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Modern Day Female Mutilation: Implants

Under patriarchy, there is no limit to:

  • Torture inflicted on females to control them.
  • Damage done to male psyches so they desire mutilated women.

These statements become doubly true when capitalism can make a huge profit – which is most certainly true of breast implants.

We highly recommend any woman considering breast implants, any woman who has them, and/or any woman you know who has them, read and think very carefully about the resources provided on these sites by The National Center for Health Research, and breastplantinfo.org.

(Unless stated otherwise, all data and quotes below are from the article in the first link above.)

SUMMARY

  • Breast augmentation is the most requested plastic surgery: 1.9 m globally (2018); 80% for cosmetic reasons.
  • In 2019, it was a $2.8 b market (US = $1.09 b), projected to be $3 b by 2027, growing by 7.2% p.a.
  • Breast implants make firms/doctors rich. Breast implants make women sick.

Medical effects include:

  • Infection, fever, pain, clots, toxic shock syndrome, fluid build-up around implant, scar tissue, chest wall deformity, brain fog, memory loss, joint pain, hair loss, rashes, dry eyes, chronic fatigue, numbness & tingling in extremities, reduced sensation in nipple/breast, persistent flu-like symptoms.
  • Capsular contracture (hardening of tissue) causing pain.
  • Leakage of fluid from areola or under breast, rupture of implant (causing deflation) or of incision, implant moves or flips over, calcium deposits, nipple discharge, and necrosis (death) of breast tissue, risks of additional surgery.
  • Increased risk of developing autoimmune disease – rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, scleroderma, sarcoidosis, lupus, fibromyalgia.
  • Leakage of contents (even without a rupture) into lymph glands and organs causing abnormal function of liver, kidneys and lungs.
  • Bacteria or mold growth, both of which can seriously undermine the woman’s health. No one knows the effect of these breast contaminants on a nursing baby – no studies have been conducted. (Afterall, what is more important, a man’s need to fetishize big boobs or a baby’s need to eat safely?)
  • Significant difficulty having a mammogram – risk of rupture due to pressure and about 55% of breast tumors are hidden by implants, interfering with the detection of breast cancer: “women with breast cancer who had breast implants are diagnosed with later-stage cancers than women with breast cancer who did not have implants. This is likely due to delays in breast cancer detection because of implants. A delay in diagnosis could result in the woman needing more radical surgery or the delay could be fatal.  A 2013 Canadian meta-analysis of five studies found that if women who had breast augmentation later developed breast cancer, they were more likely to die from it than women diagnosed with breast cancer who did not have breast augmentation. This increased risk of breast cancer-specific death is likely to be due to the greater inaccuracy of mammography for women with implants.”
  • An NCI study found that women who had breast implants for at least 12 years were more likely to die from brain tumors, lung cancer, other respiratory diseases, and suicide compared with other plastic surgery patients. Augmentation patients were not more likely to smoke than other plastic surgery patients, so the difference in respiratory diseases did not appear to be due to smoking.” A woman with implants was 3x more likely than the general population to commit suicide.
  • Increased risk of cancer of the immune system and reproductive problems (including inability to breastfeed and still births).

The first link from The National Center for Health Research above provided very disturbing information about the history of implants in the US, including that no proper safety study has ever been done, even though implants have been around since the 1960s: “Although most medical products must be proven safe and effective before they can be sold in the U.S., that was not true for implanted medical devices sold before 1976.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not require that companies selling silicone breast implants prove that their implants were safe until 1991 – after they had been in use for almost three decades … Reports of complications among women with implants have [long] been published in medical journals and discussed at public FDA meetings. There are a number of short-term and long-term risks … [but, since] many physicians do not report problems with medical devices, reports to the FDA are considered ‘the tip of the iceberg.’” 

Even after the FDA required that implants be regularly evaluated in order to provide safety data, the rules were not enforced and women who got breast implants were often not followed after their surgery.  And, as the article above points-out, many of these studies are performed by the manufacturers, and thus biased in their results, and even, in some cases, based on flawed studies or studies which were never fully completed.

In 2011, the FDA began tracking a cancer of the immune system (breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)) linked to textured breast implants. “Over the next several years, as studies were completed, FDA and medical experts recognized that rather than just being possibly associated” with ALCL, breast implants caused ALCL, and that the risk was highest among women with textured breast implants.”  This led to a recall of textured breast implants.

It should be noted that several other types of implants, besides the currently used silicone and saline ones, have been developed and implanted into women without proper long-term safety studies.  “Although these implants were enthusiastically promoted by plastic surgeons and the media as a “natural” and safer alternative to silicone or saline implants, clinical trials were apparently never conducted on humans with these implants. By 2000, serious safety concerns resulted in the removal of all three from the market. The fact that they had been praised by doctors and patients when they were initially introduced serves as a reminder that the long-term risks of implants are not always obvious during the first few years of use. That is why studies of the risks of long-term use – which are still lacking for silicone implants – are essential to establish the safety of all kinds of implants.”

Next, it should be noted that “All breast implants will eventually break, but it is not known how many years the breast implants that are currently on the market will last.” In an FDA study, most women had at least one broken implant w/i 11 years, & likelihood of rupture increases every year. Silicone leaked for 21%, even though most were unaware of it. Studies conducted by manufacturers show that w/i 3 years, about 75% of breast cancer / 50% of first-time augmentation patients had at least one complication – e.g., pain, infection, hardening, or more surgery.

Reports of complications associated with implants are widely available – from medical journals to public FDA meetings to women’s self-help groups focused on breast implants and the multiple serious health problems associated with them. “Research clearly shows that implants are associated with significant health, cosmetic, and economic risks within the first few years and these risks increase over time. Unfortunately, long-term risks remain unknown because of a lack of well-designed and carefully conducted scientific studies. When they approved silicone gel breast implants in 2006, the FDA required two implant manufacturers, Allergan and Mentor, to each conduct 10-year studies of at least 40,000 women to determine why implants break, how long they can be expected to last, and what the longer-term health consequences of broken and leaking breast implants might be. Unfortunately, however, those studies were never completed and the FDA did not require the companies to substitute similarly well-designed studies.”

Sadly, under patriarchy, women’s health and lives are expendable, provided they have served the needs – profit generating, sexual, domestic, child-bearing – of society’s dominant males. Thus, despite the known risks, breast implants are still being sold to women as a safe.

  • At $10 k – 30 k per breast, with removal/replacement costs as high as implant costs, and $100 – 400 k if something goes wrong, breast implants create a gigantic tit for capitalism to suck on.

Women cooperate in this patriarchal barbarism because it is a way for her to belong, to be “sexy”, to get/hold a job, and/or a husband.

Males fetishize big boobs – overgrown babies, they fixate on huge mammary glands, at the expense of the infants breasts evolved to feed.

See our other articles on female mutilation:

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What is Female Genital Mutilation

FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (FGM) is dangerous, with no medical benefits, done to eliminate female enjoyment of sex. It is excruciatingly painful – it should be classified as torture.

  • For millennia, billions of little girls have suffered, without anesthesia, the slicing-off, scarring, stitching and cauterizing of their vulvas. FGM kills 10%+. If she survives, she will have long-term physical, mental, and emotional health problems which hurt both her and her newborn.
  • VICTIMS: 200 m living females + 3 m more per year. Cutting is usually done by age 9.

“I am now a dead person,” said Malika, a young mother from Ethiopia’s Afar region, after recounting the pain and trauma she suffered when she was first cut, then on her wedding night, and again when she gave birth.

UNFPA

FGM – TORTURE AND A VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

FGM means that someone – often a girl’s mother or female relatives – cuts-off or damages parts of her external genitalia, generally with no anesthetic, under unsanitary conditions (the knife may be rusty and used repeatedly on multiple girls lined-up for the procedure, without being cleaned, passing on diseases such as HIV), with no medical care available.  It is usually performed on a girl under the age of 9 – that is without consent, and when she cannot even understand what the process means. She is held-down by family members, a rag stuffed into her mouth to stop the screaming, since the procedure is excruciatingly painful. It takes weeks before the girl can even walk again – if she survives.  Often the girls bleed to death or later die of infection – with a death rate estimated higher than 10%. 

FGM causes serious life-long health problems, including life-threatening childbirth complications and death.  The pain inflicted by FGM does not stop after the procedure – it continues as unending agony for the girl’s entire life.

