Thursday, March 08, 2007

International Women's Day

Blog Against Sexism DayToday is International Women's Day, and the cool kids at Taking Place have declared it Blog Against Sexism Day.

Here are some sobering facts from the UN:

  • Violence against women is the most common but least punished crime in the world.

  • It is estimated that between 113 million and 200 million women are demographically "missing." They have been the victims of infanticide (boys are preferred to girls) or have not received the same amount of food and medical attention as their brothers and fathers.

  • The number of women forced or sold into prostitution is estimated worldwide at anywhere between 700,000 and 4,000,000 per year. Profits from sex slavery are estimated at seven to twelve billion US dollars per year.

  • Globally, women between the age of fifteen and forty-four are more likely to be maimed or die as a result of male violence than through cancer, malaria, traffic accidents or war combined.

  • At least one out of every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Usually, the abuser is a member of her own family or someone known to her. Domestic violence is the largest form of abuse of women worldwide, irrespective of region, culture, ethnicity, education, class and religion.

  • It is estimated that more than two million girls are genitally mutilated per year, a rate of one girl every fifteen seconds.

  • Systematic rape is used as a weapon of terror in many of the world's conflicts. It is estimated that between 250,000 and 500,000 women in Rwanda were raped during the 1994 genocide.

  • Studies show the increasing links between violence against women and HIV and demonstrate that HIV-infected women are more likely to have experienced violence, and that victims of violence are at higher risk of HIV infection.

And from CARE, a humanitarian organization working to fight global poverty:

  • Each year, more than 500,000 women — at least one every minute — die from pregnancy-related causes. The vast majority of these deaths occur in developing countries. An African woman's lifetime risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes is one in 16; in Asia, it's one in 65. In Europe, it's one in 1,400.

  • Women now account for almost half of all cases of HIV/AIDS. In countries with high prevalence rates, young women are at higher risk of contracting HIV than young men.

  • Of 876 MILLION illiterate adults in the developing world, two-thirds are women.

  • Of the more than 600 million school-age children in the developing world, 120 million primary school-age children are not in school; 53 percent are girls.

  • In higher education, the level of women's enrollment equals or exceeds that of men in western Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and developed regions outside western Europe. But in sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia, women's enrollment continues to lag behind, with 44 and 38 women per 100 men, respectively.

  • In Africa, women account for more than 60 percent of the rural labor force and produce 80 percent of the food. A shifting emphasis on cash crops for export means more work for women, as they also must grow food for their families.

  • Women produce half the world's food, but own only one percent of its farmland.

  • Self-employment, part-time and home-based work have expanded opportunities for women's participation in the labor force but are characterized by lack of security, lack of benefits and low income.

  • Half of the world's refugees and displaced people are women and girls. As refugees, they are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence while in flight, in refugee camps and during resettlement.


Kelly Love said...

Wow. Sobering, indeed. The numbers get larger every year and more women become statistics every day. Thanks for posting this.

Kelly O said...

What blew my mind the most: Women produce half the world's food, but own only one percent of its farmland. WTF?

Collin, Amy, Eva said...

For what it's worth, a tiny ray of hope in India (where they routinely abort girls or poison them to death shortly after birth in rural areas):

Kelly O said...

Thanks for the link! (Click here to read the article if Blogger truncated the URL.) Now I need to go fix my make-up.... *sniff*