In 2012, a 14-year-old Pakistani girl on her way to school was shot at point-blank range by a militant group, which wanted to punish her for standing up for the rights of women to education! This horrific incident may have won Malala Yousafzai, who miraculously survived the dastardly attack, a great deal of international recognition and a Nobel Prize – but she and all of us must continue her crusade to better the lives of other girls around the world.
Over the ages, women have faced gender bias and various barriers to equality. We’ve had to fight for a lot of things, such as the right to education, the right to property, the right to vote and now, even in the most developed of countries, the right to equal pay for equal work. We struggle for equal access to jobs and freedom from sexual harassment and violence at home as well as outside it. And we’re still fighting for basic human rights in some countries.
Take a look at some universal conditions of life, which thwart the aspirations of women and rob them of the ability to reach their potential:
Some of these problems are first world problems as some women struggle to achieve bigger and better goals, protest against the glass ceiling or eliminate gender discrimination which stops them from achieving their professional goals. Others are third world problems where scarce resources are reserved for men, and women are deprived of access to education, employment and other basic needs like better livelihood or even better food and sanitation.
Last week, India announced the decision to induct women in all military combat roles, which means interested Indian women will now be able to fly warplanes, serve on submarines, drive tank units and fight in combat. The world woke up to the fact that India leads in this matter as few countries allow their women into infantry and armored units. Skeptics may want to question if any women will opt for such roles, and even if they did, would rather wait until they can see how the women enjoy their work and succeed at it. But there’s no doubt that this recognizes that women deserve true equality as few things do!
So, are you ready to drop the stereotypes of female inferiority from your mind to stand up and be counted in the cause? If so, join the pledge!
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