One of the most misunderstood words in the English Dictionary: feminism. Women are just as capable as men, but we are silenced on too many occasions. There is a common misconception that feminism is about strengthening woman. You will find, however, that women are already strong. In reality, it is about making their voices heard and changing the way the world perceives that strength. Fighting for the rights of women is often mistaken for man-hating. Women are portrayed as inferior, sensitive, and emotionally weak. These false statements source from: religions, cultures and stereotypes. Women’s rights must be advocated. This type of advocacy is one of the oldest and most powerful social injustice movements ever known, yet there is still a great need for change.

It is true that men are biologically and more physically able, but this does not mean we should be treated differently in social situations. Many people are blind to this movement and oblivious to the fact that women still experience gender inequality, even today. Emancipation of women should be highlighted to especially men as most do not understand the struggles that we face as a gender. These include sexual violence, FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) and more.

Statistics show that there are: 80,000 rapes a year; 400,000 sexual assaults; 1 in 4 live with domestic abuse and every week, 2 are murdered by a violent male partner. This is all due to male dominance. How much longer do we have to wait until there is an end to innocent lives disappearing, being traumatized and scarred for life? It is not right for women to live in fear like this!

The lack of equality is more evident in developing countries such as India. More than 15 million girls of primary school age will never learn how to read or write compared to 10 million boys. This is such a tragedy as primary school is the beginning of our academic future. We shouldn’t have to plead for education, it is a basic human right and necessity! It is disturbing to know that in some countries when a woman hits puberty, young girls are taken out of school to get married and start motherhood. At this age, they should be still having fun and learning lots of new things at school. This is common in countries such as: South Sudan, Niger, Afghanistan, Mali, Guinea, India, Sri Lanka and Ethiopia. There are people we should praise and hold in high regard such as: Rosa Parks, Emmeline Pankhurst, Ada Lovelace, Boudicca, Malala and the Suffragettes. These people struggled for a change and their fight did not go unnoticed.

Shathuriya Sivapalan