Janne Robberstad

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Women´s day

By spotogspindel | March 8, 2010

Usually I write about creative themes, one way or the other, but since today is the International Working Women´s day, I want to address this theme, by translating part of a list made by Norwegian CARE about the world´s worst countries to live in for women and why. Simply because the world isn´t always beautiful, and it won´t change by itself…

(By clicking on the picture, you get a link to different organizations working with women-related issues in the following countries)

1. Afghanistan

Two women die every hour giving birth in Afghanistan. Violence against women is common, 9 of 10 women are victims of domestic violence. There is a great resistance against girls getting an education. In 2009 a law passed that legalized rape in marriage, and accept child-wedlock. Women need permission from her husband to get an education or to work. Women don´t have the right to inherit anything, and therefore also the right to take care of her children if her husband dies. If caught as an adulterer (even though it´s through rape), the  woman will probably be stoned to death, and the man will walk free.

Afghan women lining up for food during the Taliban regime. (UNHCR Photo)

2. Somalia

Girls in Somalia are married at a very young age. Violence against women and children are very common. There is no national justice-system in the country, and the regional laws are very gender discriminating. Genital mutilation is common, about 98% women are circumcised.

Kenyan women demonstrate against rape in Darfur, Sudan

Kenyan women demonstrate against rape in Darfur, Sudan: Violence against women is becoming an increasingly public issue across Africa.

3. Congo

Every day about 36 women are raped in Congo, half of them between the age of 10 and 17. Rape is a tactical part of the warfare in Congo, made to humiliate, terrorize and spread fear in the society. Sexual violence also prevents peace and security in the conflict-areas. Raped women and girls are often stigmatized and banished from their family. A lot of them have to marry their rapist, to prevent bringing shame over their family.

Photos by Lynsey Addario and Ron Haviv

4. Sierra Leone

90% of women in this country have HIV, due to massive rape being used as a weapon during the civil war. 12% of the women die during pregnancy and birth. Over 25% of children die before the age of 5. 24% of women can read and write.

5. Niger

In the world´s poorest country, 62% live below the poverty limit. This means great health difficulties and little food. Only 4% of women have access to birth control, and 67% of births happen without professional healthcare. Girls marry young, 75% before the age of 18. 14% die due to pregnancy, birth or illegal abortion.

Women and children queue up to receive food at a distribution centre in the village of Yama in Niger. The aid operation has reached only a fraction of the needy since relief efforts expanded last month.

Women and children queue up to receive food at a distribution centre in the village of Yama in Niger.Photo: Reuters

6. Yemen

Women can´t leave the house without permission from a male relative, are often arrested on the street even with this permission, and are generally vied as male property. 71% of women are illiterate. Many girls are forced into marriage at the age of 12. They often have children before they are fully developed themselves, which leads to a high mortality-rate and serious health problems. Yemen is according to the UNs Gender Empowerment-list the country in the world with the biggest political and financial difference between women and men.

Yemen child brides. Image: IRIN

7. Bangladesh

Women in Bangladesh have few rights in society, legally, politically and socially. Next after Yemen on UN`S Gender Empowerment list. Women are´nt allowed to own land or run a business.50% of the girls are married before they are 18, and 80% give birth without health-personnel to help them.


This is harsh reading. I had several wake-up calls just researching this post.

Norway is one of the world´s top countries when it comes to equal rights based on gender, and I am happy to live here where I have so many possibilities and rights. Women can stay at home for a year with full salary after giving birth, for instance. But there is still a 15% salary-gap, that frankly shouldn´t be there. So we still have a road to travel here too.

A few more facts from CARE International:

Six out of ten of world’s poorest people are still women and girls

Two thirds of all children shut outside the school gates are girls

The majority of civilian casualties in conflicts are women and children

Sexual violence is increasingly used as a method of war. In Rwanda, up to 500,000 women were raped during the 1994 genocide. In Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, an estimated 60,000 women were raped during the 1990s conflict.

After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the death rate of women was at least three times higher than that of men in some communities

Women own just 1 percent of land in the world, according to UNDP, while they produce most of the food worlwide

Every minute, another woman dies in pregnancy or childbirth

So much to do, so many ways to do it! Come on girls, let´s make that change! Find one way of doing just one thing. We can make a difference.

Topics: Diverse | 5 Comments »

5 Responses to “Women´s day”

  1. Jenea Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 21:19

    It’s so interesting information! Thanks for all this links! =) I am so surprised that you know about this holiday too!

    PS please look on my last post from my blog!!!

  2. lulu Says:
    March 10th, 2010 at 05:36

    Thanks for posting this, Janne – incredible information. It makes me realize how much I take for granted and that I should be more grateful for the freedoms I have.

  3. debra Says:
    March 11th, 2010 at 16:15

    This is an important post. We become so immersed in our own lives that we lose sight of the struggles of others. Thank you.

  4. namra Says:
    October 31st, 2010 at 00:23

    ur wrong about bangladesh women has a lot of rights and own land go to school do everything they please. don’t trust this website.

  5. spotogspindel Says:
    October 31st, 2010 at 15:33

    Thank you for pointing this out to me, I value your opinion.
    I´m glad to hear women have lots of rights in Bangladesh.
    I have never been to Bangladesh myself, and so I trusted the website of this Norwegian charity organization.
    In all countries, rich or poor, it seems there is still a lot of things left to do, before men and women are truly equal in rights. I suspect this goes for both our countries, and we should not rest in this fight against any kind of oppression, be it toward gender, age, race, religion, political views, social status and so on.