It’s July and in the U.S., we celebrate American independence on July 4th, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 (despite the fact that it may actually have been signed on August 2nd).
In the U.S., we as women are particularly lucky to be so independent. We have control over our careers, bodies and lifestyles. We have the economic power to support ourselves and our families (even if we don’t yet have equal pay with our male counterparts…yet) and we are pioneers breaking stereotypes of women and fighting gender discrimination.
But we aren’t there yet on an international level.
Women, internationally, continue to be the targets of violence and exploitation, show weaker economic status, have less educational support, fewer health protections and suffer more human rights violations than men.
A few factoids that remind us why independence for women should still be an important priority:
- Globally, about one in three women will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. On average, 30% of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence by their partner. 38% of all murders of women worldwide are committed by the woman’s intimate partner. Only 76 countries have legislation that specifically addresses domestic violence – and just 57 of them include sexual abuse. One UN report said 99.3% of women and girls in Egypt have been subjected to sexual harassment.
- An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked into slavery each year; 80% are girls. An estimated 10.5 million children worldwide – most of them under age – are working as domestic workers in people’s homes, in hazardous and sometimes slavery-like conditions according to the International Labor Organization. More than 71% are girls.
- In 10 countries around the world women are legally bound to obey their husbands.
Here is an excellent summary showing more detail on the status of women internationally from the World Bank.
So as we continue to travel the globe, let’s celebrate our independent spirit as women and continue to support all women in their creation of independent, positive and meaningful lives wherever they may live.
“So the fact that I’m me and no one else is one of my greatest assets. Emotional hurt is the price a person has to pay in order to be independent.”
― Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
“I do not wish them [women] to have power over men; but over themselves.”
― Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
“Be an independent thinker at all times, and ignore anyone who attempts to define you in a limiting way.”
― Sherry Argov, Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirl – A Woman’s Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship
“People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take.”
― Emma Goldman
“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”
― Rumi, The Essential Rumi
“It is easier to live through someone else than to complete yourself. The freedom to lead and plan your own life is frightening if you have never faced it before. It is frightening when a woman finally realizes that there is no answer to the question ‘who am I’ except the voice inside herself.”
― Betty Friedan