Women And Girls: 7 Feminist Laws Iceland Has That the World Needs #feminist #feminism #globalgoals #sdgs

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By a lot of measures, Iceland is the best place to be a woman. Iceland starts gender equality lessons in preschool. The country has not just one, but three, laws protecting women at work. Sick of media, treating women as sex objects? That doesn’t fly in Iceland, where a law bans gender discriminatory advertising. Plus, the country was the first to ban strip clubs for feminist reasons.

Overall, the Nordic country has a near perfect score on the gender-equality scale. For eight years, the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report ranked Iceland No. 1 on its list of countries actively closing gaps in gender equality. In 2009, Iceland became the first country to completely close the gender gap in education and health. And in 2016, Iceland was 87% of the way to closing the gender gap in all sectors.

 

Clearly, Iceland is leading the way, so what are the policies and standards in place that the rest of the world is looking up to?

Here are seven laws and standard practices that support women’s rights, and penalize gender discrimination.

1. Women’s Equality Is Literally Protected by Law 

The Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men is the reason gender equality is a hallmark of Icelandic culture. The law, established in 2000, was revamped in 2008 with the overarching goal of reaching equal rights through all paradigms of society. This law includes information on gender equality for government and businesses to follow.

Within the law there are nine defined areas of gender discrimination. It identifies differences between indirect and direct gender discrimination, acknowledges gaps in wages, and recognizes that gender-based violence is detrimental to society.

The law draws out a roadmap to achieving gender equality, even including language on changing negative gender stereotypes. Within the law are 35 articles outlining specific policies on everything from outlawing gender discrimination in schoolbooks and the workplace to buying goods and services.

2. ‘Equal Pay For Equal Work’ Is Mandatory, Almost

When Icelanders found out it would be another 122 years before they closed the gender pay gap at the current rate, that was unacceptable. Lawmakers took action, announcing on International Women’s Day that Iceland would require companies to prove they pay employees equal rates for equal work, or pay the fine.

Parliament is expected to pass the bill becoming the first country to make gender wage discrimination illegal. After passing, the government expects the law to roll into effect by 2020 in an effort to close the gender wage gap.

Currently women make between 14-18% less than men. But the country is soon to ending the last bit of gender inequality in the workplace.

“We want to break down the last of the gender barriers in the workplace,” said Thorsteinn Viglundsson, Iceland’s social affairs and equality minister. “History has shown that if you want progress, you need to enforce it.”

3. Companies’ Boards Must Include At Least 40% Women

 

After the shocking corruption and financial collapse in 2009, the government made an effort to include more women in seats of power to reduce corruption. They also prosecuted those responsible for the financial crisis, unlike in the US.

Article 15 of the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men states that no public company board or government council or committee may have less than 40% gender equality.

The law also states that any company with more than 25 employees must have a gender equality program in place, which will review goals every three years.

 4. Best Parental Leave Policy in the World 

Iceland has the best maternity/paternity policy in the world. The official law, created in 2000, is known as the Icelandic Act on Maternity/Paternity and Parental Leave. The law itself was amended in 2006 increasing parental leave from six to nine months. The government covers parental leave for birth, adoption, and foster care for all employees in Iceland, even those who are self-employed paying 80% of earned salary to new parents. Parents split the time of leave equally to ensure children grow up with equal care from both parents, and workplaces are balanced. The policy is truly the gold standard of parental care.

5. From Preschool to College, Kids Learn Gender Equality Matters  

After kids grow up with equal time from parents, gender equality lessons don’t stop. Article 23 of the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men mandates that gender equality must be taught in schools throughout all levels of education.

That means from early education through university, which is free, all sports, classes, and forms of schooling must include and practice gender equality. Iceland has no time for sexist books or assignments either.

The law states: “educational materials and textbooks shall be designed in such a way as not to discriminate against either sex.” So you would never see an assignment, like the school in Utah, which forced girls to go on dates with male classmates, telling girls to “keep it to yourself” if they feel fat.

6. Paying For Sex Is Illegal. Stripclubs Are Illegal. Prostitutes Are Victims. 

Paying for sex is illegal in Iceland. It has been for decades. The difference, however, is in 2007 the government amended the law arguing that most people who turn to soliciting sex have no other option or were coerced by others.

So instead of penalizing victims of poor circumstances who are often forced into prostitution, the law places criminalization on those who pay for sex, and third parties involved.

The country also banned stripclubs in 2009 for feminist reasoning. The revised law states no business may profit from nudity of employees. The law passed with full support in parliament.

