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10 Worst Countries For Women

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Sep 01, 2018

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  • 10 Worst Countries For Women
  • 10. Iran
  • Since the revolution of 1979, Iran has significantly reverted political trends towards gender equality.
  • In 1981, the United Nations brought into effect the CEDAW treaty, which aimed to establish
  • a universal set of rights for women. To date, Iran are one of just 5 member states not to
  • have signed the treaty.
  • This has all lead women to be significantly undervalued by Iranian law. For example, women
  • are unable to leave the country without the permission of a husband or father. Women are
  • so undervalued in court that their testimonies are often given half the weight of a mans,
  • and not accepted at all for certain crimes.
  • Despite this, new penal code introduced in 2012 established the female age of criminal
  • responsibility at just 8 years 9 months. Law even dictates that if an Iranian man finds
  • his wife cheating, he has the right to kill her and her lover.
  • 9. Afghanistan
  • Before the Taliban rule in 1996, Afghanistan was a reasonably progressive country. Its
  • women first received the vote in 1919 and in 1923, their first constitution guaranteed
  • equal rights for women. The Taliban stripped many of these rights and implemented a strict
  • dress code for women.
  • Since US intervention ended the Taliban rule in 2001, laws have returned to more equal
  • ground, but struggle to be enforced. According to Human Rights Watch, a third of women are
  • still married before 18. This often forces them out of education, leaving an average
  • female education of just 4 years, where 63% of women are illiterate.
  • This leads to just 16% of Afghan women being employed, giving them control of just 4% of
  • the country’s finances. All this creates a culture where men have more value than women,
  • in which 60% of women in Afghanistan will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.
  • 8. Syria
  • Since 2011, civil war has sent Syria into one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern
  • history. The conflict has perhaps been hardest on the women of the country, who have seen
  • significant rises in gender-based violence and secret prisons, where they suffer torture
  • and malnutrition.
  • Nurse Rima Mulla Othman found herself in one of these prisons in 2015 for the crime of
  • tending to the injured in Deir ez-Zor. Despite her protest, her three-month-old son remained
  • imprisoned with her until their release in 2017. The boy’s first word was ‘prison’,
  • and his mother was so malnourished upon release he was taken to an orphanage until she recovered.
  • According to the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, a quarter of syrian
  • women experience violence by an intimate partner and only 17% regard their community as safe.
  • However, most are in no position to do anything about it, as just 12% of Syrian women are
  • employed.
  • 7. Saudi Arabia
  • In 2015, Saudi Arabia took a famous step forward by allowing women to vote for the first time.
  • Two years later, they went on to legalise women getting driving licences. This may give
  • the impression of a country on its way to gender equity, but it leaves out what Saudi
  • women are still unable to do.
  • Women in Saudi Arabia have long been treated legally as minors, whose male guardians are
  • known as ‘Mahrams’. These laws were loosened in 2018, but women still need permission from
  • a father, husband or even son just to apply for passports, open a bank account, get married
  • and even get certain surgeries.
  • This legal inequality carries through to the court, where a woman’s testimony carries
  • half the weight of a mans. Women in Saudi Arabia don’t even have the freedom of wearing
  • anything. Historically, women who don’t wear full abaya robes in public spaces face
  • beatings by the religious ‘Mutaween’ police.
  • 6. Egypt
  • Despite campaigns from the US and UN to improve gender equality in the country, Egypt remains
  • one of the hardest places in the world to live as a woman. Not only do Egyptian laws
  • not mandate equal pay, but they also don’t have equal legal rights when it comes to marriage
  • or divorce.
  • But these issues may be least of their worries, according to the UN’s 2017 Gender Equality
  • Study in the Middle East and North Africa. Of the 10,000 people surveyed, 50 percent
  • of men believed that women deserve to be beaten sometimes, and a third of women even agreed.
  • The country is also one of the leaders in the horrific practice of Female Genital Cutting.
  • Unicef found that over 70% of Egyptian men believe it should continue, and despite banning
  • the procedure in 2007, they also found over 87% of women aged 15-49 had been subjected
  • to the act as of 2015.
  • 5. Yemen
  • Already one of the poorest Arab countries, Yemen has also been locked in a devastating
