“The current economic crisis is not just financial; it is just as much a cultural crisis. The social contract has been broken in many countries. A small homogenous elite has lost touch with its role to lead and generate sustainable growth for all.” (Dag Detter, Women—a Competitive Advantage, Huffington Post)
Part of the cultural crisis is intricately tied to the economic crisis because the concept of home is completely shattered, literally and figuratively. Rising home foreclosures come after another decade of 50% of first marriages in the U.S. ending in divorce, with the main cause being money issues. Today, the entire family unit is in shambles.
This is not intended as a feminist piece. Honestly. However, as waves of crises repeatedly sweep over us, we may want to reflect on whether letting men ‘play their games’ all these years is the reason why everything around us is falling apart. Maybe in between the football, video games, and fishing, we should have directed them toward something more purposeful, something that would contribute to humanity, that they could look back on with pride.
We definitely took a wrong turn somewhere and are paying an extremely high price, probably the highest price ever. We are paying with our lives and the lives of our children. The following sheds some light on the current dismal state of women in the world, but unfortunately, there are many more facts that could be added to this gloomy scenario.
Increased Inequality Between Genders
Globalization has exacerbated inequality in many Western countries, especially in America. The news is even worse for the woman sewing t-shirts or making trainers. She is the collateral damage of globalization. She did all that was asked of her: worked hard, paid her taxes, and saw her children off to school each day. It is not her fault that millions of $1-per-day Chinese workers were more than willing to compete with her, and that Walmart snapped up their products, triggering a massive shift of wealth from the U.S. to China and from producers to consumers.
“Public spending cuts are set to widen Britain’s gender pay gap and increase inequalities between the sexes. The study, carried out by experts at the University of Warwick, says that cuts to adult social care, legal aid, and benefits will have a bigger impact on women than men.”
“…Mary-Ann Stephenson, chair of Coventry Women’s voices, believes that the cuts will make life harder for women…’Taken together, the effect will be devastating, particularly on the most vulnerable. Women who have been raped or abused may find it harder to get justice or the support they need. Some women and their children, particularly single parents, may be pushed into poverty. Women did not cause this situation, but we are paying the price.’”
“Experts in the UK predict the next wave of redundancies will be in health and education – jobs dominated by women. …The large-scale loss of women’s jobs may even herald a major social shift, with the clack of stilettos on office floors falling silent as former career women revert to the roles of wife and mother. Some would welcome a return to the values of an earlier era, where couples put less emphasis on material success and women were not under pressure to fulfill the demands of work as well as home. But whatever the long-term outcome, this economic downturn has made redundancy a new and difficult aspect of 21st-century womanhood.”
Treated Like Sub-Citizens in Parts of the World
“Women’s bodies have become part of the terrain of conflict, according to a new report by Amnesty International. Rape and sexual abuse are not just a by-product of war but are used as a deliberate military strategy, it says.”
“The world woke up to this phenomenon in 1993, after discovering that Serbian forces had set up a network of ‘rape camps’ in which women and girls, some as young as 12, were enslaved. Since then, we’ve seen similar patterns of systematic rape in many countries, and it has become clear that mass rape is not just a byproduct of war but also sometimes a deliberate weapon.”
“Experts estimate that there are currently 215 million women around the world who wish to either delay or prevent pregnancy but lack access to contraceptives. Guttmacher states that these women account for more than 80% of all unintended pregnancies in the developing world every year.”
All This Extra Stress Is Obviously Affecting Women’s Well-Being
“Laura Segura, director of Women’s Crisis Support-Defensa de Mujeres, said she believes domestic violence has increased in severity due to the recession, and she said shelters nationwide have reported increases.”
“British women are being hit by an ‘epidemic of fatigue’ caused by sleep deprivation, according to new research. The study by the Sleep Council found that of the 1,400 women questioned, nearly one in three arrive late to work because they feel so shattered in the morning. One in six sleep-deprived women confessed to ringing in sick due to tiredness and one in 10 admitted that they had a sneaky nap whilst at work.”
“The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show an 11.7% rise in dementia deaths in the last year, 2009-10, to a total of 25,106. More than two-thirds – 18,349 – were of women, in part because they live longer than men.”
Women Are Making Career Choices That They Would Not Consider in Better Times
“Women today are acting as equal partners in all aspects of drug trafficking, from running crews to laundering funds, resulting in the rise of incarcerated and violently treated women. A glance into women’s association with DTOs (drug trafficking organizations) reveals an increased crime rate, as well as the adversities that drug trafficking predictably brings upon them.”
White Slave Trade and Human Trafficking
“The severe financial and economic problems in Portugal are driving many women to desperation, pushing them into prostitution as a last resort to support their families. The incidence of drug abuse is high: the main goal of 30 percent of prostitutes is to earn money to support their habit. The level of addiction has apparently changed markedly since 2009, when the effects of the global crisis began to be felt in Portugal. To fight the crisis, drastic cuts have been made in public spending and social subsidies, in a far from promising outlook for the anaemic economy.”
“In Bulgaria, the main causes of the development of trafficking continue to be illiteracy, the collapse of moral values, racism, ethnic discrimination, poverty, unemployment and the ailing economy… And these latter causes in part explain a change in strategy on the part of the traffickers who are increasingly presenting themselves as representatives of employment agencies — a phenomenon that is likely to continue in the context of the current economic crisis, which has forced many people to seek desperate solutions to the problem of their catastrophic material circumstances.”