“It is not acceptable that women or people in general are a product to be sold,” said Kolbrún Halldórsdóttir who proposed the ban on strip clubs.

This applies to public advertising too. No ad may belittle any gender or go against the country’s fierce mission to achieve gender equality.

7. There Is a Magical ‘Ministry of Gender Equality’ 

Ironically, the caveat to achieving gender equality for Nordic countries is taking it for granted.

“Our biggest challenge is taking equality for granted. We relax too much. We think everything is done for good. This worries me,” said Gro Bruntland, Norway’s first female prime minister.

Fortunately, in Iceland, there’s a ministry to complacency on gender equality.  The ministry of gender equality, as in Harry Potter, is magic. But unlike the fictional novel, this ministry is real.

The country created agency to check and balance progress on advancing equality as part of a revisions to the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men. The agency includes a three part council which includes the Equal Status Council, the Complaints Committee, and a new Centre for Gender Equality.

Together these agencies research, advertise, advocate, and check laws on gender equality. Their goal is to create a legal, cultural, historical, social and psychosocial approach to gender equality.

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Good Health & Well-Being: Focus “Child Mortality”; Child deaths can reach the number ZERO #SDGs #Neonatal #GlobalGoals #2030Now

Child-Mortality

UNICEF is working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.

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Sustainable Cities & Communities: This African City May Be the First Ever With 100 Million People Living in It {Lagos!!}#GlobalGoals #SDGs #2030Now

It would be the biggest city in a world of 14 billion people, according to a new study.

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By Henry Ridgwell

LONDON—The world could see its first city with a population of 100 million by the end of this century. That is the conclusion of new research into the speed of urbanization in many fast-growing countries in Africa and Asia, which suggests even small cities could balloon into huge metropolises in the coming decades.

By the end of the century, the world’s population is forecast to reach up to 14 billion. Eighty percent of those people will be living in cities, according to new research from the Ontario Institute of Technology.

“We are now seeing the urbanization wave headed through China, it is toward the latter part of its urbanization. And now it is headed for India, and then we will see it culminate in the big cities of sub-Saharan Africa,” co-author and professor Daniel Hoornweg told VOA via Skype.

That could mean the first 100-million population city, and the top candidate is Lagos, Nigeria.

Africa and cities

Today its population is 20 million, not the largest, as that accolade belongs to Tokyo with about 38 million people, but one of the fastest growing. In two generations, Lagos has grown a hundredfold. By 2100 it is projected to be home to more people than the state of California.

“Lagos, Dar Es Salaam, Kinshasa: These are the cities that are looking at four- to five-fold increases in population. By the end of the century, the lion’s share of large cities, the top 20 if you will, most of those will be in Africa,” Hoornweg said.

Lagos sprawls across 1,000 square kilometers, an urban jungle of skyscrapers, shanty towns and everything in between. Its population grows by 900 people per day.

The poorest residents, often migrant communities, live in slums by the lagoon. Amnesty International has warned of ruthless forced evictions to make way for new developments, which have left more than 30,000 people homeless and 11 dead.

Oladipupo Aiveomiye lives in the Ilaje-Bariga shantytown.

“The threat of being evicted, the threat of being chased away overnight has gripped people to the extent that they cannot even work or operate in this area,” he said.

Young continent

Across Africa the median age is younger than 20 and the fertility rate is 4.4 births per woman. Even small cities are forecast to balloon in size. Niamey in Niger could grow from less than 1 million today to 46 million by the end of the century; Blantyre in Malawi from 1 million to 40 million.

Asia, too, will witness huge urban growth, with Kabul in Afghanistan projected to hit 50 million people.

Hoornweg says despite the associated problems of slums, poor sanitation and pollution, increasing urbanization can be a good thing.

“Cities, by their nature, because of a more compact lifestyle, can provide a quality of life higher than anywhere else with less energy per unit of GDP,” he said. “So, cities actually provide a really important opportunity. We will not get to global sustainability without big cities.”

Many cities in the West are predicted to plateau or decline in size. By the end of the century, only 14 of the biggest 100 are forecast to be in North America or Europe.

Reduced Inequalities: Trump Is Ending Temporary Protected Status for Liberian Immigrants #SDGs #GlobalGoals #2030Now

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An estimated 4,000 Liberian immigrants could be affected.

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump gave an estimated 4,000 Liberian immigrants with protected status one year to return to their home country.

