Isabella Capanda ‘19: America. A country where one’s nationality is not defined by ethnicity or origin, but by citizenship and allegiance. A country where pride and confidence is grown in all of it’s citizens. A country where the citizens are free to express their individuality.
A country similar to this is a dream compared to others.
Americans take the simplest tasks, like debating about whether a shoe is pink and white or mint and gray, for granted. Around the world, women face a multitude of inequalities that limit basic actions Americans perform on a daily basis. The discrimination also continues into the law force.
According to the Human Rights Watch, women in Egypt are told to not draw attention to themselves in public settings indicated in the quote: “[Nahed Salah, a women’s rights activist in Egypt,] publicly urged women to avoid talking or laughing loudly in public and to be cautious about how they dress…” If they aren’t cautious, they face potentially being harassed.
One of the major stereotypes of Americans is loud and confident personalities. If that were to disappear, a whole section of our culture would disappear. Our ability to express ourselves would diminish. The thought of this scares many. It would be like walking into the Wizard of Oz before the twister hits; black, white, and dull. Unless the Bill of Rights were to be revoked, Americans still have the freedom of expression and the gloom infested thought still remain.
Mexican journalists that report on criminal activity or criticize government officials are often driven into self-censorship. They face an abundance of threats that range from authorities to gangs. Npr.org found that the Mexican government has been using viruses to infect the writer’s phones with spyware. With the information that the government has found, they are able to target the victims through intimidation. This is not the only discrimination found in Mexico however, women and girls also face inequality. The laws in place do not protect them against domestic and sexual violence; if they do, the woman’s chastity comes into question.
While the United States still has bridges to cross regarding sexual violence, there are laws in place to protect women. Domestic and sexual violence is an issue that many are battling; some are losing, but some are destroying the demons they face. In 1994, the Violence Against Women Act passed. Since then great lengths have been made to assist this fight. Officials are required to completely investigate the crimes and adequately punish the offenders. The creation of support groups and women’s shelters have improved the strides the U.S. has taken to comfort the victims of these heinous crimes.
In Saudi Arabia, women just recently gained the right to drive. The women previously had to rely on their father, husband, or male guardian to drive them. Now they no longer have to rely on men. Women in the country see this as huge progress considering the suppression that they continue to face.
In the United States there has never been a question whether or not women could drive. Though it was uncommon for women to drive, there was no law in place that forbade it.
These are only a fragment of the inequalities that women face around the world. It’s shocking and saddening that this is what some people’s realities are.
Women deserve equality. Americans know this, yet we still don’t always consider what’s going on around the world.
Compared to the women around the world, American women are idols paving the way towards the end of discrimination. While these icons still see the empty holes of inequality in America, they don’t see the canyons of suppression around the world.
America is an amazing country, although by only looking at what one doesn’t have, Americans can appear to be pessimistic and greedy. When looking at the glass half full, we are able to see what we can overcome. This frame of thought not only can benefit America’s fight against inequality, but will aid the women of the world in their battle against discrimination.
Women are tough. They are strong. They are fighters. They are problem solvers. They are so much more.
But women are also scared. The world surrounding these amazing women is suppressing them and all that they are. They need someone to stand up for them and to stand with them.
America is a land where freedom rings and dreams are made into reality. While the world isn’t generous, changes can be made to improve the cheap conditions.
Be the voice that makes a difference. Be the one to start a change. Be the person that starts a revolution.