Women have been the victims of abuse since time immemorial. This has been the case in nearly if not all of the world’s cultures and religions. Women are subjected to second class human beings and are regarded as inferior socially, physically, mentally and psychologically. In many families across all cultures, women or the wives come second to the men or the husbands and must conform to the rules and directions of the head, who is usually the man.
Among the most critical issues to be dealt with in the society today, is the subjugation of women to low class status and denying them their unalienable freedoms and rights. There are various issues which must be checked and improved if not changed entirely. These issues include but are not limited to issues in marriages, prostitution and female genital mutilation as well as violence against women in marriages (Penelope and Gow, 130).
In many Asian societies, women do not have a say over the issue of marriage. They are subjected to early marriages and denied the prestige of having to choose for themselves. By subjecting them to these marriages, they are denied the right to have education and the chance to develop themselves as free beings. In ‘shackled women’ we see a case of a young lady who is married off to a stranger she barely know. In these Asian communities, parents determine the girl’s husband when she is still a toddler. Considering that the brides in the Asian communities are the one supposed to pay the dowry, a girl’s survival is there determined by the wealth of her parents. There have been cases of girls being killed because their parents did not have enough to pay for the dowry. There have also been cases in of brides being burned just because there was not enough to offer as dowry. A 24 year old graduate for instance was burned by her in laws just because she could not offer enough dowry. Dowry prices have in the recent past gone up to almost 50% of many family households. Despite the government illegalizing the practice, it is still prevalent among the middle Asian communities. The forced marriages also encourage violence against women (Penelope and Gow, 72). This is very wrong and evil and should be changed.
In the issue of prostitution, there have been cases of women being sold to work as prostitutes. This is after denying such women chances of advancing themselves like their men counterparts. About 3000 girls are sold every day in the streets of Karachi (Anamalai). This is so sad considering that these innocent girls have the potential of becoming useful members of the society if given the same chances as boys their age. Girls as young as 13 years are engaged in prostitution in Cape Town South Africa just because they lack any other means of survival (Anamalai). This shows that the moral fabric of such societies is weak and should be strengthened. No wonder they have a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS.
Female genital mutilation is not only evil but also very dangerous. Considering the crude manner in which it is carried out in the communities in Africa, it can easily lead to death or acquisition of dangerous diseases (Rahman and Nahid, 60). This crude practice is so prevalent in the African communities that a move to eradicate it would be met by hostility from both the men and the women. This uncivilized practice though should be abolished irrespective of the hostilities to save the lives and dignity of many African girls.
These are just but some of the core issues that the western feminists need to address in the third world countries. Emancipated women need to join their civilized men counterparts and fight incessantly against these issues that are denying women in the third world countries their true freedom.
Penelope, Harvey, and Peter Gow. Sex and violence: issues in representation and experience.
USA: Routledge, 1994. Print.
Rahman, A, and Toubia Nahid. Female Genital Mutilation: A Guide to Laws and Policies
Worldwide. USA: Zed Books, 2000. Print.
Shackled women. Valli Anamalai. (2008). http://digital.films.com/play/SRRMP5