The program allowing Liberians to live temporarily in the United States, Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), was first implemented by former president Bill Clinton in 1999, and was subsequently renewed every 12 to 18 months by presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Obama last renewed the program for18 months in 2016.

But Trump ended the DED program, saying that “conditions in Liberia have improved” and that, “Liberia is no longer experiencing armed conflict and has made significant progress in restoring stability and democratic governance.”

He gave Liberians until March 31 of 2019 to return to Liberia, or face deportation, the New York Times reports.

Liberians will now become the fifth population of immigrants to lose protected status, after Trump ended protections for some immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan in the past year.

A number of the Liberians affected by the new directive have been in the US since 1991, the year that the first Liberian Civil War began, according to a White House memo. They were initially given legal shelter under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program, before later applying for the DED program.

Liberia is the fourth poorest country in the world, with a GDP per capita of just over $880 per year. More than one in two people live below the poverty line in Liberia, and nearly one in five people live in extreme poverty.

In 2014, Liberia experienced a deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus that killed more than 4,000 people and affected 6,000 others, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

But Trump said the country “has made tremendous progress in its ability to diagnose and contain future outbreaks of the disease” since the epidemic was officially declared over in 2015.

The Mordi Ibe Foundation campaigns on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and reduced inequalities within and among countries is goal number 10. This goal calls for the “orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.”

The decision to remove protections for Liberian immigrants received pushback in Congress, with 50 members of Congress calling on Trump to extend protections last week, Newsweek reports.

“[T]he thought that just like that, those people who are caring for your parents or grandparents are suddenly going to vanish and be deported is an outrage to all of us,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, whose state, Minnesota, has the highest population of Liberian immigrants, said in a statement. “[T]hat is why we are really working on this issue in a positive, pragmatic way.”

For many Liberians, Trump’s mandate confirms years of anticipation surrounding the DED program, which had previously been renewed six times.

“Every time it’s coming to an end, you can’t sleep,” Christina Wilson, a DED recipient, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “But this one is the really scary one.”

Responsible Production And Consumption: ‘Reverse Vending Machines’ for Recycling Bottles and Cans Could Be Announced in Days: Report #SDGs #GlobalGoals

In countries that already have the scheme, recycling rates are higher than 90%.

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A leaked report suggests the UK’s long-awaited plastic bottle deposit return scheme could be announced in just days.

It could be a massive step in the fight against waste in Britain — where we get through 13 billion plastic bottles every year, with 7.5 billion ending up in landfill, being incinerated, or in the oceans.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove had previously asked for research to be carried out into how effective the scheme would be. And, according to the Daily Mail , the leaker report shows an unveiling could be imminent.

A Nordic-style deposit return scheme would involve customers being charged a small amount extra when they buy their drinks, which would then be paid back when they return them for recycling. 

A new network of “reverse vending machines” would be placed in shops where customers could return their bottles and cans — with an estimated set-up cost of £15 million.

Recycling experts Eunomia previously said that a deposit of 15p would be enough to ensure 85% of containers were returned.

It’s reported that Tesco, Iceland, and the Co-op would be the first to receive the machines — which would be able to recycle plastic bottles, aluminium cans, and glass bottles.

The report said that launching the scheme could reduce litter from bottles and cans by at least 70%. It has also predicted that launching a deposit return scheme in the UK would create between 3,000 and 4,300 full-time jobs.

In countries with deposit return schemes already in place, recycling rates are higher than 90%. At the end of last year, environment minister Therese Coffey visited Norway, Sweden, and Denmark to see how their systems work, according to an online post from the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The system is also used widely across the US.

A DEFRA spokesperson said , in response to the Daily Mail article, that an independent working group had submitted its report to ministers, who would consider the evidence around deposit return schemes.

“We’ll announce a decision on next steps in due course,” they added. 

The news comes a week after a major new report published by the UK government warned that the amount of plastic in the ocean could triple in a decade, unless we make drastic changes.

The Environmental Audit Committee, an influential committee of MPs, said in December last year that a deposit return scheme would be “vital” in reducing plastic waste — and would cut the number of plastic bottles being thrown away by 700,000 every day. 

Meanwhile, London mayor Sadiq Khan also revealed this week the locations of the first four drinking fountains to be opened in the capital — in an effort to curb the amount of single-use plastic used by Londoners.

The first fountain was installed in Carnaby Street, while the next two will be set up in Liverpool Street station and another in Flat Iron Square in Southwark, reported the Guardian .

