Womens Rights In 3rd World Counrties Essay

This essay has a total of 2839 words and 16 pages.

Womens Rights In 3rd World Counrties

Women's Rights in 3rd World Countries

There was a young woman who left her home in Mycrorayan in Kabul, Afghanistan for Peshawar
after the January 1994 fighting and told Amnesty International of the following situation.
"One day when my father was walking past a building complex he heard screams of women
coming from an apartment block which had just been captured by forces of General Dostum.
He was told by the people that Dostum's guards had entered the block and were looting the
property and raping the women."


The following story comes out of Iran. "On August 10, 1994, in the city of Arak, Iran, a
woman was sentenced to death by stoning. According to the ruling of the religious judge,
her husband and two children were forced to attend the execution. The woman urged her
husband to take the children away, but to no avail. A truck full of stones was brought in
to be used during the stoning. In the middle of the stoning, although her eyes had been
gouged out, the victim was able to escape from the ditch and started running away, but the
regime's guards recaptured her and shot her to death."


From China comes the following observation. "Still in the streets an occasional old crone
hobbling around on her miniature bound feet was a relic of the pre-Revolutionary, almost
dead past. I also heard an echo of that past in a silk thread factory in Wuxi, China. A
woman member of its Revolutionary Committee was introduced to me as a ‘veteran worker'.
The description astonished me because she looked so young. On inquiry I learned that she
was indeed only 34 years old, but that she had toiled in the mill for twenty-six years,
having begun this job as an 8-year old child."


These three incidents reflect typical crimes and injustices against women in the Third
World countries. Crimes against women include abuse, slavery, false imprisonment, murder
and rape. In these countries, women are considered to be inferior to men and are not
granted equal rights or protection under the laws. The governments, religions and cultures
of these countries support the inequalities, thus allowing vicious crimes against women to
continue without any recourse by the victims. The phrase "women's rights" refers to the
basic human rights that are withheld from women simply because they are women. Women's
rights promote political, social and economic equality for women in a society that
traditionally confers more status and freedom to men. A basic right is for girls to grow
up to be women: today twelve percent of the females born worldwide are missing, many of
them victims of infanticide. Other women's rights include: the right to live free of
physical abuse, the right to live free of sexual exploitation, the right to health care
and nutrition, the right to an acceptable standard of living, the right to chose her own
partner, the right to vote, the right to control property, and the right to equal
treatment before the law along with freedom of speech. Women in Third World countries do
not have the rights that American women enjoy. In most of these countries, women do not
even have rights equivalent to those of American women in the nineteenth century. For
example, the women have arranged marriages, have very limited access to education and are
abused by their arranged husbands. In these countries, women work twice as many hours as
men for one-tenth of the income. The inequities vary from country to country, but one
thing is in common; the inequalities are all being committed against women. This paper
will explore the condition of women in three Third World Countries: Afghanistan, China and
Iran.


Afghanistan
"They shot my father right in front of me. He was a shopkeeper. It was nine o'clock at
night. They came to our house and told him they had orders to kill him because he allowed
me to go to school. The Mujahideen had already stopped me from going to school, but that
was not enough. They then came and killed my father. I cannot describe what they did to me
after killing my father." (15-year-old girl, p. 10) This is the story of a 15 year old
girl who was repeatedly raped in her house by armed guards after they had killed her
father for allowing her to go to school. Afghanistan's women do not have many rights at
all. All women in Afghanistan are totally deprived of the right to education; Afghanistan
has closed down all schools for girls! Women are also not allowed to work. They have been
ordered to remain in their houses, and employers have been threatened with dire
consequences for hiring female employees. Women cannot venture out of the house alone
unless accompanied by an appropriate male member of the woman's immediate family.
Afghanistan women do not have the right to quality health care if that health care
involves male providers. No women can see a male doctor, family planning is outlawed, and
women cannot be operated upon by a surgical team containing a male member regardless of
the severity of the situation.


The women of Afghanistan also have no legal recourse. A women's testimony is worth half a
man's testimony. A woman cannot petition the court directly; a male member from her family
must do it for her. Women are not allowed to do anything recreational. All sporting
facilities have banned women from their use. Women singers cannot sing, nor are they
allowed to show their faces in public or to male strangers. Women cannot wear make-up or
brightly colored clothing. They may appear outside their homes only when they are clad
head to foot in shapeless garments called burgas. They cannot wear shoes with heels that
click or travel in private vehicles with male passengers. They do not have the right to
raise their voices when speaking in public, nor can they laugh loudly since the culture
believes that her laughter lures males into corruption. Women in Afghanistan have few
rights at best. They are controlled mostly by their husbands and cannot do anything that
relates to politics or government. Most men look upon women as possessions with their
bodies and minds owned totally by the men to whom they are sold through marriage. When a
women does go against these cultural and religious laws, the usual consequence is a
beating or stoning.


