As we celebrate International Women’s Day, Jamaica should not forget that the legislative changes for gender based violence were tabled in parliament and are still pending.
Also, in the last year, we have seen where tonnes of women in some countries have been condemned because they were trying to be women, and not just an object that belongs to someone else.
In 2022, the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) said that 898 of the 1,560 female
applicants over the past five years were granted firearm licence. This shows that more
women have resorted to weapons to defending themselves using a gun instead being
able not to do it.
Women should be recognized and respected for their original way to deal with life, work and
social instances, bringing their contribution the way they are. While empowerment and
achievements are clear and undeniable, violence against them, especially in family context is
heavily affecting their emancipation from fear.
Abuse is a daily practice and the number of femicides reinforce the concept that man’s
supremacy is still a strong reality, especially in countries where women are considered as a
private property where weddings are decided by their parents, the right to education is still a
dream and the endorsement of models considered not respectful towards old traditions require punishment and death.
More of a hundred of girls have been poisoned in Iran to prevent them
to go to school. Some of us have so deeply internalized centuries of subordination that we have come to justify abuses. Blue eyes, bruises, broken ribs and they still state “He beats me because he loves me.”
We do need a robust campaign to educate our sisters that violence has nothing to do with love, that their fears are the effect of the insufficient engagement of our society in working on men and women together to introduce the concept of equal rights and dignity.
Women need support in their claims, they need shelters to go when the family house becomes a living hell, and they need to know that nobody will use their difficulties to take custody of their children. They need to know and trust a system where while violence is punished, instruments are offered to them to build their independence and self-awareness.
And their requested need to be honored by our government with a robust legislative frame and a consistent action directed not only to punish but to educate.
The last three years of COVID-19 has affected International Women’s Day celebrations. But
there is another virus and pandemic affecting our society and that is violence against women.
This is a worldwide virus and was dramatically increased due to COVID-19 related lockdowns
that forced men and women to live elbow to elbow without open spaces, with the loss of many jobs, and therefore independence and the possibility to make choices outside of the context of the family setting.
Women rights have significantly increased since the second World War, when their energies
were used to substitute traditional men skills to fill up the gaps and the needs of countries
where men were engaged as combatants. Women achieved awareness and learnt that they
were able to work, earn and recognize their values and their rights.
But today, most women are still discriminated at work, where female salaries are lesser than
that of men. Further, women are often asked to endorse and imitate men role models to be accepted.