  • Civil War since 2015. The sense of lawlessness that now prevails in the country has significantly
  • hurt Yemeni women. In 2017, the United Nations Population Fund found that roughly 2.6 million
  • women and girls in Yemen find themselves at risk of gender-based violence, and 52,000
  • are at risk of sexual violence.
  • Even before, the country hadn’t been a haven for women. Yemen has no women in parliament,
  • and has never had a female head of state. Thus, women aren’t legally mandated to equality
  • in terms of pay, divorce and custody rights, and need a man’s permission to marry.
  • As a result, the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security found that Yemeni
  • women control roughly 1% percent of the country’s finances. All this landed Yemen last place
  • of 144 countries on the 2017 edition of the annual Global Gender Gap Report.
  • 4. Niger
  • Women in Niger are afforded scarcely few rights, but have little opportunity to improve their
  • circumstances, based on the scarcity of their education. They receive an average 3 years
  • of education, and 81% of women aged 20-24 have no education at all. According to the
  • ONE campaign, this leaves 83% of women aged 15 to 24 illiterate in the country.
  • Instead of receiving education, girls in Niger are frequently given the role of wife from
  • a young age, hundreds of whom have been sold illegally to their husband. This adds to a
  • culture which gives Niger the highest rate of child marriage in the world.
  • According to a 2017 UNICEF study, 3 out of every 4 Niger women will be married before
  • their 18th birthday. 28% will even marry before the legal age of 15, and Save the Children
  • found that one in five adolescent women in Niger will give birth each year.
  • 3. Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Despite being rich in natural resources, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of
  • the world's least developed countries. According to Peace Women, 61.2% of Congolese women live
  • underneath the poverty threshold, a whole 10% more than their male counterparts.
  • As a result, the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security calculated that
  • women in the country control just 9% of its finances. This financial disparity is also
  • reflected in the significant differences in power Congolese women experience. The annual
  • Georgetown index also estimated that 64% of women in the Congo experience intimate partner
  • violence in their lifetime.
  • The country was also described by one UN representative in 2010 as the ‘rape capital of the world’.
  • This epidemic was investigated by a study published in the American Journal of Public
  • Health. The study estimated that as of 2011, a staggering 12% of Congolese women have been
  • raped, equating to about 48 women per hour.
  • 2. Pakistan
  • The country of Pakistan doesn’t have any laws banning discrimination when hiring women,
  • nor does it mandate that they recieve equal pay. It was only in 2017 that Pakistani law
  • offered free medical care to victims of acid attacks. Hundreds of these disfiguring attacks
  • take place every year, the majority to women.
  • At the hands of ex partners and disapproving families, women also face the illegal ‘honor
  • killings’ which take the lives of around 1000 women a year, but largely go unreported
  • or investigated. Often, these women were murdered simply for exercising their right to choose
  • who they marry.
  • Despite this legal right, society offers women little choice, and 12% of Pakistani women
  • aged 18-49 were married as children, translating to almost 5 million women. Pakistan did seem
  • to be taking progressive steps when Benazir Bhutto was elected Prime Minister in 1988,
  • but she too was assassinated in 2007 after a fall from power.
  • 1. Sudan
  • The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security calculate that women in Sudan
  • spend an average of just 3 years in education. Subsequently, they control just 10% of the
  • country’s finances. But life in Sudan is perhaps most hard not just for women, but
  • for married women.
  • According to UNICEF, 34% of Sudanese women aged 20 to 24 were already married by the
  • time they were 18. Suspiciously, 34% is the same as the number of Sudanese women aged
  • 15-49 who believe a partner is justified in hitting his wife. This all gives an idea of
  • the indoctrination the country’s women face.
  • This is reflected in the 90% prevalence of Female Genital Cutting and laws which dictate
  • that womens consent doesn’t have to be recognised by her husband. Women who try to fight their
  • partners off are regularly sentenced to death, as was the case for 19-year-old forced bride
  • Noura Hussein, until her sentence was overturned in 2018.

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Whilst various countries are atleast trying to make strides towards gender equality, in these countries being a woman is nothing short of awful.

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