Women+Girls: 35 Black Women Are Running for Office in Alabama in 2018 #Women #SDGs #GlobalGoals #WomenInPolitics #Politics #Alabama

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Women In Politics

Call it the Doug Jones effect — or call it something else — but these women are taking the reins.

Maybe it was Democrat Doug Jones’ surprising victory over Republican Roy Moore in the United States Senate runoff election. Maybe it was the success of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements at lifting up women’s voices around the world. Maybe it was a combination of both.

But a wave of political change is coming to the United States — and it’s being led by black women.

In the state of Alabama, where one in four people are black, an unprecedented number of black women — more than 35 — are running for some form of elected office in 2018, NBC reports.  

Nationwide, less than 5% of jobs in Congress, statewide executive offices, and state legislatures are held by black women, despite black women making up more than 7% of the US population. Only one black woman — Rep. Terri Sewell — has ever been elected to federal office in the state of Alabama.

But if the new numbers coming out of that state is any indication, this could soon change.

“This place that was so resistant to change, where, now, a group of women who were looked down upon and dealt first-hand with the vestiges of slavery and segregation are the ones who can lead us forward — it’s monumental,” Quentin James, who works for a PAC that aims to increase the number of black people elected to office in Alabama, told NBC.

On the frontlines of state and local Alabama political races, black women are showing the importance of equal representation, regardless of race, background, or gender.

These women include everyone from Audri Scott Williams, 62, a first-time candidate running for Congress in Montgomery to Rep. Terri Sewell, who is running for reelection in Congress for the fifth time, according to the NBC report.

Mordi Ibe Foundation campaigns on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and goal number 10 — reduced inequalities within and among countries — calls for “the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.”

Both inside and outside of Alabama, black women — who vote at higher rates than any other demographic — still face significant challenges in running for office.

Of the nation’s 100 largest cities, just three black women serve as mayor, and no state has ever had a black woman serve as governor, according to Emily’s List, an organization that helps women run for elected office.

“It’s so important that we step up, that we show the nation that we can lead,” Jameria Moore, who is running for a judgeship at Jefferson County Probate Court, told NBC. “This is an opportunity, that’s how I look at it.”

Clean Water & Sanitation: Beyoncé & Gucci Are Helping 120,000 People Get Clean Water in Burundi #Water #WorldwaterDay #SDGs #GlobalGoals

“Access to water is a fundamental right.”

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Beyoncé thinks that all people should have access to clean drinking water and through her nonprofit BEYGOOD4BURUNDI, she’s helping to advance that goal in the East African country of Burundi.

On March 22, the fashion brand Gucci committed $1 million to BEYGOOD4BURUNDI through its charity arm Chime for Change, which Beyoncé helped co-found along with Salma Hayek Pinault, according to People. Gucci is also a partner of GC.

The pledge will allow 80 wells to be built in the country, so that 120,000 people can have better access to clean water, People reports.

And it will help BEYGOOD4BURUNDI get closer to its goal of bringing clean water to 360,000 girls and women in Burundi by 2020.

Formed in 2017, the nonprofit has already constructed 35 wells in the country, according to its website.

The non-profit works with UNICEF to identify communities most in need, establish relationships with community leaders, and then build infrastructure.

In addition to the wells, the nonprofit builds hand pumps, teaches people about hygiene, and improves sanitation facilities in schools, its website states.

“Access to water is a fundamental right,” Beyoncé said at the time of the nonprofit’s forming.

“When you give children clean and safe water, you don’t just give them life, you give them health, an education, and a brighter future,” she added. “I am committed to helping drive lasting solutions to the water crisis in Burundi.”

Throughout Burundi, only 60% of the population has access to clear drinking water and millions of people have to walk miles to fill containers with water from pits or other water sources and then walk back.

Oftentimes, these water sources are not safe and can lead to waterborne illnesses like diarrhoea, according to UNICEF.

More than 50% of Burundi’s population is under the age of 18, and life expectancy in the country is currently 43 years old, one of the lowest levels in the world, largely because illnesses from contaminated water affect so many young people, UNICEF notes.

The burden of collecting the water, meanwhile, often falls on girls and women and changing this dynamic is a main focus of Beyonce’s campaign.

Because girls and women spend so much time getting water, they often miss out on school and other opportunities, which can set them up for early marriage, poverty, domestic violence, and other harms, UNICEF has found.

Globally, 2.1 billion people lack access to clean drinking water, and 800 children under five die every day because of waterborne illnesses, according to UNICEF.

