Women Only Spaces
Feeling angry and rightly so
From SCOTUS to Afghanistan, women are being controlled purely based on their gender. Human Rights Watch said, “The violence of the Taliban is seen in many ways,” a government worker said. “It is a form of violence when they don’t let women to work. It is violence when they don’t let young people get education. They have taken every hope from people – that is violence… They rule by fear. It’s painful to watch the society living in fear.”
In Afghanistan, the Taliban have imposed rights-violating policies that have created huge barriers to women’s and girls’ health and education, curtailed freedom of movement, expression, and association, and deprived many of earned income. The Taliban have banned women and girls from secondary and higher education, and altered curricula to focus more on religious studies. They dictate what women must wear, how they should travel, workplace segregation by sex, and even what kind of cell phones women should have. They enforce these rules through intimidation and inspections. And before you think that doesn’t happen in the Western world, let’s talk about the recent decision to overturn Roe v Wade.
What about the UK
- One in five Britons also think feminism does more harm than good, while three in 10 feel traditional masculinity is under threat today – the highest among eight western European nations surveyed.
- One in five men think sending unrequested online comments or compliments on someone’s physical appearance is acceptable.
- Three in 10 people think it’s mainly men’s fault that online abuse is a problem today – with men themselves actually most likely to agree.
How does the UK compare to other countries for violence against women? Violence against women is more common than you might think. And it’s often not a one-time event. It has both mental and physical effects, many long reaching. It impacts a woman’s ability to work or have trusting relationships. It is perpetrated by strangers, but more likely someone well known to the victim. The UK compares quick poorly against other countries when it comes to the prevalence of violence against women. According to data from the OECD, the percentage of women who have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner at some time in their life in the UK is 29%. Compare this to around 20% in Italy, Greece and Russia. Or 13% in Spain. Or 1.9% in Canada. Women in the US fare worse, with a whopping 35.6% of woman experiencing physical or sexual violence from a partner at least once.
Work inequality and men’s voices
According to Forbes, in spite of the unfairness and economic cost of gender inequality, it appears that some men perceive women’s recent push toward gender equality as a threat, and are trying to use their power to decelerate, and in some cases reverse our progress. This includes, for example, male managers becoming hesitant to mentor women in the workplace as a side effect of the #MeToo movement, and male-dominated political bodies trying to increase control over women. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has intensified violence against women. Socio-economic stressors such as employment and external stressors such as food insecurity and family relations have a significant impact, not only on experiences of violence or feelings of safety but also on women’s well-being overall.
So for now, we need safe spaces for women to be able to share, heal, grow and help level the playing fields in small and big ways. This is not an act of exclusion to men, it is necessary until the current systems change. If you are a man and want to be included, we invite you in to help us end some of the common acts of inequality and violence towards women. We welcome all allies with open arms.
“Feminism isn’t about making women stronger, women are already strong, it’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.”