FGM is most often performed by traditional cutters using knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces of glass or razor blades.  They usually lack medical training and know nothing of sterilization or antiseptics, or how to assist a girl who is bleeding to death or has contracted a life-threatening infection.  Indeed, the way they deal with a girl’s death is to blame her – she must have been a witch or in league with the devil, and thus deserved her fate.

In come countries, FGM may be done by a medical professional – completely contrary to the Hippocratic Oath and to medical ethics and morals.

4 TYPES OF FGM:

  • Clitorodectomy (FGM 1) – partial or total removal of her clitoris / the hood covering it.
  • Excision (FGM 2) – partial or total removal of her clitoris / hood and the inner and/or outer lips around it.
  • Infibulation (FGM 3) – Sealing her vagina by cutting-off parts of her vulva and closing it using stitches / scraping the remaining tissues to glue them together with her blood. Her legs are then tied with rope, leaving her unable to move for 15 to 40 days while the wound heals or she dies from infection and/or blood loss. 

    Infibulation is designed to prevent a girl from having sex, as only a tiny hole is left so she may urinate and her blood may trickle out at menstruation.  Her vulva is reopened by her husband on the wedding day – either with his penis, or if that is not effective, with a knife, so that he can have sex with her. At birth, women must be cut again because the opening of the vagina is too small for the passage of the baby. Opening her vulva by cutting her again is called defibulation.  Often her vulva is resealed between births – this is known as reinfibulation.
     
  • Other (FGM 4) – all other damage for non-medical reasons (e.g., pricking, piercing, incising, scraping, and cauterizing).

FGM causes a girl to experience a lifetime of serious health problems and chronic pain.

Medical effects include:

  • Death, excruciating pain, shock, tetanus and other infections, scarring, cysts, abscesses, fistulas, ulcers, and other tissue damage, urinary / pelvic infections and disorders, incontinence, discharges, itching, bacterial vaginosis, chronic pain, menstrual problems, as well as that menstrual blood can’t drain properly, depression, anxiety, memory loss, sleep disorders, PTSD, sexual dysfunction and dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse), greater risk of HIV and increased susceptibility to other types of infections, and the risks associated with later surgery (defibulation and reinfibulation).

  • Infertility and adverse obstetric outcomes: stillbirth, prolonged and obstructed labor, episiotomy, caesarean section, postpartum hemorrhage, need for extended aftercare, death of the mother / newborn. The infants of mothers who had undergone FGM, especially the more extensive types of FGM 2 and FGM 3, have a greater risk of dying at birth compared to the infants of mothers who had not undergone FGM. Those who have been cut have a greater risk of infertility and they are 2x as likely to die in childbirth. (https://www.dw.com/en/female-genital-mutilation-why-do-so-many-girls-still-face-fgm-a-52265630/a-52265630).  One study found that about 22% of perinatal deaths in infants born to women with FGM can be attributed to the FGM. FGM is estimated to lead to 1 to 2 extra infant deaths per 100 deliveries. (https://www.endfgm.eu/female-genital-mutilation/what-is-fgm/)
     
  • With infibulation (FGM 3), where the labia are cut and sealed together to narrow the vaginal opening, women have to be cut again to enable sexual intercourse and childbirth causing additional trauma and pain, while exposing her health to further risk. Infibulated women face the highest danger of serious childbirth complications that can take the life of both the mother and the newborn.
     

SOURCES OF FGM AND ITS MEDICALIZATION:

FGM originated in, and is extensively practiced in, Africa and the Middle East. (Refer to map: By Johnuniq – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47697106).

Johnuniq, Wikicommons

It is also practiced in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka.

Communities which practice FGM rationalize the torture of their children as necessary for social acceptance – contrary to biological reality, they maintain that a girl isn’t a woman and can’t be married until she has undergone the cut.  

It should be noted that there is NO religious obligation to cut girls – none of the holy books used in these areas provides any support for the practice.  It is purely cultural – just like cannibalism once was.  As such, like cannibalism, it can be eliminated by using education to change values.

Sadly, the hardest battle may be with the women of these communities, the majority of whom support some form of cutting, according to the UN.

“Somehow the messaging and the awareness raising is getting through but still, they want to cut, still, they want to touch the girl,” said [Doctor Mariam] Dahir. “This is exactly a patriarchal community – they don’t want the girl to live the way that she is.”

DW

With the dispersion of peoples from these regions to other areas of the world, FGM is now being practised globally.  This is a very disturbing trend, which has been made more worrisome by what is called “the medicalization” of the procedure.  This means FGM is performed by health practitioners – community health workers, midwives, nurses or doctors – contrary to the Hippocratic Oath and to medical ethics and morals.

It may even be offered to new parents as part of a standard package of care for newborn girls. 

The fact that it is done by a medical worker does NOT mean it is done under anesthesia, or with the proper sanitary and medical care in place.  Nor does it alter the fact that the procedure has NO MEDICAL BENEFITS and condemns that girl to a life of chronic pain and ill-health, as well as endangering her life and the lives of her children. Furthermore, a huge percentage of girls are still dying because of the procedure, even when performed by a health worker.    

UNFPA estimates that one in five girls subjected to FGM were cut by trained health care providers, and in some countries, it’s more than three in four.

Western countries are now lifting the licenses, and imprisoning, medical workers who engage in this practice, which is torture and a violation not only of ethics and morals, but of a girl’s human rights.

In many countries FGM is now illegal – but that has not stopped the procedure from being performed.


What countries is female circumcision illegal?

Criminal Legislation/Decree (year enacted)

  • African Nations:
  • Benin (2003)
  • Burkina Faso (1996)
  • Central African Republic (1966)
  • Chad (2003)
  • Côte d’Ivoire (1998)
  • Djibouti (1994)
  • Egypt (2008)
  • Eritrea (2007)
  • Ethiopia (2004)
  • Ghana (1994)
  • Guinea (1965, 2000)
  • Kenya (2001)
  • Mauritania (2005)
  • Niger (2003)
  • Senegal (1999)
  • South Africa (2005)
  • Tanzania (1998)
  • Togo (1998)
  • Nigeria (2015)

Industrialized Nations:

  • Australia (6 of 8 states, 1994-97)
  • Belgium (2000)
  • Canada (1997)
  • Cyprus (2003)
  • Denmark (2003)
  • Italy (2005)
  • New Zealand (1995)
  • Norway (1995)
  • Spain (2003)
  • Sweden (1982, 1998)
  • United Kingdom (1985)
  • United States (Federal law, 1996; 17 of 50 states, 1994-2006)

(source)

One of the key reasons for FGM is that it confers perfect male control over female sexuality:

  • Girls who survive the procedure usually do not return to school. Now women, they are quickly married off to men who often have several other wives already.
    • She cannot experience genital pleasure and the pain of sex is so overwhelming she avoids it.
    • With FGM 3 a woman is repeatedly traumatized and abused – she is cut as a child, for sex, and for birth. Her vulva may be resealed b/w children.

“How could women do something like that to one another, how?” she asks, her eyes welling up with tears. “Being circumcised is like living in a dead body.”

DW

Women cooperated in this patriarchal barbarism, inflicting it on daughters because it was the way for her to belong and get a husband.

  • Mothers forcibly restrain daughters, stuffing a rag in her mouth to stop screaming as she is cut, then tying her legs for 15-40 days, leaving her unable to move as she heals.

What rationalizations are used for FGM? Many of those who support FGM believe it to be a religious obligation. Traditionalists see it as necessary to becoming a woman and a procedure which ensures cleanliness or better marriage prospects. Another reason cited is that FGM prevents promiscuity and excessive clitoral growth, preserves virginity, and enhances male sexuality.

It is critical to emphasize that female circumcision does not have the support of any religion’s holy books and that it does not confer any benefits claimed, while seriously undermining the health of girls, their offspring, and even, as discussed below, their husbands. 

Finally, another key reason for acceptance of FGM is that males fetishize a mutilated vulva:

  • A “real man” breaks open the stitches / scars on the wedding night by ramming his penis into her. If that is unsuccessful, he takes a knife to her vulva.
  • The myth is it increases his sexual pleasure by penetrating her scarred, damaged, and bleeding flesh.

