Combating Gender Stereotypes: International Perspective

By Katherine Segovia, Trending Writer

In October 2012, Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old schoolgirl from Pakistan, was shot by Taliban gunmen for doing what some take for granted: going to school. ABC News reported that in Pakistan, 5.4 million children are not enrolled in school. Of the 5.4 million, 62 percent are girls. In some parts of the world, girls are neither expected nor permitted to attend school.

Around the world, women’s rights are infringed upon. Women are discriminated against and often seen as inferior to men. Saudi Arabia, for example, has a guardianship system in which a man is considered a woman’s guardian – the man being her father or husband. According to Time Magazine, this system prohibits women from completing basic tasks without consent from her male guardian.

Besides these roles in which men are held on a pedestal and women are left crawling at their feet, some other rights women around the world lack include the right to a safe and legal abortion, the right to an education, and the right to equal pay.

Data collected by the United Nations in 2011 revealed that abortions are illegal under all circumstances in El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Chile, among others. Countries such as Paraguay only allow abortions in dire cases, such as endangerment of the mother’s life. Women are also denied an education in parts of the world, such as Pakistan. ABC News reported that 65 million girls around the world do not attend school, with 33 million fewer girls than boys enrolled in primary school.

However, women around the world are advocating for their rights. The Mbaracayú Education Center, built by the NGO Fundación Paraguaya and opened in 2009, is located in Paraguay and serves to educate girls and tackle “the issues of gender equality in this small landlocked country,” as reported by The Guardian.

Women in Argentina are also fighting back by protesting gender violence and femicide, or “the murder of women as a result of domestic violence,” according to The Guardian. Similar protests were held across South America. Others showed their support via Twitter, using the hashtag #NiUnaMenos, or “not one less.”

Although some advances have been made over the years, women are still denied some basic rights around the world and are not seen as equals to men. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) reported that in the United States, women make about 80 percent of what a man makes working the same job. This number decreases for women of color. African-American women make 64 percent and Hispanic women make 54 cents for every dollar that a man makes, according to AAUW.

There is still a long way to go before equality is fully reached, but peaceful protests, such as those held in South America, are moving women one step closer to equality.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 8th print edition.

Contact Katherine at


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