Yesterday was Blog Against Sexism day and International Woman's Day. I didn't post anything because I was busy and also, I think my blog is mostly evidence of my views on sexism.
That's not a very powerful statement I know. If you want powerful, please go and read this post by American blogger Flea.
For now, let's take a bit of a global view on Women's Day.
Tehran, Iran, Mar. 08 – Hundreds of women gathered Wednesday afternoon in Tehran’s Laleh Park and took part in a demonstration against the Iranian government on the occasion of International Women’s Day, according to eye-witnesses.
The security forces, which had been on alert to enforce a ban on all gatherings, quickly moved in and within minutes arrested several dozen women, an eye-witness told Iran Focus.
Several women were arrested while taking photographs or filming the demonstration.
The female protestors, who were joined by a number of men supporting their cause, continued to resist attempts by the security agents and the undercover security forces, according to the report.
Many carried placards reading “Women demand freedom and equality” and “End censorship”.
Bystanders came to the aid of the women, some of whom were badly beaten by the agents of the security forces
In Afghanistan, women are now guaranteed 30 percent of seats on buses to combat the fact that men in that country don't seem to think women are worth stopping the bus for, let alone actually having a seat.
By the end of the year at least 30 percent of seats on all public buses in Afghanistan will be reserved for women under a United Nations-backed programme launched in a country where drivers now speed past stops if only women are waiting while men refuse to give up seats for women, the UN said on Tuesday. "It is a historic moment in women's life in this country," said equal opportunities minister Massouda Jalal after signing a memorandum of understanding with deputy transport minister Mohammad Waezzadah and UN Development Fund for Women programme director Meryem Aslan.
This story also contains the understatement of the century: "Under the Taliban regime ousted by the United States-led invasion in 2001, women suffered discrimination."
Discrimination eh? I suppose that's one way of looking at beatings, rapes, stonings, being forced to wear the burqa, and not being able to leave the house without the accompaniment of a man.
In China, despite the fact that female embryos are routinely aborted and female babies often abandoned, such as the esteem with which women are held in that country, a car maker has created a car specifically for women. Yes, that's right, it can be driven in high heels! Yay for equality.
Meanwhile, in South Africa, everyone's favourite rape myths continue to be perpetrated in the case of a political leader charged with rape:
"If it really happened to her, I feel sorry for her, because she's ruined somebody else's life politically," said Lindiwe Tshabalala, 46, an office manager from Pimville, Soweto. Echoing other Zuma supporters around the country, Tshabalala contends he's the victim of a complicated political conspiracy, and suggested his accuser made up or exaggerated the allegations.
"She should have screamed if this was really rape," she said, adding that, in any case, it's a women's responsibility to defend themselves. "Even with a gun, you have to come out of that without being raped. Even if he slaps you – you run away, you scream, you do whatever you can to stop him."
Around 2,000 rowdy Zuma supporters turned out at his first court appearance last month, and hurled abuse at a small group of women who carried placards proclaiming: 'Silence does not equal consent' and 'Rape is always a crime'. "Look at those women - what are they doing here? Throw them out!" yelled one man.
Still in South Africa, have you read the rape statistics from that country? Amnesty International states that:
Police statistics for the year 2003/2004 recorded 52,759 reported rapes, with the highest provincial ratio being recorded in the Northern Cape at nearly 190 incidents per 100,000 people.
And around the world, human trafficking, especially of women and children, is a huge problem. According to various organisations around the world attampeting to stamp out the practice, its practically impossible to tell how many people are trafficked world wide and what percentage are women sold into sex slavery. Estimates range from 600 000 people to 4 million trafficked annually, as this story indicates.
I could go on, but I'm not sure I have the stomach. Maybe tomorrow I'll find some cheerier stuff to post.