The reality: FGM is rationalized as being about cleanliness and womanhood. In reality, it stops a woman from experiencing sexual pleasure, meaning she is unlikely to want sexual activity, keeping her chaste, even after marriage. And the fact that the medical effects include abscesses, fistulas, ulcers, and other tissue damage, urinary / pelvic infections and disorders, incontinence, and discharges, as well as that menstrual blood can’t drain properly, means that this procedure not only creates “uncleanliness”, but puts her husband at risk of contracting infection every time he has sex with her. Painful sex, combined with difficulty of penetration and decreased lubrication, means that her husband will be unlikely to enjoy a satisfying sex life. Psychological effects, including PTSD and anxiety, mean that both he and his children will suffer along with the wife.
 

FURTHER MATERIALS:

Around the world, over 200 million females are living with the consequences of FGM. And that number is growing by 3 m per year due to the lack of awareness surrounding it and the secrecy with which FGM is practiced.

We need to end FGM by speaking-out about it and raising awareness about the reality of this gruesome practice, tackling the pervasive gender discrimination and cultural ignorance that allows FGM to be practiced.  FGM is a global human rights concern – it requires the attention of everybody to protect and save millions of women and girls.

With FGM, one is forced to wonder if there is no limit on the torture that society will inflict on little girls?

Imagine the pain, the trauma and the lasting consequences to a girl’s health and well-being, to her offspring and to her family. 

FGM violates the human rights of women and girls. 

No one should have to live through this type of torture for any reason.

Share this in your story to spread awareness about this unspeakable violation of the rights, health, and dignity of women worldwide. Together we can make a difference and contribute to the UN’s goal of ending FGM by 2030.

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The Horrors of Female Mutilation: Feet

TRIGGER WARNING: Horrifying info & photos.

Part one of our series on the horrors of female mutilation in culture covers how the patriarchy mutilated women in China

In the Patriarchy there is no limit to:

  • The torture inflicted on females to control them.
  • The damage done to male psyches so they desire mutilated women.

Suffering for beauty is familiar to most women, who have lived in incapacitating clothes/shoes, been plucked, shaved, bleached, tinted, squeezed, starved, tattooed, pierced, or even surgically altered.

A millennium of female mutilation in China

In China, small feet were the height of beauty. For over 1,000 years, until the 1950s, girls had their feet crushed into stumps – the prized “3-inch golden lotuses.” Estimates are 2-3 billion were crippled using this agonizing process.

At 4, a girl’s eight smaller toes were broken and wrapped under her soles. Her mother would then bind her feet in bandages which would be tightened every day. Her arch was broken to crush heel to toes; her toenails were pulled out, “excess” flesh cut-off. Broken glass in the bandages abraded skin, rotting it away, making her foot even smaller. Her flesh died and fell-off, along with toes; her foot oozed blood and pus, and stank. Infections, ulcers, gangrene, and paralysis were common; 10% did not survive.

After 2-5 years, with her feet nearly dead, the process was complete.

During this time, the pain was so great she was often unable to walk, eat, or sleep. At the end, she was severely disabled, enduring her remaining years in constant agony. And under perfect male control – she could barely stand, let alone run-away or hold a job.

Women cooperated in this patriarchal barbarism – mothers with bound feet inflicted it on daughters because it was the only way to belong and get a husband.

Males fetishized tiny feet. The height of eroticism was to:

  • Fondle, smell, lick, suck, and have intercourse with her putrefying feet.
  • Drink the water used to wash her rotting stubs or alcohol in which the girl’s pus saturated bandages had been soaked.

Imagine going through this agony as a child just because you are female? Imagine your family doing it to you?

Female mutilation in Western culture

Part two of our series on the horrors of female mutilation in culture covers how the patriarchy mutilated women in western culture.

A crippled foot in China being the height of female sexuality is no different from Western women using corsets to crush their abdomen and organs to create a tiny wasp-waist for the sake of “beauty”.

In use for over 500 years, corsets caused women long-term, irreparable health problems and physical damage: Compressing, twisting, deforming, obstructing, and displacement of abdominal organs. Crowding of the womb creating problems with pregnancy and childbirth. Reduced blood flow and increased blood pressure hurting organ function. Damage to the lymphatic system, dizziness, faintness, build-up of fluid in the lungs, and suffocation – lung capacity is reduced by up to 60%. Damage to ribs, spine, joints, ligatures, and nerves. Atrophy of abdominal and back muscles so severe one cannot stand w/o the corset. Lower back pain. Abdominal pain, indigestion, inability to eat/drink normally causing malnutrition and dehydration. Blood clots, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, swelling in the legs, and ankles.

And perfect male control – she could barely breathe, let alone run away or hold a job.

Women cooperated in this patriarchal barbarism, inflicting it on daughters because it was the way for her to belong and get a husband. (Mothers applied a corset by laying their daughter on the ground, putting a foot in the small of her back, and pulling it tight.)

Males fetishized tiny waists:

• An hour-glass figure was more desirable than a normal one.
• A wasp-waist was “sexy”, with corsets a staple of pornography and brothels.
• Males idolized fragile women – weak, sickly, dependent creatures, who swooned easily.

The last word…

Although these are fads that came and went (for the most part) long ago, they live on through toxic gender image stereotypes.

We’ll also go as far as to say that they’ve been perpetuated by social media, where a few camera tricks and poses can set unrealistic expectations for women and little girls.

Much like the horrifying and gruesome expectations in the days of corsets and feet tucking – these toxic stereotypes make women uncomfortable in their own bodies.

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Where There’s Sexism, There’s Racism: Women’s Fight For All

In this article, we wanted to share how women’s efforts in the civil rights movement benefit all–including ethnic minorities who are often oppressed by the same root-cause.

A common assumption is that feminism benefits only women. But countries that are the most patriarchal, where men hold power, are really bad places for minorities. Where women have a strong voice, minorities are materially better-off.

Gender equality makes everyone better off on all dimensions!

How the fight for gender equality parallels the fight for race equality

Studies show that people who do not support gender equality are more likely to express hostility towards minorities within their own country.

Gender inequality and discrimination are peas in a pod! Women and other minorities have long suffered from the same concerns:

Low social status, limited employment opportunities, lower pay for work of equal value, poverty, high illiteracy rates, poor access to health care and education, street harassment, lack of a voice in the political system, inability to get justice when wronged, and being trafficked into slavery.

Both have been targets for the disrespect, bigotry, hostility, and anger of those who consider themselves “superior beings”. Both have been harassed, threatened, and even killed for no reason other than their minority status.

How women have fought for the oppressed

Perhaps because we have shared so much pain, because we have suffered from the same issues, women have fought for centuries for the rights of the oppressed.

All over the world, women have successfully staged mass actions, and they have mobilized public opinion campaigns to support progress and to assist the marginalized. Indeed, women have probably organized more mass action campaigns in support of change than any other social group.

Women have worked tirelessly against discriminatory laws. They have campaigned for decent wages, fair hours, overtime pay, paid sick days, and family / parental leave time for everyone, as well as for the elimination of pay gaps between men and women and between white employees and non-white ones.

To paraphrase the famous African-American author, professor, feminist, and social activist, Bell Hooks, “feminism is about fighting against sexism, exploitation, and oppression – which hurt everyone.”

Feminism is about leveling the playing field for all

Women’s rights are human rights. Improving the status of women improves the well-being of the entire human race.

Feminism is about fighting for fairness and justice – which benefits everyone.

Feminism is about leveling the playing field; it is about equality for everyone!

Feminism is increasingly being defined as liberation for all people because it makes everyone better off on all dimensions.

Everyone benefits from gender equality … it is up to everyone to make it happen.

Women’s rights are human rights
Improving the status of women improves the well-being of the entire human race.
Everyone benefits from gender equality … it is up to everyone to make it happen.

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Toppling the Patriarchy: Making Our Children Better-off

How equality and diversity create equal opportunities and well-being for children

Countries that are the most patriarchal, where men hold the power, are really bad for children. 

By contrast, gender equality makes life better for our kids. It is proven that parity between the sexes makes kids happier, improving their mental and physical health, relationships, welfare, education, and well-being.

Studies using global databases reveal that in more gender-equal countries children enjoy the following benefits:

Better overall health and improved well-being

Gender parity and sharing household chores, including childcare, leads to better health and well-being for everyone as measured by positive results achieved wrt family factors such as welfare, happiness, life-satisfaction, mental health and depression, self-harm behaviors, need for medication, divorce, fertility, drug use, domestic violence, longevity, suicide, and violent deaths.

