How The Other Half Lives

Sent to me by my dear Indian cousin, this article provides encouraging and troubling insight into the situation of women around the world. Journalists, health care professionals, academics and policymakers were asked to rank  G20 countries in terms of the experience of women. The results are interesting:

Canada ranked 1st.

The U.S. ranked 6th.

And India ranked 19th. After Saudi Arabia(!).

To be fair, this ranking is based on people’s perceptions. The UN Gender equality index has the order slightly shuffled, but overall the findings seem to be accurate.

I would never describe myself as a feminist. The only -ist I am is probably a slacktivist. And dessert-ist. But I am a human, and as such, it troubles me that as many as half of the population of the second largest country face injustice or mistreatment. Let me be clear: there are large parts of the population of India where the realities of child marriage, forced labor or wife-burnings are as unthinkable as they are in Canada. But hold your protest and listen to the voices of those who are often voiceless.

It’s interesting that access to abortion is considered something that makes women’s experience better, as females are systematically aborted around the globe. In a previous post, I mentioned the documentary, It’s A Girl, which explores the “missing” 200 million girl babies or, “gendercide”. I’m still not sure how to react, what to do with this information, or what my role is.

But I do know this. I care about women. My Mom is a woman. My sister is. My Nan is. My mother-in-law, sister-in-law and aunts are all women. So are some of my best friends.

Sound obvious? Because it is. We all love women. I have grown attached to lots of Indian women. The question is, how do I respond?

 “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never again say that you did not know.”
― William Wilberforce

Did this offend you? Make you angry? Do you have any thoughts about how to make the world a place which treats women fairly and kindly? Please share!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Beth (@bethaf)
    Jun 13, 2012 @ 22:16:32

    Ah, I have SO many thoughts. The brief overview is:

    1. I have been thinking more and more about women & the collective experiences of women. I think it’s because I’m FINALLY feeling like I’m a woman and I have a voice and an equal right to be heard.

    2. I am INCREDIBLY grateful that I live in the #1 country. Because even in this #1 country, I’ve experienced gender bias, felt unsafe, been demeaned and objectified. I feel immense sympathy and sadness for women in other countries.

    3. There has been recent local discussion on gender-based abortions – do you know they offer them here in TO?

    4. Remind me to tell you about a girl named S when we hang out sometime.

    5. If being a feminist means believing in the value of women, their equality to men and their right to live in safety, then I am one.


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