Beatings in Afghanistan occur for what appears to be small insignificant things. If a
woman is wearing brightly colored shoes or thin stockings or violating any of the other
rules of appearance, they may be beaten which sometimes results in death. Fortunately an
era of change is developing, and slowly some of these consequences are becoming less
frequent and less severe than they were even five years ago.


China
"How sad it is to be a woman! Nothing on Earth is held so cheap. No one is glad when a
girl is born, by her family sets no store."


Although Fu Xuan wrote this poem in 3 AD, the poem still sums up the life of a girl in
China. Women are still considered inferior. In China, many people live on the farm, and
strong hands are needed in the fields; therefore, the Chinese favor sons over daughters.
Sons take care of their parents in their old age, while daughters leave their homes when
they marry and became part of the husband's family. When a baby girl is born, the family
views her as a temporary possession. Some parents sell the baby girls when they need the
money; these girls are often brought up as household servants or as prostitutes. At other
times, baby girls are drowned at birth.


Women in China are still considered inferior to men. A women is expected to obey her
father as a child, her husband as a woman, and her son in her old age. On the other hand,
it is a moral obligation of the person in authority to be just and reasonable. Therefore,
the man should be kind but at the same time deal severely with faults.


The 19th century saw the beginnings of women's rights for Chinese women. Western
missionaries started schools for girls in China that introduced western ideas that
influenced the Chinese. In 1901, foot binding was officially banned although it continues
to practiced as traditions are hard to destroy..(Sui Noi Goh page 67) In 1919 educated
Chinese women took part in movements to modernize China, and give women equal rights with
men. In the early 1990's, the Chinese themselves set up schools for girls. During the
"Great Leap Forward" in the 1950's, Mao Zedang gave women equality with men, saying women
"held up half of the heavens." Women were urged to work in the fields and in the factories
with men. Childcare centers were set up so children could be taken care of while their
mothers worked Greater attention was paid to women's health as well.


Although ideas regarding women's rights have been introduced in China, change is slow due
to the long standing reverence for male children. "Since 1995, the population in China has
been about 1.2 billion. Because of the rapid growth in the population, women are urged to
undergo sterilization, and pregnant women are urged to have an abortion."(Sui Noi Goh page
50-51) Since is not the most favorable way to go about controlling the population, China
has come up with the "one-child policy". This policy permits one child per family if the
first born is a boy but permits two children if the first child is a girl No matter what,
there may be no third births. "In 1994, a survey of couples of childbearing age, 63% had a
single child, 25% had a second child, and the remaining 10% had three or more
children."(Soi Noi Goh page 50-51) Once a female child is born, the simplest method to
avoid having a penalty for having more children is to not record her birth. Families often
put baby girls up for adoption, or they frequently abandon them. "In China the gender
ratio among Chinese children is 111 males for every 100 females."(Sui Noi Goh page 50-51)
This statistic strongly suggests that anti-women sentiment still exists.


Iran
Iran is an unusual country. Religion has always been important to Iranians, but since the
revolution of 1979, Iran has become a religious state, where religious rules are state
rules. It is the teachings of Islam that determines every aspect of daily life, customs,
laws, and government. Thus, when contemporary women's rights in Iran are analyzed, one
refers to the fundamental Muslim views regarding women. In a local hadith Islamic class in
the year 1,000, the question was asked, "Are women basically good or bad?" The answer was,
"I was raised up to heaven and saw that the denizens were poor people: I was raised into
the hellfire and saw that most of its denizens were women." This quote demonstrates that
men think poorly of women in Iran. In the Islamic culture, women are considered to be the
property first of her guardian (usually her father) and then ownership over her is
transferred to her husband.


Iranian women actually many more rights and freedoms than some other countries in the
Middle East. Girls are allowed to go to school and learn, although the schools are
segregated according to sex to keep up with the Islamic beliefs. "Before the 1970's, only
34 % of the girls attended primary school and even fewer went to
universities."(www.geocities.com/Irrc/Women/iman.htm) Today children between the ages of
six and twelve must go to primary school, but not all parents send their daughters to
classes. Women of Iran do not own the clothes that they wear. They have no rights over the
children and little protection against a violent husband. If a husband kills his wife, her
family must pay a considerable amount for his death sentence. If they cannot meet the
cost, he goes free. A husband can order his wife out of the house. He can divorce her
without telling her, and he can have up to four wives. Iranian women have also been pushed
out of the work force. All women have been forced into part-time work so that nothing
hinders their holy duty of motherhood.


In Iran, the women have arranged marriages. The husband is normally chosen by how large a
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