I have spent recent years trying to fully understand and grasp the idea of inequality. Perhaps I hold some humanistic beliefs, but I have never been able to understand how it is that humans allow other humans to suffer. I have become motivated and aware of the movement towards gender equality through powerful documentaries such as Girl Rising and thought provoking books such as Half The Sky. As a women and one who has been fortunate enough to have had a privileged upbringing, it is hard for me to fully fathom the issues that face many women and girls worldwide.
This is not to say that I have not faced injustices as a female because I have, but I have been given endless resources and opportunities to live a fortunate life. Even though I will never be able to fully relate or understand what it is like to live a life of poverty or oppression I want to try and construct ways to help other women receive the similar opportunities I was given.
At the Strong Women, Strong World luncheon in December, Lauren Bush Lauren tastefully explained that it is not charity or something on the side, helping people is something we should do because it is important to remember what we have to give. Her speech has had a large affect on how I now view the work of NGOs and charities – not merely a job but something we should do as humans. Though I will never be able to understand what it is like to be oppressed, I want to fight for the rights for those who are silenced.
A recent UN report explains that despite popular belief, this fight has caused progress around the world and nearly 1 billion people have escaped extreme poverty in the past 20 years, and child and maternal mortality have been cut by almost one half. However, according to top United Nations officials, more work remains to be done to address inequalities and ensure the rights and dignity of all, especially women and children. Though much has been done to help uplift humanity, there still is work to be done. Among the challenges discussed in the report, around 800 women die daily while giving birth; one in three women worldwide report having experienced physical or sexual abuse, and one in three girls in the developing world is married before the age of 18, despite the fact that marriage under 18 is illegal in 158 countries. I cannot ignore these drastic examples of injustices and violations of human rights. I feel that our objective has humans should be to deliver equal rights and opportunity to all. So help me, and SWSW, continue to fight for gender equality because we all have something to offer in the fight for tolerance.