It's not really about heavy luggage, Rev.

I was reminded this morning by Rev. Joel Edwards on the Today programme’s Thought for the Day that this week marks the run up to International Women's Day which is on Sunday 8 March. It was interesting listening to Rev. Edward’s analysis of the ongoing inequality between men and women such as gaps in salary, or whether a man should help a woman with heavy bags.

You can listen here. By the way, Rev. Edwards, I have no problem with anyone – male or female – helping me with my bags if they see me struggling!

Women in other parts of the world face threats far more serious than coping with heavy luggage, however. I was shocked to read in today’s Times of a leading Afghani actress whose husband was killed in December last year and has been forced into hiding because of the Taleban’s presence in Kabul, the country’s capital city.

This has disquietening echoes of the situation for women in Pakistan’s SWAT valley – also Taleban controlled – my colleague Niluccio blogged on it a few weeks ago.

It’s tragic to read that around the world, women are still struggling for equal rights and are subjected to awful acts of violence, simply because of their gender. 

Earlier today my colleague flagged up a story he’d read in yesterday’s Observer about young girls in Mauritania being force-fed for marriage.   The article uncovers horrifying detail about this practice, such as how torture is sometimes applied on the young girls if they refuse to eat.

And last week Amnesty launched a new poster campaign across the London Tubes, which highlights how rape is regularly used as a weapon of war in some conflicts. Essentially armed forces use sexual violence against women and girls as a part of military tactics to threaten and destabilise a community.  Have a read of Amnesty’s Heather Harvey CiF blog on this for more info.

Whether it be times of conflict or peace, women regularly struggle with inequality and episodes of violence. Far too often this matter gets ignored, which is why organisations like Amnesty seize occasions like International Women’s Day to highlight the struggles facing women and campaign for change.

We’ll be touching on this here later on in the week I’m sure. But in the meantime check out and .

Til the next time

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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