
- Two-thirds of the world’s children who receive less than four years of education are girls.
- 600,000 women — one every minute — die each year from pregnancy-related causes. Most of these deaths are preventable.
- In the Global South, women traditionally eat last and least. They do not get more to eat even during pregnancy and nursing.
- 90% of the rural female labor force are called “housewives” and excluded from the formal definition of economic activity.
- Where women do the same work as men, they are paid 30 to 40 percent less than men.
- There is no country in the world where women’s wages are equal to those of men.
- Women produce nearly 80% of the food on the planet, but receive less than 10% of agricultural assistance.
- Women own about 1% of the world’s assets.
- Out of over 180 countries, only 13 have elected women heads of state or government.
- In the developing countries of Mozambique, Vietnam, and Namibia, 34.8%, 27.3%, and 26.9%, respectively, of seats in the lower house of parliament are held by women.
- On the other hand, in the developed nations of USA, France, and Japan, 16.3%, 12.2%, and 9.4%, respectively, of seats in the lower house of parliament are held by women.
- Between 60 million and 107 million women are “missing” from this world. In countries where women are severely devalued, they vanish.
- Investing in women and girls might have the highest return on investment in the developing world.
If you would like to do something check out this list of some amazing organizations. I am sure you will be able to find one that inspires you and your family. I know I have some more reading to do.