The year 2022 had major developments fit to be published in history books, and in no way is it more significant than the events affecting women’s rights around the world.
Let’s highlight the significant women’s rights moments that happened in the past year.
2022 was a fruitful year for efforts to involve women at the forefront of the fight against climate change.
In the months leading up to the International Women’s Day Celebration on March 6, the UN acknowledged various figures that epitomized women’s involvement in fighting the climate crisis.
A good example was the 17,000-strong grassroots movement precipitated by Mexican violinist Martha Isabel Ruiz Corzo, which ultimately culminated in establishing a 385,000-hectare biosphere reserve in the state of Querétaro.
Another was the recognition of Cameroonian activist Cécile Ndjebet as the recipient of the 2022 Wangari Maathai Forest Champions Award, given by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests or CPF. This was after her work to push for women’s rights to participate, contribute, and govern forest lands in her country.
The involvement of women in tracking the climate crisis is an important effort, especially in areas where such initiatives are traditionally dominated by men.
In 1973, the Roe v. Wade ruling determined that abortion was a protected right under the constitution, which assured that the right to abort an unborn fetus is a fundamental right for every woman in the United States.
However, that right fractured in June 2022, when the Supreme Court, the highest court of the land, ruled that Mississippi’s ban on post-15-week abortion ban is constitutional.
While not directly overturning the Roe v. Wade judgment, the June 2022 ruling determined that abortion laws should be left to the state, dividing the US into States that allow abortion and those that do not.
The move has received widespread international condemnation from women’s rights activists and organizations.
August was a historic moment for world politics and women’s rights history alike, as it returned the Taliban to power after several decades.
Unsurprisingly, the group was more than happy to enforce its own restrictive interpretation of the Quoran on the Afghan populace – the most affected of which are women and girls.
Since August 2022, the Taliban has been implementing several damaging policies, setting back women’s and girls’ rights in the country. Examples include limiting travel, imposing the use of full-body covering, and restricting women from going to school.
Today, the situation in Afghanistan continues to be at the forefront of many international women’s rights initiatives.
In September 2022, a 22-year-old Iranian woman named Mahsa Amani was arrested by the Guidance Patrol, the religious police of the Iranian government, for not wearing a hijab. Initially, police claimed that the cause of death was a heart attack.
However, eyewitnesses reported seeing officials beating Amani while inside the police van. At the detention center, she suddenly collapsed and had to be rushed to the hospital, where she died after a three-day coma.
Her death sparked national protests that saw at least 500 dead and many thousands arrested – including women, journalists, and even children.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has strongly condemned the response of the Iranian government to the protest and created a fact-finding mission to pierce through nationalistic propaganda and determine a factual assessment of the resulting demonstrations.
In June 2022, The European Union began enacting a law that made it a requirement for publicly traded companies to employ women in 40% of all non-executive positions and one-third of all director positions by 2026.
Member states will implement penalties on companies that cannot comply with the directive. Penalties include monetary and influential sanctions, but each country may also impose its own.
The law, dubbed the Women on Boards Directive, was passed on November 22, 2022, and is expected to boost gender equality in corporate directorship in the years to come.
A report published by the United Nations Women highlighted the many ways that women disproportionately suffered from the Covid-19 virus.
The report was published as early as 2021 but set the trend for the coming years to follow. It showed that women saw more reduced paid hours in work than men, were more likely to suffer from the slower economic recovery, and had to take on more unpaid domestic work because of the pandemic, which resulted in hampering their access to healthcare.
More worrying is the fact that gender violence has increased and has only continued to rise with time.
Gender violence is affected by an increasingly complex network of causes and results. The disadvantages set by the pandemic, the widespread economic and political instability that many countries are facing, and climate change and its disproportionate impact on women and children are primary causes of these issues, but there are many more.
In 2023, these trends are expected to continue and become even more complex as more factors like geopolitics come into play.
The struggle for women’s rights is an ongoing and necessary one, as women around the world continue to face discrimination and inequality in various forms. We must stay vigilant in our efforts to fight for the rights of women everywhere.
It is only through persistent and concerted action that we can hope to create a more just and equal society for all.
We must therefore continue to speak out, raise awareness, and take action in support of women’s rights this 2023 and in the many more years to come.