Thursday, March 08, 2012

March 8: International Women's Day marks need for progress in many countries

TORONTO, CANADA -- Which countries are the best -- or worst -- in progress for women? An International Women's Day article by Toronto Star columnist Heather Mallick gives statistics that show women have a long way to go to achieve equality in health, education and political rights.

She says, for example, that Afghanistan may not be the worst place to be a woman (Yemen is), but it is the most dangerous -- not only because wife beating is acceptable if a man has "a good sharia reason," but also in Afghanistan, "a woman is at least 200 times more likely to die during childbirth than from warfare," she notes.

"Going solely by political representation, Rwanda does best with 56.3 per cent of its 80-seat lower house being female," Mallick writes.*

"Egypt has all of two women representatives, which suggests the so-called Arab Spring is still wintry for women," she adds. "Canada does badly, 40th in the world for women political representatives -- one place below little Luxembourg -- with 76 of 308 Canadian House of Commons seats going to women. But it’s better than Britain at [Number] 54, tied with Malawi. And it is much better than the U.S. which stands at [Number] 78, tied with Turkmenistan, and far below many nations it professes to despise."

* Click here for data on women's representation in politics.

Click here to read the full article (including links to statistics), "International Women’s Day 2012 marks little progress worldwide in women’s health, education and political rights," on www.thestar.com.

One of the themes for International Women's Day 2012 is "Connecting girls, inspiring futures." Visit internationalwomensday.com to read about more themes and events around the world marking this day.

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