In the UK we recently celebrated the anniversary of women gaining the right to vote. Here we examine six different places across the globe and their response to equality worldwide
In 2017, Ecuador changed it’s laws to allow transgendered people to decide whether they wanted to stand in the “male” or “female” line to vote. Many explained the relief this decision provided as they could now vote without discrimination.
The only election held in the Vatican City is for when cardinals vote for a new pope. As cardinals are only ever male, this means women are not allowed to take part in this vote at all. There was hope at the start of Pope Francis’ induction that he may appoint female cardinals but this has yet to happen. However, it is also important to remember that only cardinals can vote in this matter, meaning all the other men living in Vatican City are also unable to vote.
In 2015 Saudi Arabia became the latest country to extend the vote to women. However, although legally they now have the power to vote other laws and the role of male guardianship in everything makes voting difficult for women as they are not allowed to drive themselves meaning they are often unable to reach voting booths.
The largest voting gap in terms of gender is found in Pakistan. In almost 800 polling stations women’s vote only made up between 3 – 10% of votes doe that district. Although legally given the vote in 1956, there is a lot of communal pressure on women to prevent them from voting. In both the 2013 and 2015 local elections leaflets were handed out across Pakistan telling men to not allow their female relatives to vote as it is “un-Islamic” – this adds to the hurdles facing Pakistani women.
In 2017, the Human Rights Watch published a report illustrating the increase in sexual violence against women during the Kenyan elections. This increase is similar to increases found across the world demonstrating an increase in the number of sexually violent attacks on women in order to prevent them from voting in elections in which they have the legal power to do so.
2000 delegates attended a Congress meeting in China in 2017 and cast votes to determine a five-year strategy for the country. These delegates have a powerful impact on the country and those living within it, however only 26% of these delegates were female.
Although there are many advances being made in the world in terms of women’s rights it is clear there are also many cultural, and sometimes legal, barriers in the way of women getting their voices heard.
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