2017 could well be dubbed the ‘Year of the Woman’. Or perhaps, it could be better described as the “Year of the Angry Women’. From politics, to sexual harassment, to exposing inequalities of pay, abuse, and discrimination, Women came together to tell their stories loudly and fearlessly.
It’s almost funny. We think we live in the modern world and yet more than 100 years after women were first ‘granted’ the right to vote, so many women all over the world are still not respected and treated like equals. Too many, are still afraid to speak the truth; still afraid to do something that might anger the husband, the father, the brother, the male boss; still not allowed to spend the money they earn the way they want to; still subjugated, suppressed and abused.
Indeed in our modern world:
- Every minute, somewhere a young girl becomes a child bride.
- Approximately 35 per cent of women have experienced physical or sexual violence, and more than 70 per cent of women have experienced gender-based violence in some crisis settings.
- In the least developed countries, barely 60 per cent of girls complete primary school.
- Young women are less likely to obtain stable employment and find formal work as compared to men with the same skills or education.
- At least 200 million girls and women have undergone female genital mutilation.
- A women’s average earnings are almost half those of men.
- Women take on more unpaid work like care giving and household chores. On average, worldwide, men only do 34% of the unpaid work that women do. Sadly, research shows that this gender imbalance starts at a young age, with girls spending 30% more of their time on unpaid work than boys do.
- A country like India reports that up to 8 million female fetuses may have been aborted over the previous decade.
Time is up! We have the momentum. With the #metoo movement and #timesupnow, we have the opportunity to spread awareness, to join the conversation, to speak up. Men and women need to have the courage to expose and hold perpetrators and abusers accountable for their actions.
Let’s use this momentum to bring about a cultural shift towards male accountability and gender equality in our society. Let’s actively participate in this revival, lock hands in solidarity and be there and support every woman who feels vulnerable. Let’s all firmly acknowledge that Time is up. Let’s all truly aim to live in a modern world devoid of any gender abuse or inequalities.
To achieve this, we need both men and women to take up the cause. As Prince Harry said at a recent speech in Nepal, “ We won't unlock (these) opportunities for young women and girls unless we can change the mind-set of every family and community. To achieve this, it cannot just be women who speak up for girls."
Yes, It is no longer okay, to ‘Not say the truth’; It is no longer okay to stay silent as you witness unwritten rules being broken; It is no longer okay to say, “It's not my business”.
Times Up dear friends, TIME is UP!