Both sexes report that they are more satisfied with life, that they have better and happier relationships with their spouse, and their children. They also report more happiness and freedom, better work/family balance with their partners, more parental leave time, and more societal encouragement to bond with their children. They are less likely to see a therapist, less likely to be diagnosed with depression or to be put on medication, less likely to be violent towards family members or to engage in self-harm. Parents smoke less, drink less, do drugs less often. As a result, children are subject to less violence (to themselves or another family member).  They experience reduced family friction and more positive interactions, both inside and outside their homes.

Adolescent boys in more gender-equal countries have fewer psychosomatic complaints, are less anti-social, and are more likely to practice safe sex and to use contraceptives. Adolescent girls are empowered to pursue an education, rather than early marriage, with all the many benefits that confer on themselves, their family, and their children. Teens in countries with higher levels of gender equality, where social norms are likely to support both parents’ involvement in childcare, report higher levels of life satisfaction than teens in countries with lower levels of gender equality.

In summary, children in more gender-equal societies enjoy greater family/social stability, happiness, health, enhanced well-being, greater opportunities, and safety than those where gender inequality is the rule.
 

Improved quality of life

If a child lives in a more gender-equal country, they have a much high quality of life than those living in less gender-equal countries.  Countries with gender parity have better economies, more social spending, healthier citizens, more peace, and less violence – all characteristics that create societal conditions that benefit children significantly.

Decision-making is more representative

… and is thus reflective of collective interests, including reduced poverty / enhanced food security / better social services.

More gender-equal societies have stronger and wealthier economies.  As a consequence, families score higher on economic well-being due to greater opportunities/prosperity, enhanced food security, and increased spending on social services, education, healthcare, and development. Reduced rates of poverty and enhanced educational opportunities, as well as proper healthcare and nutrition, benefit children significantly.

Gender inequality is a significant predictor of state instability and fragility, according to a quantitative analysis of 171 countries. By contrast, higher levels of gender equality are associated with a lower propensity for conflict, both between and within states. It also results in a reduced likelihood of state-perpetrated political violence—fewer killings, forced disappearances, torture, and political imprisonments. As a result, children are less likely to be injured or die in a war or due to internal political violence.

Empowering women politically and economically, so that they have a voice in the decision-making process, makes community policies more reflective of all members’ interests. Gender equality is positively correlated with policies that lead to the rule of law and improved judicial systems. It is associated with greater stability, as well as increased investment in education and health, the support of public institutions, higher levels of trust in government, more public goods such as clean drinking water, and enhanced child care (e.g., school lunches and family leave time). These are all social characteristics that positively impact the health, welfare, and well-being of a community’s children.

When women have greater control over family resources, more income, and financial independence, they can increase household spending on children’s nutrition, health, and education. This change in spending patterns means more resources reach children, benefitting them materially.

Gains in women’s education and health have also been shown to result in better outcomes for children. It should be noted that increased educational opportunities account for about 50% of the economic growth in OECD countries over the past 50 years. 

Furthermore, the longer girls stay in school, the lower the child marriage rate becomes.  This leads to better results for a country’s girls as well as improved family planning, better maternal health (good in itself for any child), and better care for a family’s children:

Each extra year of a mother’s schooling reduces the probability of infant mortality by 5-10%.

Children of mothers with secondary education or higher are 2x as likely to survive beyond age 5 compared to those whose mothers have no education.

Improvements in women’s education explained 50% of the reduction in child deaths between 1990 and 2009.

A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past age 5

The number of families in poverty also decreases, as educated women wait longer to get married and have fewer children.

Better family structure

Family planning improves quality of life. Gender equality has led to reproductive control, providing the ability to space the birth of each child, which benefits the whole family.  Both parents can hold-off on having children until they are mentally and financially able to cope with caring for a family.  Mothers are healthier, less exhausted, and better enabled to care for their children. Fathers experience a better relationship with their spouse, and more freedom and empowerment for themselves. 

Children tend to be wanted and can be better cared for as there are more resources available to raise them.  As well their parents are better prepared for their arrival and have enhanced time and energy to devote to their care.. When women are not empowered to make decisions about when to have a child, the quality of that child’s life declines significantly, while their risk of mortality climbs steeply. Children born less than two years apart are twice as likely to die in the first year of life as children born further apart. Being unable to spread out pregnancies also interferes with breastfeeding, which has a crucial role in child nutrition.

Elimination of toxic stereotypes

Feminism makes it possible for children to be liberated from the traditional stereotypes which hurt both sexes. 

Freedom from pressure to fit stereotypes means that a child is free to grow up to be who they are, not who the patriarchy dictates. They are empowered to show a wider range of emotions, and other characteristics, and to choose a career which better expresses their inner self since jobs are no longer sex-typed. 
Being liberated to express oneself and to pursue activities that bring self-fulfillment is one of the key benefits which gender equality confers on our children.

Better relationships within their family

Men have enjoyed better and more enriched relationships with their children because feminism has led to improved family leave for workers of both sexes, combined with growing recognition of how harmful patriarchal stereotypes have been to us all, and leading to social acceptance of males playing a greater part in parenting and a more important role in their children’s lives.

In countries with high gender parity, where men share in housework and childcare, their children are happier and healthier. Their children do better in school (lower rates of absenteeism, higher rates of achievement, less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD) and are less likely to need psychiatric care/medication.  Men also get to experience the joy of increased bonding with their children. Today, in Western societies, fathers spend triple the amount of time with their kids than they did in 1965. Without feminism, this hugely rewarding aspect of being a father would not exist. 

Assault is destructive of childhood. Surveys show a clear correlation between the level of gender equality and the frequency of violence in a family – when the level of gender equality in the childhood home is high, the level of physical violence is low. This applies to violence against children as well as to violence between partners. And the finding is dramatic: Gender equality in the home reduces the risk of violence against children by almost two-thirds.

Sexual assault is as damaging to boys as to girls, and too often occurs within the family. Gender equality has given survivors of such violence a voice, leading not only to therapy to reduce trauma, but to a reduction in the incidence of such assaults on children. 

Gender equality is in the interest of children since it gets them something they want – happier, safer, and healthier lives, combined with a deeper and more meaningful relationship with other family members.  Such a connection with another human being is recognized to be one of the key goods for achieving happiness in life.

Conclusion

In summary, the Patriarchy injures families and children by imposing toxic stereotypes and behaviours on them. By contrast, in countries with gender parity, families make healthier reproductive choices, which improve their lives. They are then able to better care for the children they do choose to have. Having equal pay with men, women can provide better healthcare, better food, and better opportunities for their kids. But, if a mother does choose to stay at home with the children, the effects of gender equality (like equal pay and education) provide a safety net in case she needs to work. Studies also show that infant mortality rates decrease as a woman’s education level increases.

If we want our children to be better-off, then we need to dismantle the patriarchal system which has been, and continues to be, so damaging to families, to parents, and to children.

Parity between the sexes gives children a much better world – greater happiness, better education, and their health, relationships, safety, welfare, opportunities, and overall well-being are materially improved.

In a world with gender equality, children are set up for success and happiness!

We owe it to our kids to give them that better world.

Everyone benefits from gender equality … it is up to everyone to make it happen.

For this post, we referenced studies by:
• Kilden genderresearch.no
• World Health Organization
• Journal of Marriage & Family
• Journal of Happiness Studies
• Globalpartnerships.org
• Humanrightscareers.com
• Canadianwomen.org
• European Research Council
• UN Women
• OECD
• Global Partnership for Education
• Australian and UK government

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Amazing Stats

Toppling the Patriarchy: A Huge Life Improvement For Men

Countries which are the most patriarchal, where men hold the power, are really bad for men’s health, sanity, and lifespan.  Indeed, the more a man identifies with traditional notions of masculinity, the more vulnerable he is to reduced life satisfaction, greater unhappiness, depression, and stress, ill health, and injury or early death due to “man-made” diseases associated with a mind-set which applauds males for high-risk behaviours which maim and kill. Male suicide is a major problem in patriarchal societies because in these cultures, for males who suffer from mental health issues, sadly, it’s easier to get a gun or a rope than therapy.

The patriarchy has been a bad deal for both sexes.

By contrast, gender equality makes life better for both sexes. It is a proven fact that parity between the sexes makes men happier, improving their mental and physical health, relationships, welfare, and well-being.

Studies using global dbases reveal that in more gender-equal countries men experience the following benefits:

Improved quality of life

Regardless of sex, if you live in one of the more gender equal countries, your chances of having high quality of life are about 2x as much as for those living in a less gender equal country. 

Better overall health and improved well-being

Health and well-being for both sexes improves with gender equality when measured by factors such as welfare, depression, divorce, fertility, longevity, suicide, and violent deaths.

For men, the results are particularly positive!  They lead much longer and healthier lives (mental and physical health) as measured by lower mortality rates, higher well-being, half the risk of being depressed, higher likelihood of having protected sex, significantly lower suicide rates, and a 40% reduced risk of a violent death. Men sleep better as well as having a lower likelihood of suffering from a divorce or domestic violence.

Globally, on average, men are less healthy than women and die younger. But this is particularly so in countries with the lowest levels of gender equality. Some of this gap is attributable to biology, but a significant part can be ascribed to cultural, man-made diseases that arise from patriarchal pressures which drive males to behave according to stereotypical ideals of masculinity: Men are more likely to smoke, abuse alcohol, do drugs, have a poor diet, suffer from negative stress, and engage in high-risk behaviors (e.g., at work, on roads, in their leisure activities, etc.) which kill and maim. Stereotypical masculine expectations about not showing weakness mean they are also more likely to be violent towards each other and fail to seek medical attention when injured or sick.

In summary, the Patriarchy injures and kills men by imposing toxic stereotypes on them. To support men’s health, sanity and longevity, we need to eliminate these patriarchal social norms for male behaviour.

Less likely to die in a war or by a violent death

As gender equality increases, the likelihood of a man being a victim of violent death decreases significantly. In the most gender equal countries this likelihood is almost half that of the least gender equal countries.

Higher levels of gender equality are associated with a lower propensity for conflict, both between and within states. It also results in a reduced likelihood of state-perpetrated political violence—fewer killings, forced disappearances, torture, and political imprisonments.

Inequality in family law and a lack of female empowerment as measured by policies that disadvantage women regarding (a) marriage rights (including age and consent of marriage, divorce and custody), (b) the criminalization of marital rape and domestic abuse, and (c) property and inheritance rights / practices are significant predictors of state instability and fragility, according to a quantitative analysis of 171 countries.

Elimination of toxic masculinities

Feminism makes it possible for me to be liberated from the traditional masculinities which hurt both men and women.  Freedom from pressure to fit stereotypes means that a man is free to be who he is, not who the patriarchy dictates. He is empowered to show a wider range of emotions, to show his gentle side, to bond with his family, and to choose a career which expresses himself, since jobs are no longer sex-typed. 

The patriarchal role of breadwinner, which enforces male power in the family, has been shown to be associated with increased hypertension and heart attacks in men, as well as increased levels of smoking and chronic back pain. The sole breadwinner model has not been good for men’s health. Women entering the workforce and becoming financially independent has taken the pressure off of men to be the only wage earner in a family, with a consequent improvement in their health.

In more gender-equal societies, adolescent boys have fewer psychosomatic complaints, are less anti-social, and are more likely to use contraceptives.

Sexual assault is as damaging to a man as to a woman.  Gender equality has given male survivors of violence a voice, leading not only to therapy to reduce trauma but to a reduction in the incidence of such assaults. 

This all leads the men of more gender-equal societies to greater happiness, improved physical health and welfare, and better mental health.

Better relationships and improved sex life

The most patriarchal societies impose significant restrictions on sex, sexuality, and friendly relations between the sexes. Both are ignorant of basic sexual knowledge, have no idea how to pleasure each other, and are severely limited in their ability to engage in sexual activity.

Gender parity and sharing household chores, including childcare, leads to men getting more sex (“choreplay”) and to their experiencing greater sexual satisfaction, better and more stable relationships with women, increased marital happiness, lower rates of divorce, and reduced family friction. They smoke less, drink less, do drugs less often. They are less likely to go to the ER, but more likely to go to a doctor for routine screenings. They are less likely to see a therapist or be diagnosed with depression, and less likely to be on medications.

Their wives are happier and healthier – less likely to see a therapist, less likely to be diagnosed with depression, less likely to be put on medication, more likely to go to the gym, and report higher levels of marital satisfaction. And a happier wife means a happier husband!

Gender equality has meant that women are freer to pursue sexual activities, while access to birth control has meant that sex is more accessible to men. Anil Dash, an entrepreneur and writer in New York City, says, “At a functional level, the widespread, inexpensive availability of birth control is a huge benefit to straight and straightish guys for an obvious reason: Sex is fun! But that’s not the only benefit. Beyond the selfish benefits for men, there’s the basic human compassion of wanting people I love to have agency over the essential aspects of their health and their lives.”

Both sexes have benefitted from the ability to control the spacing of each child. Although women bear the burdens of pregnancy and childbirth, both parties usually bear the costs of raising children. Because reproduction affects all aspects of life, reproductive rights are one of the critical areas where gender equality has benefited men. To quote Dash again: “I’ve been able to make smarter, more thoughtful decisions about how to time my career, my being a parent and my other obligations because of the flexibility and freedom afforded to me by having easy access to birth control. It let me hold off on becoming a dad until I had gotten closer to being a man worthy of being one … I see as a husband, a father, and a friend to other husbands and fathers who have been in the same situation, that we’ve been able to better serve our families and our communities because our wives and partners have had authority over what happens with their bodies. Freeing women to have control frees us men who have built our lives with them.”

Liberating and empowering women is in the interest of men since it gets them the things they want – a better relationship with their spouse, more freedom and empowerment for themselves, and higher levels of happiness and health.

Better relationships with their children

Men have better and more enriched relationships with their children because feminism has led to improved family leave for workers of both sexes, combined with social acceptance of males playing a greater part in parenting and a more important role in their children’s lives.

Surveys show a clear correlation between the level of gender equality and the frequency of violence in a family – when the level of gender equality in the childhood home is high, the level of physical violence is low. This applies to violence against children as well as to violence between partners. And the finding is dramatic: Gender equality in the home reduces the risk of violence against children by almost two-thirds.

In countries with high gender parity, where men share in housework and childcare, their children are happier and healthier. Their children do better in school (lower rates of absenteeism, higher rates of achievement, less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD) and are less likely to need psychiatric care / medication.  Men also get to experience the joy of increased bonding with their children. Today, in Western societies, fathers spend triple the amount of time with their kids than they did in 1965. Without feminism, this hugely rewarding aspect of being a man would not exist. 

Gender equality is in the interest of men since it gets them something they want – happier and healthier children, combined with a deeper and more meaningful relationship with them.  Such a connection with another human being is recognized to be one of the key goods for achieving happiness in life.

Reduced poverty

More gender equal societies have stronger and wealthier economies.  As a result, males score higher on economic well-being due to greater opportunities/prosperity and increased spending on social services, education, healthcare, and development.

Just because it is called “feminism” doesn’t mean it hasn’t been good for males.  Parity between the sexes makes men happier, improving their health, relationships, welfare, and well-being.

What’s not to like, guys? 

True men’s rights activists should familiarize themselves with all the ways that gender equality benefits them, and if they really want to improve men’s lives, they should be joining hands with their sisters to dismantle the destructive and outdated patriarchal ideals which contribute to creating a toxic definition of masculinity.

Everyone benefits from gender equality … it is up to everyone to make it happen.

Categories
Amazing Stats

The Economic Benefits of Women Empowerment

We often hear that companies and individuals want to empower women because it’s the right thing to do. But that’s not the only reason to empower women.

Empowered women positively benefit the economy when they’re given a seat at the table.

In this blog, we explore what happens when women have a seat at the table and the inequities weighing them down are lifted. Particularly:

  • The economic benefits of empowered women
  • Women’s participation in Peace Processes
  • More broadly within the global community, how lifting the burdens of inequity can peace and stability

Let’s dive in!

The economic benefits of empowered women

Better economies, healthier citizens and enhanced wellbeing.

Stronger economies and higher incomes lead to reduced poverty, with all of its attendant ills, hunger, disease, and weak health. Growing prosperity results in increased expenditure on social services, education, healthcare, and development for everyone to enjoy.

  • An increase in the share of women legislators is also positively correlated with investment in education and health.
  • A study of women’s personal empowerment at the household level—including indicators such as property and inheritance rights, rights in marriage, divorce, and custody, and the level of violence against women in the home—found that less empowerment in the household correlates with less stability nationwide (measured by political instability, lack of freedoms, autocracy, corruption, and internal conflict).
  • Countries are more prosperous and stable as the gender gap closes. Countries that educate women have better economies, healthier citizens, and less violence than those that don’t.

When gender equality starts with education, families get the opportunity to improve their lives.

The longer girls stay in school, the fewer child marriages, meaning family planning and maternal / child health improve.

It is much harder to leave dangerous relationships and situations without an education to fall back on.

Better education leads to more and better opportunities. Each additional year of girls’ education increases family income, reducing family poverty, improving child health, and lowering infant mortality by 5-10%.

Greater food security.

  • Females globally have a 27% higher risk than men of facing severe food insecurity. 60% of all undernourished people are women and girls.
  • The tradition of women eating last continues to be widely followed, especially in rural areas, and it often leaves women hungry /
  • suffering from malnutrition, while the males of the family are food secure.

The wellbeing of children is often linked to that of mothers. With more income and financial independence, women can increase household spending on children’s nutrition, health, and education.

Fewer societal problems as gender-related violence is reduced

A healthy economy is a machine powered by well-adjusted, well-educated, synergistic people.

Femicide, human trafficking, abused women and children, rape-culture, honour killings, FGM, and female foeticide / infanticide all result from gender inequality.

Unequal societies are less cohesive, with higher rates of anti-social behaviour and violence. Countries with greater gender equality are more connected.

Reduced racial discrimination

Women in marginalized racial groups face significantly more discrimination, receiving lower pay, fewer job opportunities and worse healthcare.  When gender equality is intersectional, this reduces racial discrimination.

When women go into a sector of the economy, including politics, it opens the doors for other minorities to follow. 

Historically, the success of women and the success of minorities BIPOC has been intertwined – we are both oppressed, with the degree being different, but a win for one is a win for the other.

Greater peace: Better government, improved decision-making, enhanced social / political stability, and conflict reduction and resolution

  • IMPROVED DECISION-MAKING: Multiple studies found that women in government are more likely to propose legislation which improves the lives of families and is more reflective of the collective interest.
  • Female lawmakers are more likely to advocate for policies that support education and health [PDF]. Parliaments with a higher share of women lawmakers are also more likely to pass and implement legislation that advances gender equality, including laws on domestic violence, rape, and sexual harassment. 
  • Increasing the number of women in the parliament, curbs corruption, improves policy outcomes, promotes bipartisanship, equality, and stability, and the inclusiveness of minority groups in public spheres.
  • When women make up a critical mass of legislatures – around 25% to 30% – they are more likely to challenge established conventions and policy agendas.
  • According to a survey of sixty-five countries, women’s presence in politics restores trust in government and increases the amount of attention paid by political bodies to social welfare, legal protection, and the transparency of government and business. 
  • Women pass more legislation than their male counterparts.
  • ENHANCED SOCIAL/POLITICAL STABILITY: Women are more likely to work across lines, leading to cooperation between parties/groups and greater chance of success for legislative proposals.
  • CONFLICT REDUCTION AND RESOLUTION: In peace efforts, women’s contributions to conflict prevention and resolution reduce conflict and improve stability. Women’s inclusion at leadership tables promotes stability. One study found that when women’s parliamentary representation increases by 5%, a country is almost five times less likely to respond to an international crisis with violence. Within countries, women’s parliamentary representation is associated with a decreased risk of civil war and lower levels of state-perpetrated human rights abuses, such as disappearances, killings, political imprisonment, and torture.
  • MORE COLLABORATIVE / INCLUSIVE: Women take a collaborative approach to peacemaking, organizing across cultural and sectarian divides. This approach – which incorporates the concerns of diverse demographics (e.g., religious, ethnic, and cultural groups) affected by a conflict and with an interest in its resolution – increases the prospects of long-term stability and reduces the likelihood of state failure, conflict onset, and poverty.
    • Once there is a conflict, when women are at the negotiating table, the negotiated peace is more durable and better implemented, meaning it lasts longer – 35% more likely to last at least 15 years. In addition, parties were significantly more likely to agree to talks and subsequently reach an agreement when women’s groups exercised strong influence on the negotiation process, as compared to when they had little or no influence. Including women’s organizations, makes a peace agreement 64% less likely to fail.
    • HONEST BROKERS: Including women at the peace table increases the likelihood of reaching an agreement because women are often viewed as honest brokers by negotiating parties. Because women often operate outside existing power structures, and generally do not control fighting forces, they are more widely perceived to be politically impartial mediators in peace negotiations, compared to men.
    • STAGE MASS ACTION: Women often advance peacemaking by employing visible and high-profile tactics to pressure parties to begin or recommit to peace negotiations, as well as to sign accords. Historically, women’s groups have successfully staged mass actions and mobilized public opinion campaigns in many countries to encourage progress in peace talks. In recent times, women’s groups have organized more mass action campaigns in support of peace deals than any other social group.
    • ACCESS TO CRITICAL INFORMATION: Because women tend to have different social roles and responsibilities than men do, they have access to information and community networks that can inform negotiating positions and areas of agreement.
    • BROADER AGENDA: Women are more likely to raise issues in negotiations that help societies reconcile and recover. They raise issues in conflict resolution processes beyond military action, power-sharing arrangements, and territorial gains, arguing for political and legal reforms, social and economic recovery priorities, and transitional justice concerns that can make agreements more durable.
    • ENHANCE POST-CONFLICT RECOVERY: Including women in post-conflict recovery and rebuilding processes improves stability. Groups charged with delivering on a peace agreement are more effective when women participate. Women are also more likely to direct post-conflict resources to the reconstruction of public institutions and provision of services critical to long-term stability, including schools, healthcare services, clean drinking water, and judicial systems.
    • When at least 35% of a country’s legislature are women, the risk of conflict relapse is close to zero. When women are unrepresented in parliaments, however, the risk of relapse increases over time.
    • GREATER PEACE: Gender equality is a better indicator of a country’s likelihood to deploy military force than its GDP. As gender equality improves, a country’s peace improves. In turn, this is important for gender equality because war disproportionately affects women.
    • Higher levels of gender equality are associated with a lower propensity for conflict, both between and within states. States with higher levels of political, social, and economic gender equality are less likely to use military force to settle disputes.
    • According to one study analyzing data from 1954 to 1994, there is a statistically significant relationship between the percentage of female leaders and the level of violence in a crisis.
    • Individuals, both men and women, who do not support gender equality are more likely to express hostility towards other countries and to minorities within their own country, according to a study of five countries around the Pacific—China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, and the United States.
    • States that are characterized by ethnic and gender inequality—as well as human rights abuse—are more likely to become involved in militarized and violent interstate disputes, rely on force in an international dispute, and be the aggressors during international disputes.
    • Higher levels of women’s political participation are associated with a lower risk of civil war and a reduced likelihood of state-perpetrated political violence—fewer killings, forced disappearances, torture, and political imprisonments.
    • The most rapid post-conflict reductions in poverty were observed in areas where women reported higher levels of empowerment, according to one study of conflict-affected communities.
    • Inequality in family law—for example, policies that disadvantage women regarding age and consent of marriage, the criminalization of marital rape, and inheritance law and practices—is a significant predictor of state instability and fragility, according to a quantitative analysis of 171 countries.
    • Women in police forces are less likely than their male counterparts to use excessive force and far more likely to de-escalate tensions and build trust with the communities they serve, thereby advancing stability and the rule of law.
    • Surveys confirm that women’s participation in the security sector is associated with fewer misconduct complaints and improved citizen perceptions of force integrity.

Statistical Research on Women’s Participation in Peace Processes

(SOURCE: The Council on Foreign Relations at https://www.cfr.org/womens-participation-in-peace-processes/why-it-matters#collapse-18768)

  • Peace agreements are more durable and better implemented when women participate in peace processes.
    • One study analyzed 130 peace agreements signed since 1990 and found a statistically significant relationship between peace agreements signed by women and the durability of peace. The study also found that linkages between women signatories and women-led civil society groups led to more provisions in final agreements that were focused on political reform, and higher implementation rates of those provisions, which increased the likelihood of durable peace. Source: Krause, Krause, and Branfors
    • A qualitative review of forty peace and constitution-drafting negotiations since 1990 found that parties were significantly more likely to agree to talks and subsequently reach an agreement when women’s groups exercised strong influence on the negotiation process, as compared to when they had little or no influence. Source: Paffenholz et al.
  • Women have a comparative advantage in interactions with community members, which amplifies situational awareness and helps military commanders fulfill their mandates, including the protection of civilians. Source: UN Women (January 2015)
  • Surveys confirm that women’s participation in the security sector is associated with fewer misconduct complaints and improved citizen perceptions of force integrity.
  • A visible presence of female peacekeepers has been shown to empower women and girls in host communities and can raise women’s participation rates in local police and military forces.
    • In Liberia, observers attributed an increase in women’s participation in the national security sector—from 6 percent to 17 percent over nine years—to the example set by the all-female police units deployed as part of the UN peacekeeping mission. Source: Pruitt

Gender balance in peacekeeping reduces sexual violence.

Greater gender balance in peacekeeping forces reduces the risk of sexual exploitation and abuse. Estimates suggest that increasing the proportion of women in the military from 0 to 5 percent reduces abuse allegations by more than half. Source: Karim and Beardsley

Female officers are better able to respond to concerns about women’s physical safety.

Data from thirty-nine countries demonstrates that women are more likely to report instances of gender-based violence to female officers—a finding anecdotally supported for police, military, and peacekeeping personnel. Source: Miller and Segal in UN Women (2011)

  • Higher levels of women’s political participation are associated with a lower risk of civil war and a reduced likelihood of state-perpetrated political violence—fewer killings, forced disappearances, torture, and political imprisonments. Source: Melander (November 2005); Melander (March 2005)
  • A quantitative analysis found that the longer a country has had female suffrage before the outbreak of an international dispute, the higher the likelihood that it will resolve the dispute without using military force. Source: Caprioli (2000)
  • According to a survey of sixty-five countries, women’s presence in politics restores trust in government and increases the amount of attention paid by political bodies to social welfare, legal protection, and the transparency of government and business. Source: Hudson et al; Inter-Parliamentary Union
  • Commissions charged with delivering on specific aspects of a peace agreement—such as monitoring disarmament, establishing a truth and reconciliation process, or drafting a constitution—were more effective when women participated. Source: Paffenholz et al.
  • Women’s inclusion in efforts to disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate ex-combatants eases tensions, opens dialogue, and improves protections for child soldiers.
    • Among former combatants in Sierra Leone, 55 percent identified women in the community as central figures in aiding reintegration, compared to 32 percent citing international aid workers and 20 percent citing community leaders. Source: Mazurana and Carlson; DCAF (2011)
  • Large gaps in female and male literacy rates and an excess of young men are associated with both more conflict incidents and higher conflict-related fatalities, according to one study of eighty-five districts in Northeast India. Source: Forsberg and Olsson
  • Inequality in family law—for example, policies that disadvantage women regarding age and consent of marriage, the criminalization of marital rape, and inheritance law and practices—is a significant predictor of state instability and fragility, according to a quantitative analysis of 171 countries. Source: Bowen, Hudson, and Lynne
  • A study of women’s personal empowerment at the household level—including indicators such as property and inheritance rights, rights in marriage, divorce, and custody, and the level of violence against women in the home—found that less empowerment in the household correlates with less stability nationwide (measured by political instability, lack of freedoms, autocracy, corruption, and internal conflict). Source: Hudson
  • Rising bride prices are associated with increased violence and terrorism.
    • Research found that bride prices are subject to destabilizing inflation, putting marriage out of reach for many young men. This incentivizes violence to obtain the necessary funds to marry. Source: Hudson and Matfess
  • Men who support values of “honor culture” (male societal privilege and control over female sexuality) are more likely to have participated in political violence during protests, according to a study in Thailand. Source: Bjarnegård, Brounéus, and Melander
  • Wartime rape also fuels displacement.
    • A 2013 International Rescue Committee study of displaced persons who fled Syria for neighboring Jordan and Lebanon found that the majority identified the danger of rape as a primary reason for leaving cities under siege. Threats of abduction spurred the 2014 exodus of two hundred thousand members of the Yazidi community in the Sinjar region of northern Iraq. Source: International Rescue Committee; Human Rights Watch

Female political inclusion is a social, economic, and political good in itself: Including women in the political process engenders significant social, political and economic benefits.

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Amazing Stats

Benefits of Diversity: Business Case for Toppling the Patriarchy

One of the biggest misconceptions about gender equality in the economy is that it benefits only women.

The economic truth is: Everyone benefits from gender equality.

These stats on the economic benefits of diversity and inclusion tell us that equality in the workforce isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the profitable thing to do.

How does gender equality impact GDP (the economy)?

If women played an identical role in labor markets to men, the annual global GDP would be increased by 2025 by 26% or $28 trillion.  (McKinsey Global Institute)

This impact is roughly equivalent to the size of the combined Chinese and US economies today.

An alternative “best in region” scenario, in which all countries match the progress toward gender parity of the fastest-improving country in their region, would by 2025 add as much as $12 trillion in annual GDP, equivalent in size to the current GDP of Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom combined.

The economic benefits of gender equality are particularly high in rapidly aging societies, where boosting women’s labor force participation offsets the impact of a shrinking workforce. (McKinsey Global Institute)

Educated women raise educated children. Thus, current investment in them also produces an automatic investment in the future economy and workforce. For every 1% increase in girls educated, a country’s GDP increases by 0.3%. (The World Bank)

How diversity impacts company performance

Diverse leadership teams outperform non-diverse leadership teams because they widen the perspective of the organization. This leads to better decision making.

Diversity of opinion leads to better insights, fewer blind-spots, more experimentation, greater knowledge sharing, higher levels of innovation, and a more holistic approach, generating higher corporate achievement. (Multiple research studies)

This one change alone has the potential by 2028 to add $8 trillion or 38% of the $21 trillion US economy. (Accenture)

There is a strong link between a firm’s financial performance and how it handles diversity: 

Firms with 3 or more women in senior management score better on all dimensions of effectiveness and efficiency.  (McKinsey & Company)

Companies managed by women report more motivated workers and higher productivity than those managed by men. Individuals with female managers were 6% more engaged than those with male leaders. (Gallup)

Increased gender diversity improves profitability by 21%. It also provided a 27% likelihood of outperforming on longer-term value creation as measured by improved margins.  (McKinsey & Company)

Increasing ethnic and racial diversity improves that measure to 35% more likely to outperform financially.

Companies exhibiting above-average financial performance have a greater proportion of women in senior operating roles than do their fourth-quartile peers: 10% versus 1% of total executives.  (McKinsey & Company)

For firms ranking in the top quartile of executive-board diversity, ROEs were 53% higher, on average, than they were for those in the bottom quartile.

EBIT margins at the most diverse companies were 14% higher, on average, than those of the least diverse companies.

For every 10% increase in gender diversity, EBIT rose by 3.5%.

Corporations with at least 10% women on their Boards have 2.5 % to 5% higher ROE; firms where women are at least 30% of C-suite have 15% higher profitability. (Nasscom)

Companies with the most women on their Boards outperformed those with the least on return on sales by 16% and return on invested capital by 26%. (Catalyst)

Data from more than 800 business units from the retail and hospitality industry showed that gender-diverse business units in retail had 14% higher average comparable revenue than less diverse business units, while those in hospitality showed 19% higher average quarterly net profit than less-diverse business units. (Gallup)

There are also many qualitative findings that support the benefits of a diversity-friendly workforce:

Productivity: Firms with improved gender equality, providing more child care, experience significant productivity increases. (University of Greenwich Study)

Talent pools: Greater gender equality allows a firm to attract and retain top talent. Hiring the best people lays the foundation for a stronger and more stable business. (Multiple research studies)

Employee churn and engagement: Leveling the playing field makes the whole workforce, not just the women, happier: it reduces stress, improves the quality of life, reduces turnover, and increases employee engagement. (Global Women)

Diversity and consumers

Women are powerful consumers for firms that effectively communicate with them. (ie. Not portraying ridiculous stereotypes).

Women are responsible for 70% to 80% of consumer purchases.  Involving them in product development and marketing results in better targeting of this critical demographic. (Multiple research studies)

Ethics also impacts purchasing decisions.

Ethics and social responsibility are fast becoming a key issue for consumers.  53% of consumers will react adversely when disappointed by a brand’s stance on a social issue, and 25% will refuse to go back to the brand. (Accenture)

Conclusion

Diversity isn’t just a buzzword for companies, and it’s not purely an altruistic endeavor.

