International Women’s Day

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Today  8. March 2017 is International Women’s Day!  In many countries, some laws are not only anti-women but absurd. In the Bahamas it is permissible to force women over 14 years of age to sex or in the Phillipinen prostitution is a crime which only women can commit. In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive a car (1).The legal minimum age for marriage is varying according to the religion: For Christian and civil marriage, the minimum age is 18 years both for women and men, contrary for Muslim girl child  12 and 16 for boys (2). Child marriage violates the human rights of girls by excluding them from decisions regarding the timing of marriage and choice of spouse. The culmination of the absurdity was the Turkish government’s bill, which leaves rapists unpunished when they marry the women they raped before. After violent demonstrations, this bill was withdrawn. In Lebanon under Shia, Sunni, and Druze laws, men can without cause demand a divorce at any time, unilaterally, while a woman’s ability to access divorce is limited, and often at great cost and after lengthy court proceedings. Christian men can convert to Islam and remarry without divorcing, while Christian women may not enter into a new marriage without terminating her first marriage (3). In many countries the husbands have the right to prohibit their wives from working outside the home; moreover, women, unlike men, cannot dress as they like, drive, work at night, inherit property or give evidence in Court! “women’s rights are human rights” is still more rhetoric than action!