Equality for Women-
Still A Long Way To Go

In 1981 the United States Congress passed Pub.L. 97-28 which authorized the President to proclaim “Women’s History Week,” March 7, 1982. Designating a week in March to women’s history has continued with each President since 1982. Pub.L. 100-9 was passed in 1987 proclaiming March as Women’s History Month. The United Nations has continued to set aside March 8 as International Women’s Day.

These acclamations have heightened the United States and the world’s awareness of how far equality for women has come but also how far this goal still has to go to be a reality for so many women in the world.

On the one hand we can applaud women’s achievements in all fields of endeavor as science, medicine, education, research, space, etc. Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, Dian Fossey and Amelia Earhart are well known women in world history and have accomplished great feats. Two websites which are dedicated to the advancement of women are The National Women’s History Project at www.nwhp.org and Women’s History Month at http://womenshistorymonth.gov.

There is still a very dark side to the goal of equality for women. In many parts of the world women and girls are not allowed or are not able to achieve even basic education. Girls living in rich and urban areas of the world tend to have the best opportunities for education, while those living in the poorest countries tend to be excluded from school altogether.

Girls are still viewed in many cultures only for their “usefulness” as caretakers, potential brides, or seen only as domestic or farm labor. Added to this is the global issue of human trafficking which has become a worldwide immoral and illegal business.

Women who can achieve secondary or a higher level of education are less likely to experience violence, whether physical, sexual or otherwise. However, this is not always the case. Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic.

One concrete example of women helping women to achieve life skills and rise from the evils of poverty is the Sisters of Mary Reparatrix project in Nairobi, Kenya, the Living Water Centre. Located in the notorious slum area of Kibera, the Sisters, along with many volunteers, have helped women and girls to learn tailoring, dress making, hair dressing and other useful skills which have enabled these women to have employment and to be self-sufficient. The same type of endeavor has begun in Beni, Congo by the Sisters. The Sisters offer hope and courage to these young women and girls and in turn express their commitment of building a more just world and manifesting the tender love of God in the promoting of human dignity for all.

 

Ann Kasparek