Diversity has a tangible impact on the performance of companies and results in a stronger and more robust economy.

Categories
Amazing Stats

Stats on Child Marriage and Solutions

Child Marriage by the Numbers

Child marriage involves a marital arrangement where one or both people are under 18 years of age. Most commonly, a young girl is married to an older man, often much older.

Global child marriage stats

Here are some global on Child Marriage stats.

82% of child marriages involve girls.

23 to 29 girls are married every minute.

Every 2.5 seconds a girl under 18 has her future stolen.

Each year, despite most countries having laws against it, 12 – 15 million girls are married before the age of 18.

In the world’s poorest families in developing countries:

More than 50% of girls are married before 18.

1 in 9 girls is married before they turn 15.

COVID 19 means at least 4 million additional girls will be forced into early marriage in the next 2 years because of increased poverty, the death of family members who might have protected them, the closure of schools, and the breakdown of community supports.

Due to the undocumented nature of most child marriages, official statistics are underreported.

Sexual abuse and child marriage

Globally, what is the leading cause of death in girls aged 15 – 19?

(a) Complications in pregnancy and childbirth.
(b) Starvation due to famine and insecure food sources.
(c) Disease due to inadequate access to health care.
(d) War, terrorism and insurrection.
(e) Murder.

The answer is, (a) Globally, complications in pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death in girls aged 15-19.

Child marriage devastates a girl’s health:

• They’re neither physically nor emotionally ready to give birth.
• They face higher risk of death in childbirth and are particularly vulnerable to pregnancy-related injuries.

Children born to girls not ready to be mothers are at a higher risk of malnourishment, stunting, abuse, injury, and early death.

Marrying before 18 increases the risk of HIV:

5000 females are infected with HIV every week, with 1 in 7 new infections occurring in adolescent girls, and that rate is increasing.

Child brides cannot negotiate for safe sex – they lack the power, and they don’t understand what sex or condoms are.

Due to the undocumented nature of most child marriages, official statistics are underreported.

Child Marriage in the US

While Child Marriage is more common outside of the western world; child marriage is still legal through various loopholes in 13 states in the US.

Legal Age of MarriageState(s)
No Age FloorJudgets can order approval
California, Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming


Clerks can approve without judge
Alabama, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
14Alaska, North Carolina
15Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, New Mexico
16Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.
17Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Nevada, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oregon, and Tennessee. Nebraska
also requires parental consent until age 19, that state’s age of majority.
18Delaware and New Jersey, with no exceptions.

Data Source: Page two of Understanding State Statutes on Minimum Marriage Age and Exceptions, by Tahirih Justice Center, July 1, 2019

Tahirih Justice Center’s report named 10 states in the US where a judge could approve a marriage license involving a minor of any age.

In 12 states a clerk could approve a marriage license without court order.

In California, the legal age of marriage is 18 years or older, but there are statutory exemptions that, when met, would allow a child of any age to marry through a court order.

Negative repercussions for little girls

Besides devastating her health, what else does child marriage do to a young girl?

(a) It always ends her childhood and usually ends her ability to make life choices.
(b) It usually ends her education, as she is generally forced to drop-out of school.
(c) It usually ends her chances at a vocation and being able to earn a living.
(d) The consequences of husband care, pregnancy, childcare and household responsibilities, including looking after her in-laws, losing her friends and dreams, and exposure to violence can overwhelm her psychologically.
(e) All of the above are true.

All are true!

Child marriage usually means depriving a girl of her childhood, dreams, education, friends, life choices, learning a vocation, and being able to earn a living. Girls married before 18 are twice as likely to report being beaten by their husbands and are often victims of sexual abuse, post-traumatic stress, and severe depression. To make matters worse, child brides are frequently trafficked for sex or labour to provide financial gain for the spouse.

What does this mean?

Child marriage creates a huge threat to a country’s economic and social development:

• For every extra year a girl stays in school, she increases her future earnings by about 15%.
• Ending the practice could generate more than $500 billion annually.
• It perpetuates intergenerational poverty – children of parents with no education or skills are unlikely to break out of the poverty trap.

Social norms that value boys over girls mean finances are reserved for boys’ education, while girls are quickly married-off.

End child marriage:
GIRLS SHOULD WALK TO SCHOOL – NOT DOWN THE AISLE.


DON’T DESTROY A GIRL’S DREAMS – GIVE HER THE RIGHT TO PLAY, TO EDUCATION, TO A VOCATION, AND TO A FULL LIFE.

Why does child marriage still exist?

Which of the following explain why the problem of child marriage still persists?

(a) Failure by most countries to enact laws against child marriage.
(b) Strong laws against child marriage exist in most countries, but those laws are not enforced.
(c) The continuing existence of the Patriarchy, which views females as commodities.
(d) Gender inequality and poverty.
(e) All of the above are true except for (a).

All explain the persistence of child marriage except for (a) – most countries have enacted strong laws against child marriage.

Child marriage continues because:

  • The law is not enforced.
  • Of patriarchal beliefs that females are property, that girls must be married early to protect them from premarital sex, and that education is wasted on girls, combined with poverty and gender inequality.

UNICEF estimates that 25 million child marriages were prevented in the last decade because of global efforts. Overall, child marriage was declining, especially in India and parts of South Asia, where rates dropped by about 35% between 2013 and 2019.

But COVID 19 has significantly impeded progress, putting at least 4 million additional girls at risk.

What can you do?

You may be asking, “What can we do to stop child marriage?”

For starters Check out the this TEDx talk: A survivor’s plea to end child marriage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkH0jZPLB5M
Payzee Mahmod | TEDxLondonWomen

Here are some other suggestions:

Education

Educate communities about the harms/costs/risks of child marriage. Ensure parents are aware of other options for their daughters. Empower girls and young women with information and ways to make their voices heard.

Resources

• Strengthen economic opportunities for vulnerable households.
• Ensure adequate resources for education, health, and protection are available for BOTH boys and girls.
• Create a supportive legal and policy environment.
• Enforce laws regarding child marriage.
Collaborate

Collaboration

• Work with religious / social / political leaders and local celebrities to change cultural norms.
• Support organizations working to end child marriage.
• Work with your government to pass resolutions to end violence against children globally, including child marriage.

Support organizations that work to stop Child Marriage. Here’s a list created by The Pixel Project:

Support organizations fighting child marriage

Global

  1. Breakthrough – global
  2. CARE – Global
  3. Humanium: Help the Children – Global 
  4. Girls Not Brides – Global
  5. Save the Children – global

Asia and the middle east

  1. Egyptian Foundation for Advancement of the Childhood Condition – Egypt
  2. Saarthi Trust – India
  3.  Seyaj – Yemen
  4. The Knowledge Hub on Child Marriage – India
  5. Vasavya Mahila Mandali – India 
  6. The Knowledge Hub on Child Marriage – India
  7. Vasavya Mahila Mandali – India 
  8. World Vision – Marriage Later/Studies First Programme – Bangladesh
  9. The Knowledge Hub on Child Marriage – India
  10. Vasavya Mahila Mandali – India 
  11. World Vision – Marriage Later/Studies First Programme – Bangladesh

Africa

  1. The Coexist Initiative – Kenya
  2. Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) – Tanzania

Western / developed countries

  1. Forward – UK
  2. Girls UP – USA
  3. ICRW – USA
Categories
Amazing Stats

Stats on Human Trafficking

Modern Slavery / Human trafficking involves the exploitation of human beings through forced prostitution, marriage and labor, and organ removal.

Stats on human trafficking

  • There are more slaves in the world today than at any other time in human history!
  • An estimated 20 – 40 million people were held in bondage in 2019, meaning there are more slaves in the world today than at any other time in human history.
  • The number of slaves is growing by over 1 million per year.
  • In the time you took to read this post, another human being was trafficked into slavery.
  • Every 30 seconds another human being becomes a new victim of human trafficking.
    • Over 70% of victims are female
    • Over 50% of victims are children
  • The world’s fastest-growing criminal industry is human trafficking.
  • It generates greater than $150 billion per year in revenues.
  • Over $99 billion was earned from sexual exploitation, primarily of females and children.
  • OSCE studies show that sexual exploitation can yield an ROI ranging from 100% to 1,000% on the cost of the “asset”.
  • In the West, the average annual profits generated by each female in forced sexual servitude is $100,000.
  • One study calculated the profit generated by a Dutch trafficker was $295,786 in the 14 months that three women were sexually exploited.