Why I Fight for Women
The solace of giving for causes we believe in.
These are challenging times, for all of us, in small and big ways. We have given up rights and freedoms, habits and gestures that most of us took for granted and all suffer in small and big ways.
Yet the burden has been unequally shared. Women often are paying a much higher price.
The very measures put in place to keep people safe by staying indoors have caused a dramatic increase in violence perpetuated against women and girls around the world, while access to essential life-saving services such as counselling, legal remedies and temporary refuge have been curtailed.
On the economic front, women stand to lose, as the pandemic has affected women’s job disproportionally; globally, women’s job losses due to Covid-19 are 1.8 times greater than men’s. It is not only that women have more unsecure jobs, or that they work in sectors that are more heavily hit. But the impact of the pandemic has increased the disproportionate burden of unpaid care carried by women. And there is fear that these jobs are not coming back.
In the civil space, the recession has helped populistic politicians to stay in power by curtailing women’s rights, while misogynist and sexist online abuse of women and girls is surging everywhere.
This is why I choose to donate to Fight for Women, with ActionAid.
I have heard the stories, I have seen the fight and what ActionAid does makes sense to me, because fighting for women rights needs to be at every level, and this fight is far from over.
- Everywhere, ActionAid programmes have intensified campaigns to end domestic violence targeting communities, women, men and youth; supporting anti-violence centers so that they could continue and step up support services; advocating for governments to adopt gender-sensitive measures in their COVID-19 responses, and making unpaid care a matter for public action, not a burden to be carried just by women.
- in Bangladesh, tens of thousands women working in formal and informal garment industries have learned through ActionAid’s worker cafés to stand up for their rights, and now fight for safer working conditions, fairer pay, insurances and child care.
- In Kenya this summer women of Ngaaie and Mui with the support of ActionAid traversed the highest hill in Kitui County and demanded the county government to enforce the law that gives women the right to own and inherit property and to be consulted in decisions concerning land sales.
- In Mozambique, where school girls’ clubs demanded the removal of a repressive law that obliged pregnant girls to attend only night classes, increasing their insecurity and vulnerability.
- In Ghana, ActionAid is advocating for more public resources to education, by reducing generous tax incentives, while at the same time also advising the government on incorporating provisions for early childhood care and development centers.
2020 has brought us pain but also to some of us the luxury of time and space for reflection, for what we have, for what we value and for what was superfluous.
It is an opportunity for joy and solace, in giving for causes we believe in, that will make the world a better space. My very personal plead: let that choice be Fight for Women.
References and further readings:
- ActionAid International, “2019 Annual Report”, 31/07/2020
- Anu Madgavkar, Olivia White, Mekala Krishnan, Deepa Mahajan, and Xavier Azcue, McKinsey Global Institute, “COVID-19 and gender equality: Countering the regressive effects”, 15/07/2020
- Christine Ro, BBC, “Why this recession disproportionately affects women”, 27/11/2020
- Dubravka Simonovic, UNHR Office of the High Commissioner, "COVID-19 measures are ‘gender-blind’, increase risk of violence against women, says UN expert”, 09/10/2020
- Aljazeera, “Digital misogyny: Online abuse of women surges during COVID”, 11/11/2020
- ActionAid Ghana, “Tax incentives: what tax incentives can do for basic education in Ghana”, 2020
- Ndanu-Kitui, ActionAid Kenya, “Kitui women issue Charter of demands at the peak of Ulonzo Hills”, 2020