A glimpse into women’s rights around the world

Laura Pohl, Staff Writer

Bodily autonomy: something taken away from women globally. Despite progress in some countries, around the world women’s rights are being stripped. However, women’s unity and strength are unwavering against these oppressive systems. 

Last year, Ebrahim Raisi was elected president of Iran. Part of Raisi’s campaign is enforcing women’s dress-code and intensifying street patrol known as the “mortality police.” This allows patrollers to physically or verbally abuse women for as little as a loose head covering. In Masha Amini’s case, she died while in custody of the Islamic Government for allegedly wearing her hijab incorrectly. Amini’s death catalyzed protests in Iran against government mandated head coverings. They feel that the choice to wear a hijab should be theirs and not compulsory. Therefore, as a form of civil disobedience many women have taken to not wearing their head coverings in public. To suppress these protests, the Iranian government is arresting activists and forcing them to confess publicly. The violent methods used to control protestors lead to injuries and deaths daily. However, since there’s no pointed leader of the movement, it is harder to subdue the voices of women in Iran.

Beyond Iran, the fight continues in East Africa, where women are victims to systematic sexual and gender-based violence. Many women are subject to child marriage and are seen as incapable of decision making to the same capacity as men. Furthermore, they do not have access to safe birth or abortions, resulting in high maternal mortality rate. Nevertheless, in countries like Tanzania, women’s ability to hold positions of political power further the progress in reproductive rights. For years, girls were forced into pregnancy testing and expelled if it was positive. Recently, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child ruled that this violated these girl’s rights. 

The pattern of women’s rights being taken unfairly continues in Afghanistan. It has been nearly one year since the Taliban, an extreme fundamentalist group, took control. Since then, they have banned girls from attending school past sixth grade, almost entirely prevented them from working in public, and eliminated their positions in politics. The Taliban continue to restrict rights as they demand women’s faces be covered in public and advise women to stay home except for when considered “necessary.” In doing so, the Taliban have effectively removed Afghan women from society. Against all odds, feminists protest in the streets trying to gain any kind of momentum. So far, Taliban authorities continue to use violent methods to shut these protests down. 

Even though American women are seen equal to men by law, there are still debates over women’s rights. In the United States, the Supreme Court case that nationally allowed women access to safe abortions, “Roe v. Wade,” was overturned in June. Since then, the power over female reproductive rights has fallen onto each individual state. In Maryland, public medical assistance programs are required to cover abortion services. 

With women’s bodily autonomy being a heated topic globally, it is imperative for women to continue to unite by supporting each other with their voices. With women’s bodily autonomy being threatened globally, there are many ways to support the movement locally. One way is getting involved in Dulaney’s new “Girl Up” club.

“[Girl Up’s mission is to] provide tools and training for young women in our area,” says co-president Jeeda Hennawi.

One of the ways Girl Up is supporting women is stocking Dulaney’s bathrooms with menstrual products and spreading awareness about women’s issues at their monthly meetings. Their current goal is to stock more frequently and you could help support women by joining the club or donating. 


Editor’s Note: 

On behalf of the Dulaney community, we stand with women specifically in Iran and Afghanistan right now and commend them for their bravery and strength.