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2015 is marked as a momentous year for the woman of today. We witnessed substantial contribution towards the issue of gender equality and the empowerment of women. Women in turn also did their bit towards the society. There were some landmark decisions and achievements by women which stirred huge waves around the globe. While achieving gender equality still looks like a distant reality, these events nonetheless serve as stepping stones towards attaining that ultimate goal.
Here are some of the events that made a mark towards achieving a women friendly society:
AMERICA LEGALIZES GAY MARRIAGE:
The Supreme Court of the United States legalized same-sex marriages across the nation fulfilling the dream that was longed by a major proportion of the society. This decision was hailed as a “victory of love”. The fact that a nation like the United States ruled in favour of homosexuality is a big step towards the goal of achieving it globally. For it’s a country that has a huge impact on the world ideologically as well culturally and can thus act as an inspiration for the rest of the world.
ALGERIAN PARLIAMENT CRIMINALIZES VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN:
In a recent development, the Algerian Parliament approved amendments to the Penal Code criminalizing violence against women. The new law also criminalizes harassment of women in the workplace or public places. The fact that this ruling was passed only recently shows how regressive is the attitude towards protecting women.
INDIAN AIR FORCE TO INDUCT WOMEN FIGHTER PILOTS:
The Defence Ministry permitted the induction of women into the Fighter stream of the Indian Air Force. It was a great move for one of the world’s largest militaries whose might is increasing with time. The ministry said in its statement that “This progressive step is a step towards keeping up with the aspirations of Indian women and is in line with contemporary trends in armed forces of developed nations.”
WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE IN SAUDI ARABIA-
For the first time in the history of Saudi Arabia, women were able cast their votes in historic elections for municipal councils and run for office. At least 17 women were elected to run for public office. Saudi Arabia has for long been criticised for its indifferent attitude towards women and also deprived them of their basic rights and freedom. This decision is hailed as a revolutionary step towards achieving gender equality.
AMERICAN MILITARY PERMITS WOMEN IN ALL COMBAT ROLES:
The U.S. Department of Defence allowed women to serve in all military combat jobs, including front-line units. Women can now be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars, and serve in about 220,000 positions that had remained closed to them. The Department stated that it intended to take full advantage of every individual who could meet their standards. The universal notions of women being incompetent to fight during wars because of their perceived physical weakness received a major blow following this decision.
WOMEN VOTERS OUTNUMBERED MEN IN BIHAR ELECTIONS:
In the recent Bihar Legislative Elections, the proportion of women voters was far than men by a margin of almost six per cent. This marked a great departure from women’s earlier absence from taking part in the elections. Especially in a state like Bihar which has always been bound by the ties of patriarchy, this is a great move towards their emancipation.
VIOLA DAVIS BECAME THE FIRST WOMAN OF COLOUR TO WIN AN EMMY MAJOR:
For her role in “How To Get Away With Murder”, Viola Davis became the first African-American to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama. The actress was quoted saying, “The only thing that separates women of colour from anyone is opportunity”. Davis, who is often heard speaking on behalf of her community, serves as an inspiration for millions of women around the world who have been deprived of opportunities by the virtue of them being black.
NEPAL GETS ITS FIRST WOMAN PRESIDENT:
Bidhya Devi Bhandari was elected as Nepal’s first woman president. Bhandari has been a long time women’s rights campaigner who had advocated for gender equality in politics and work life. A traditionally male-dominated society, this is seen as a positive step towards the economic growth of Nepal.
ANGELA MERKEL BECOMES TIME’S PERSON OF THE YEAR:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was crowned as the Time’s Person of the Year for the year 2015. She was conferred the title for her outstanding efforts in the wake of Eurozone’s financial crisis and the Refugee Crisis. She stood the test of waters in the face of the political turmoil that has grappled the entire globe in the year 2015.
Merkel has reinforced the fact that women are very much competent to be a part of the political sphere, one that has been conventionally a male-centric area.
2015 proved to be a significant year in terms of not just women’s rights and equality but also for the entire humanity.
We at Feministaa wish to make 2016 a much more prosperous and progressive year for the woman of today.