Efforts like BEYGOOD4BURUNDI are helping to end this crisis one well at a time.

“In Burundi I saw myself, my sisters and my mother in the strength of the women and young sisters travelling miles to carry water for their families,” said Ivy McGregor, ‎director of Philanthropy and Corporate Relations at Parkwood Entertainment, in a press release.

“Today young girls in the ‘Heart of Africa’ are given the gift of hope for a brighter tomorrow through our multi-year partnership with UNICEF and commitment to support safe water access solutions,” she added.

Quality Education: 9 Facts to Know About Education Around the World {SHOCKER} #Education #SDGs #GlobalGoals #Nigeria

#showup for education.

Millions of children and adults around the world lack the access to education for various reasons — some live in conflict zones, others aren’t allowed to attend school because they’re girls, or they don’t attend because their families need them to work and bring in income to support the family. But because education promotes the understanding of social justice, interdependence, and identity, it is key to eradicating global poverty by 2030. Here are nine facts you need to know about global education.

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  1. Around the world 59 million children of primary school age are being denied an education, and almost 65 million adolescents are without access to a secondary school.
  2. Conflict and natural disasters have disrupted the education of 75 million children.
  3. In one of three countries, less than three quarters of teachers are trained to national standards, resulting in 130 million children enrolled in school who are not even learning the basics.
  4. A child whose mother can read is 50 percent more likely to survive past the age of 5
  5. Nearly 15 million girls of primary school age will never have the opportunity to learn to read and write in primary school, compared to about 10 million boys.
  6. It would take $39 billion (USD) every year to send all adolescents to school.  
  7. In 2012, there were 168 million child labor workers aged 5 to 17. This is one reason many children cannot attend school.
  8. Over 40 years, equitable access to quality education can help a country raise its gross domestic product per capita by 23 percent.
  9. If all women had a primary education, there would be 1.7 million fewer malnourished children.

Women & Girls: This Woman Was Raped by a Family Member at 15 —& Now Fights for Children Who Have Survived Sexual Assault #SexualViolence #ForcedSex #SDGs #GlobalGoals

Brisa de Angulo is the CEO and founder of Breeze of Hope, and a survivor of sexual violence.

Survivors is a new series focusing on people who have lived through extremely difficult circumstances and come out the other side stronger and more determined than ever to help bring about change. These people are an inspiration, and exemplify just how strong the human spirit can be.

Brisa de Angulo is the CEO and founder of Breeze of Hope, a Bolivia-based nonprofit that works with children who have experienced sexual violence and incest. The organization has provided legal services, social assistance, therapy, and other services to more than 1,500 children in Bolivia since its foundation in 2004.

Bolivia has the highest rate of gender violence in Latin America, Huffington Post reports — and according to government statistics, 87% of women experience sexual violence from a family member. De Angulo herself experienced this form of abuse by a relative when she was a teenager.

This is her story. 


[When I was 15], a family member, who was also a youth pastor, came to live in my house and he started to sexually abuse me. Then he started raping me.

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There was a lot of intimidation and threats to keep silent.

So, I continued to be silent for many months — for eight months —  where he would repeatedly rape me almost daily, several times a day. He would threaten that if I didn’t allow him to rape me, he would rape my little siblings.

In that process, he also threatened that if someone found out what was happening, everything would collapse. [My parents] worked with children, human rights, women’s rights, and so he would use that as a threat, saying, ‘How would your parents feel that they’re trying to protect other people out there but in their own home I’m raping their own child?’

I knew that would have been devastating for my parents, and he used that to keep my silence.

I went into a very deep depression. I dropped out from school. I developed bulimia, and then I developed anorexia. I tried to commit suicide twice. My life was just going downhill. My parents had no idea what was happening, but it was devastating for them. They knew something was wrong, but they didn’t know what.

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In one of those suicide attempts, they found out what was happening and that’s when we decided to take my case to the judicial system. That’s when the second wave of our victimization started because everyone wanted to silence me. My house was set on fire twice. It was stoned. I was kidnapped, almost killed several times. There was a lot of intimidation from the judicial system, and from the community, because I was one of the first adolescents to take my case for rape to trial.

[The prosecutor] threatened to put me in jail if I continued to talk about what happened to me. The judges did not want to take my case. It jumped from one court to another — and they ended up sending my case to the agriculture court, where they deal with cases of animals and plants. I wasn’t even considered a human being.

I had to take my case several times to the constitutional court and I had to go through three trials because of all the mistakes that they made in the process, and on the third trial my aggressor escaped. And so he is a fugitive of justice and he’s being searched for by Interpol.

