Fatou is a 27-year-old housewife. At 15 years old, she decided to quit her education to get married to the love of her life, a man 8 years older than her, who had promised her a wealthy life in which she wouldn’t worry about a thing.
A few years into her marriage, her husband wasn’t doing well financially, and she found herself financially abused by him. All the promises went into vain and she was there begging for a penny to get the most basic goods she needed. Looking at herself, she found herself with no knowledge or skills to help her stand on her feet. With no education to support her, she felt like all the doors were shut, and her only salvation was her husband, who in turn belittled her for always being dependent on him, noting that it had been himself who stopped her from being an achiever.
This is not only the story of Fatou, but also that of millions of women living in disparity because they couldn’t be self-sufficient and independent. This story is yet another example of what the SDGs tackle, like Reduced Inequalities, among others as Quality Education and Gender Equality.
The contribution of women in the society decreases early marriage, and early marriage is linked to low education.
The graph shows the countries with the highest number of women who were first married by age of 15.
The top 3 countries with the highest number of women who were early married are Niger with 37.37% , Bangladesh with 32% and Chad with 29.25%.
Moreover, 76% of girls in Niger are married before their 18th birthday and 28% are married before the age of 15. Niger has the highest prevalence of child marriage in the world and the 13th highest absolute number of women married or in a union before the age of 18 globally – 745,000.
As a result, Awareness campaigns must be done to limit early marriage, and impose laws on marriage before 18.
In the time it has taken to read this article 39 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
Women all over the world are abused on a daily basis for a variety of reasons, or at least for one.
Men abuse women every day for inconvenient reasons. Following a survey of a few women from various backgrounds, the average number of violated women for the following reasons was determined:
A husband is beating his wife if she burns the food 9.20 on average
A husband is beating his wife if she argues with him 19 on average
A husband is beating his wife if she goes out without telling him 20.5 on average
A husband is beating his wife if she neglects the children 23.46 on average
A husband is beating his wife if she refuses to have sex with him 13.21 on average
A husband is beating his wife for at least one specific reason 33.22 on average
Domestic violence legislation exists in at least 155 countries (World Bank 2020). Nevertheless, challenges in upholding these laws persist, restricting the safety and justice of women and girls. Despite the fact that violence is adequately prevented, it happens and goes unnoticed.
As a result of violence, women’s overall well-being suffers, and they are unable to fully participate in society. It has an impact on their families, their communities, and the entire country. So, how can we assist?
Sarah, a 20-year-old housewife, gets beaten up every time by her husband for not being able to cook, and she totally agrees that he has the right to do that. And there are many others like her!
Violence against Women from their partners is one of the most widespread public issues affecting the individual, family, and community. As not only does it affect the women’s mental and physical health, but also that of their children, relatives, and neighbors. Thus, it is important to tackle the reasons behind it.
Shockingly, the proportion of women who believe that a husband is justified in beating his wife is high and increasing worldwide. For instance, an average of 53% of women and girls worldwide believe that men are justified to beat their wives. The highest concentration of this positive attitude towards domestic violence is in Africa, south Asia, and west south America.. Use the graph below to discover the percentages of each country. Tap anywhere to view the top countries (countries with highest percentages of women justifying the husbands’ violence).
Women believe it is justifiable for men to beat up his wife when she:
Argues with him
Refuses to have sex
Burns the food
Goes out without telling him
Neglects the children.
Among these reasons, neglecting the children constitutes the top reason of justifying domestic violence with 26.32%.
But why is this the case?
Early marriage highly impacts this mindset. Child marriage limits the young girls’ power, resources, knowledge, social support, freedom, and independence. Young married girls have little power in relation to their husbands and in-laws, which makes them believe that a man is sometimes justified to beat his wife. For instance, Girls who marry early are more likely to believe that a man is justified in beating his wife than women who marry later. As seen in the figure below, there is a very strong correlation between the number of women who were married early and number of women who believed that husbands are justified in beating their wives throughout the years.
Also, a negative correlation with the total governmental expenditure on education is shown, implying that government can play a huge role in limiting this mindset, through increasing their expenditure on education as it has shown a great influence on the proportions of early marriage, and women believing it is okay to beat up wives. For this reason, laws should be released to prohibit early marriage and motivate girls to get higher educational attainment.
Having equality in educational attainment among genders will empower women and stop them from accepting to get beaten up by their husbands. This is related to goal 4 of the UN, which considers eliminating the disparities among genders to ensure equal access for all to affordable and quality technical, vocational education among all levels: tertiary, primary secondary and higher education.
