GLOBALISATION'S BROKEN PROMISE
Saturday May 26th 2007, 7:32 pm
Filed under: FEMNET, G8, economic empowerment, globalisation, inequality

There is a new article on openDemocracy this week by Roselynn Musa Advocacy Officer at the African Women’s Development and Communications Network (FEMNET) in Nairobi, Kenya.

As politicians, police and protestors make ready for the G8 summit in Germany, she challenges those directing the globalisation process to address how it affects African women’s lives, and entrenches inequality.

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In Africa, globalisation builds on a history of slavery, colonialism and exploitation – a fact many recognize to have a continuing impact on the continent’s experiences of the global economy. But globalisation also interacts with a history of gender inequality, casting a long shadow over the present and the futures of Africa’s women. This combination harshly limits the lives and hopes of the female half of the population, while holding back a whole continent’s people.

Far from being a disembodied force, globalisation takes place through people, organizations and institutions, who together determine its direction. Equality and fundamental human rights are now enshrined in the basic instruments of today’s international community and are central to our vision of a democratic society. But the fine words of these documents stand in sharp contrast to the daily reality of millions of women.

Of the 1.3 billion people living in poverty today, 70 percent are women; the majority of the world’s refugees are women; female illiteracy is invariably higher than male illiteracy. Women and girl children are treated as commodities in cross border prostitution rackets and the pornography industry. Millions of girls are still subject to genital mutilation, while women in every country are regular victims of domestic violence…

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Violence against women: a global problem
Thursday May 17th 2007, 9:19 am
Filed under: 50:50, human rights, inequality, openSummit, women's rights

End Violence Against Women

by Sarah Jackson, EVAW campaign media advisor, UK

A grim thought struck me earlier today: one of the few things that binds women together across the world is their experience of violence. Whereas many forms of gender inequality – and such violence is about inequality, believe me – are rife in some countries, areas, and social groups and all but wiped out in others, violence against women is endemic across the world. It tramples over boundaries of culture, ethnicity, age, wealth and geography, affecting women of all ages and all backgrounds in every corner of the globe, and every walk of life.

Violence against women is commonly confused with domestic violence, but it incorporates much, much more. It includes rape and sexual violence, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, stalking, sexual exploitation, crimes in the name of ‘honour’, and sexual harassment. Read the UN definition of gender-based abuse.

The sheer scale of the problem is dizzying. At least one in every three women on the planet have been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. That’s around 1 billion human beings. Or the population of Latin America, twice over. With odds like this, it could be you. Or your mother, your sister, your daughter, or your friend.

Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan described violence against women as “the most atrocious manifestation of the systemic discrimination and inequality women continue to face, in law and in their everyday lives, around the world”. And this is the crucial thing I would like the participants of G8 to recognise: violence against women is discrimination. It is caused and perpetuated by the inequality between the sexes, and prevents women from participating in society as equal citizens.

End Violence Against Women is a coalition of organisations and individuals campaigning for the UK Government to take action on all forms of violence against women by developing an integrated strategy that includes measures for prevention as well as cure. The first step, for the UK and for the rest of the world, is to see violence against women for what it is: a form of sex discrimination and a gross violation of fundamental human rights.