But in that process, I realized that I wasn’t alone — that there were a lot of girls who were going through what I was going through. There were a lot of children who were silently suffering in their own homes, the majority by family members or someone they know, and with no place to go. I had the support of my mom and dad and brothers and sisters, but most of these girls didn’t have anyone. I didn’t want them to go through what I went through.

So, I decided that I would use the rest of my life to try to make the process a little bit easier and safer for children. At age 17, I started the only program for children who have been sexually abused in the entire country of Bolivia. That was in 2004, and so far we have been able to provide free legal, social, and psychological services to over 1,500 children.

When we started, the conviction rate for sexual crimes was 0.2%, and from the hundreds of cases that we’ve taken we have a 95% conviction rate. So it’s totally gone the other way. And in the last three years, we’ve had a 100% conviction rate.

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We have lawyers take their cases all the way from the beginning to any appeals or anything that has to happen, and then we have a social worker that works with the families. We know that most of the children have a family that will intimidate them or try to keep them silent, so we work very hard with the social worker to make sure that the family has the knowledge and can provide the support that the [child] needs to continue the process of healing.

Then we also provide therapy, but our therapy process is very broad. We provide different types of therapy — art therapy, music therapy, yoga, meditation, play therapy, cognitive therapy — so that every child can find their own way of healing.

So it’s very child-centered. We’re a team dedicated to be there for the children and our advisory board is comprised only of children. They’re pretty much telling us what we’re doing right, what we’re doing wrong, what they want to change. It’s a center where it’s pretty much driven by survivors.

When I started speaking up, 14 or 15 years ago, I was the only one speaking and it was very lonely. It’s very exciting to see other women to gain the control and shatter the silence and the conspiracy of silence and say, “Hey, we are here and we matter and this is what happened to us.”

I feel that most sexual abuse has been thrown under the rug, so even though a lot of us know that it’s happening, it’s not visible. We need to continue uniting voices and show that this is a big problem and put the shame where it belongs, not on the victim, but on the aggressor.

This battle has been happening for a very long time and the changes are very small and very short and sadly we have people in power who don’t see the need to really work on this. There are other more pressing needs in their minds: infrastructure, wars, whatever. Although there’s a lot of consciousness within society about the topic I think we’re still looking at many, many, many more years for actually seeing a dramatic change. It’s not just changing laws. It’s changing the whole conception of how we see the world, how we see children, how we see women.

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Until we change [and start] seeing them as human beings and respecting them and acknowledging them as subjects of human rights, the world is not going to change. We may change some laws and we may change some things, but when push comes to shove we’re going to fall into our old habits.

For me, to see that because of my efforts a child can get justice is extremely healing. There is nothing more rewarding and exciting than to see one of these children, who have been so broken, to have dreams again and smile again. I always tell people that if someone offered me a $10 million job, there’s no way I would take it, or even consider it, because there’s nothing in this world that can provide me with the joy and satisfaction of children smiling again and dreaming again.

We’ve created a society of wounded healers where it is our wounds that heal each other.

 

Good Health And Well-Being: #Cervical #Cancer Will Double Across the Middle East Without HPV Vaccines #HPV #Vaccines #SDGs #GlobalGoals #CervicalCancer #Cancer

“Women’s health issues are not a priority in the region on a political level.”

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By Heba Kanso

BEIRUT, March 21 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Deaths from cervical cancer will double in the Middle East and North Africa by 2035 unless conservative nations vaccinate young women and tackle sexual taboos, a study said on Wednesday.

The Tunisian Centre for Public Health, an advocacy group, urged governments in the region to vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer, and increase screening to save lives.

“There is no public awareness about it,” Zied Mhirsi, co-founder of the center, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“People in general don’t know there is a vaccine. Women’s health issues are not a priority in the region on a political level.”

Cervical cancer is the second most fatal cancer for women in the region, the centre said, predicting some 19,000 deaths in 2035, up from about 9,000 in 2012, without action.

HPV is among the most common sexually transmitted diseases. Most infections do not cause symptoms and go away on their own, but the virus is a leading cause of cancer deaths among women worldwide.

Mhirsi said that discussing sexually transmitted infections like HPV can be a “taboo” in conservative Muslim societies like Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

But Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, has proven a regional leader by giving schoolgirls free vaccines for the past 10 years, he said.

Morocco was worst hit, with more than 2,000 cervical cancer deaths each year, he said.