Finally, Education is essential, but allowing young people’s voices to be heard is also crucial to empowering the next generation. If women feel heard, they will feel more empowered and thus they are more likely to instigate change.
in 2015, the United Nations Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. One of those goals is gender equality (i.e., goal #5).
Gender Inequality has been an imperative social issue in India for centuries. India lags behind when it comes to education for women, and this lag hinders a woman’s role in their society. Some symptoms of the problem are:
The role of women living in a traditional Indian society is to look after the home and children which requires no schooling.
The Indian society is organized in a way that it is patriarchal i.e., it revolves around the male and the female occupies a negligible role. The sons are considered as assets whereas the daughters are considered as liabilities
If the family is living in poverty, then the female child is tasked with household chores and taking care of her siblings. Thus, no time nor money is spent on the female child’s education
If a woman is able to earn money after receiving education, then there is a concern that she will hurt the male ego due to her independence.
According to the above bar chart, the literacy rate of Indian women as a percentage of the total population of women in India in the year 1981 was found to be approximately 25.68%. However, India did not remain idle when faced with such a conundrum. In 2009, they implemented a program called the Saakshar Bharat program that aims to promote and strengthen adult learning, reaching out to those who missed the opportunity to access or complete formal education as well as basic literacy/education. This program involves the government of India acting as a facilitator and resource provider while simultaneously working closely with many local communities in order to design educational programs tailor-made to their specific needs. After the implementation of the program, the literacy rate among Indian women reached 65.78% in 2018.
This result alone proves that the program has been successful in eliciting change for Indian women via education. Therefore, the Indian government should continue offering the program and invest more funds into it to target more local communities within the region.
Educate a girl, change the world – Malala Yousafzai
Being a young lady and living in Lebanon, we always heard stories of women being beaten up, tortured, or killed by their husbands from our family members or friends. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Nearly half of women who die due to homicide are killed by their current or former husbands or boyfriends.” Many articles are bringing to light this issue especially with the start of the Covid19 pandemic, where we have seen a spike in that subject due to quarantine and home stays.
As generations, we have progressed in many fields, but we are still lacking a lot in that domain. How is that possible? One main reason for domestic violence’s on-going presence is that, on average, 37.75% of women around the world believe that a husband is justified in beating his wife (percentage from 2000 till 2020). That’s a huge number! Many women justify this type of violence as “normal’” and give the right to their partners/ husbands to beat them. But why are women justifying and accepting domestic violence? Why is that number this high nowadays?
To dig deep into the subject, I decided to evaluate potential factors that could affect women’s decision in justifying domestic violence such as poverty levels, literacy rates, and early marriages rates around the world. It was found that:
On average, 75.96% of Female aged 15+ are literate around the world (from 2000 till 2020)
On average, 3.63% of the global population live under Poverty Gap at $1.90 a day (from 2000 till 2020)
On average, 6.78% of Female between 20 and 24 years old married at the age of 15 around the world (from 2000 till 2020)
The results showed that countries with low literacy rates in female adults have higher percentages of women who believe that a husband is justified in beating his wife (stand with domestic violence) such as Ethiopia who has a low literacy rate of 28.53% in female adults and a very high percentage of women who justify their husband’s violence (74.23%).
On the poverty level, it was found that countries with higher poverty gaps rates have higher percentages of women who stand with domestic violence such as Congo who has a poverty gap of 51.7% and a very high percentage of women who justify their husband’s violence (75.2%).
Also, when comparing that percentage with the percentage of women who married at the age of 15, it was found that countries with higher numbers of early marriages have higher percentages of women who stand with domestic violence such as Chad who has a percentage of early marriage of 29.47% (of female between 20-24 have married at the age of 15) and a very high number of women who justify their husband’s violence (67.9%).
Poverty, Literacy rates, and Early Marriages in the country affect heavily the perception of women in whether domestic violence by their partners is acceptable or not. High poverty rates increase the justification of domestic violence, low literacy rates increase the justification of domestic violence, and high early marriages rates increase the justification of domestic violence.
Increasing educational benefits in underprivileged countries would be a great initiative to increase literacy rates among women and stopping abuse among families. Introducing educational programs such as Girls’ Education by the World Bank Group which focuses on ensuring that young women receive a quality education, and raising awareness about physical abuse would also encourage the fight against domestic violence. Some countries such as Indonesia have increased the age of marriage of adolescent girls which would contribute to less early marriages, and less acceptance of violence.