One in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in her lifetime. Whilst there is no single cause for such violence, some of the strongest and most consistent factors are harmful social norms that contribute to gender inequality.
1. Women must be submissive to men in all aspects of her life
2. Men default to physical force at home or through institutions to exercise coercive control
3. Men have the right to discipline women for ‘incorrect’ behavior
4. Women cannot deny their male partner sex
5. Sexual harassment is normal
6. Women experience violence because they are dressed ‘provocatively’
7. All women should become mothers
8. Girls are valued as wives not as individuals
9. Heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation that is acceptable
10. Divorced or Never married women have less value — Oxfam, 2023
Amnesty International notes that women’s rights are violated in the following ways:
Gender-based violence is when violent acts are committed against women and LGBTI people on the basis of their orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics. Gender based violence happens to women and girls in disproportionate numbers
Sexual Violence and Harassment
Sexual harassment means any unwelcome sexual behaviour. This could be physical conduct and advances, demanding or requesting sexual favours or using inappropriate sexual language. Sexual violence is when someone is physically sexually assaulted.
Often, women are the subject of gender based discrimination in the workplace. One way of illustrating this is to look at the gender pay gap. Equal pay for the same work is a human right, but time and again women are denied access to a fair and equal wage.
Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
In many countries around the world, women are denied their rights on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics.
Women’s History Month is generally a time for celebrating women. This year, the theme is Women’s Stories.