Press Release: International Women’s Day 2015: Marking Over a Century of Feminism’s Failure to Deliver for Women
International Women’s Day 2015: Marking Over a Century of Feminism’s Failure to Deliver for Women
The UN will use March 8th International Women’s Day this year to highlight the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a roadmap signed by 189 governments 20 years ago to improve the rights and lives of women through advancing the struggle for gender equality within nations. The agreement, covered 12 areas of concern affecting women, including poverty, violence, educational rights, armed conflict, and power and decision-making. The UN described it as a historical declaration with a “visionary agenda for the empowerment of women” and embodying, “…the most comprehensive global policy framework and blue print for action…to realize gender equality and the human rights of women and girls everywhere.” However, 2 decades after the birth of the agreement, 104 years after the first International Women’s Day, and despite over a century of feminist struggle for gender equality, the lives of millions of women in states across the world remains dire. According to statistics cited in the UK Independent paper, 1 in 3 women globally will be beaten or raped during their lifetime; 70% of the 1.2 billion people living in poverty are women and children; 700 million women are without adequate food, water, sanitation, healthcare, or education; 85 million girls worldwide are unable to attend school; and it is estimated that 1.2 million children are trafficked into slavery each year, 80% of whom are girls. All this reflects the utter failure of feminism and its main ideal of gender equality to deliver on their promises for women.
It is blatantly clear that simply calling for the ‘equalizing’ of the rights, choices, and roles of men and women in family life and society through gender equality is not the path to securing respect and better lives for women. Rather this dogmatic, feminist doctrine has served to divert attention away from the fact that the dire situation facing women today is the result of the capitalist secular system which has dominated the politics and economics of the world over the last century. It is this system that has caused gross inequalities in wealth and crippled economies. This has impoverished millions of women and led to crumbling education, healthcare and other public services in their lands. Additionally, capitalism’s materialistic viewpoint in life has nurtured mentalities that see nothing wrong with exploiting the bodies of women for profit, creating an environment ripe for trafficking. Furthermore, secularism’s liberal values that sanctify the pursuit of individualistic desires and sanction the sexualisation of women has degraded women and caused the epidemic of sexual crimes and other abuses they face today. Hence feminism, that approaches problems from a narrow gender perspective and seeks to create change from within the flawed capitalist system rather than through a radical overhaul of it, will permanently fail to improve the rights of women. This is why the Beijing Declaration, international women’s treaties such as CEDAW, and countless gender equality acts enshrined in law within states in the East and West have proven utterly redundant in securing respect and good lives for millions of women globally. It is ample proof that feminist organisations and the governments and institutions that promote their ideals are bereft of any true vision or credible framework to solve women’s problems.
Islam on the other hand, that has been condemned by secularists as unjust to women due to its social laws which contradict with the Western ideal of gender equality, does have a comprehensive, credible, time-tested blueprint of how to establish respect for women, solve their problems and secure their rights. It is a blueprint that successfully provided dignified lives for women for centuries under the Islamic rule of the Khilafah system and that is currently being showcased in an extensive global campaign organised by the Women’s Section in the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir entitled, “Women and Shariah: Separating Fact from Fiction”. The campaign will culminate in a momentous international women’s conference on 28th March 2015. We urge all those who are tired of idle agreements, fruitless initiatives, and broken promises to improve women’s lives, to follow this important campaign and conference at: www.facebook.com/WomenandShariah.
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz
Women’s Section of the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir