Voices From Russia, Too

Friday, 24 June 2011

VOR Reports… The Ten Countries Where Things are the Worst for Women

Three times a day, the ancient Greek sage Thales of Miletus thanked the gods for making him a human being, not an animal, a Greek, not a barbarian, and a man, not a woman. Although times have changed since then, in many countries, women have equal rights with men, but continue to experience the same old oppression, isolation, humiliation, and discrimination. Experts have compiled a list, under the sponsorship of the Reuters International news agency, of the countries where women are worse off in everything.

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1. Afghanistan

In the general opinion of experts, Afghan women live under very difficult conditions, and their rights have fewer protections than the rights of women in any other country. The average lifespan of an Afghan woman is 45 years, and the vast majority of women are illiterate. Every half hour, an Afghan woman dies in childbirth. Domestic violence is so common that 87 percent of women admit that they suffer from it. Afghanistan is the only country where the suicide rate for women is higher than the suicide rate of men.

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2. Democratic Republic of the Congo

Constant warfare in the region puts the local women are constantly on the front lines. Rape is so brutal and systematic that UN investigators call it an unprecedented situation. Many victims die, whilst the rapists infect others with HIV, leaving the women alone, with their children. With no money, no transport, and no “connections”, they can’t escape.

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3. Pakistan

In the tribal border areas of Pakistan, women are gang-raped as punishment for the crimes of men. However, “honour killings” are even more widespread, and a new wave of religious extremism targets female politicians, workers organisations, and human rights lawyers.

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4. India

Despite the booming economy, the situation of women in India leaves much to be desired. According to official statistics, every year, there are about 500,000 abortions in India. In India, since ancient times, there’s been a custom of female infanticide, of girls born before a male heir. In poor families, contraception isn’t common, so, the women continue to bear (and abort) until they give birth to a male child. From birth, the family of her future husband “owns” a girl, she’s a cause of enormous expense, so, she’s treated accordingly.

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5. Iraq

The fall of Saddam Hussein after the US-led invasion, in addition to “democracy”, has brought the country many problems… the literacy rate, once the highest among Arab countries, fell to one to one of the lowest as families fear to send girls to school, fearing that criminals might kidnap or rape them. Women who used to work, now, stay home. More than one million women have been evicted from their homes, and millions more are unable to earn a living.

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6. Nepal

Early marriage and childbirth exhaust the country’s malnourished women, and 4 percent die in pregnancy or childbirth. Parents may sell unmarried daughters before they reach adulthood. If a widow receives the nickname “Bokshay”, or, “witch”, she faces extreme abuse and discrimination.

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7. Sudan

Despite the fact that Sudanese women have seen some improvement thanks to reformist laws, the status of women in Darfur (western Sudan) has worsened. In 2003, abduction, rape, and forced evictions destroyed the lives of over a million women.

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8. Saudi Arabia

This oil-rich country treats women as dependents for life; they’re always under the control of either a male relative or a husband. Deprived of the right to drive a car or publicly communicate with men, they live a strictly limited life, suffering from severe penalties.

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9. Mali

One of the world’s poorest countries, Mali made the list of countries where women’s lives are much worse than the lives of men.

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10. Somalia

Constant turmoil and a non-existent state apparatus have put women, who, traditionally, were considered the foundation of the family, in jeopardy. In this faction-ridden society, women are raped every day; they suffer from dangerously inadequate care during pregnancy, and are subject to attacks from armed bandits.

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Voice of Russia World Service

http://rus.ruvr.ru/photoalbum/51766938/index.html

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