Norma McCorvey fell pregnant with her third child in 1969. Unable to raise or support the baby, she rallied against the Texas government to give her the right to an abortion. After a long and tedious three-year trial, abortion was legalized in the US under the Supreme Court decision named “Roe v. Wade”, and on the grounds that every person should have the right to choose. In 1973, this was a highly controversial decision and continues to be to the present day. Almost 50 years later, in 2022, the Supreme Court decided to overturn this decision, and thus women’s rights were set back yet again. The only global superpower justifying this decision was heard all around the world and has created an incentive to diminish women’s rights more and more. While it cannot fully be attributed to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, it is no coincidence that women have had their power deteriorate in recent years. Setting this stage has forced a regression for humanity as a whole, with record-high levels of violence against women and femicide.
Iran is no stranger to the exploitation of women’s rights. Morality police use terror to highly restrict the Iranian citizens and force them to comply with the government, with forced use of the Hijab and honor killings becoming commonplace within its society. This reality has culminated in the murder of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old who was brutally beaten into a coma for not wearing a Hijab while visiting her brother in Tehran. She died the following day after succumbing to her injuries in an intensive care unit. While the government of Iran framed this as a citizen not obeying the law and, therefore, betraying their country, this murder (and many others like it that happen often) served as a case of violence against women being justified and incited by the law itself. Although Mahsa Amini’s death was highly documented and shared on social media, not much international intervention has taken place to ensure instances like this do not happen again. Instead, it has given other nations justification to treat women in the same manner.
Data extracted from UN Women, an UN-affiliated organization dedicated to the empowerment of women’s rights, states that “736 million women — almost one in three — have been subjected to physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or both at least once in their life (30 percent of women aged 15 and older)” since 2021. This means that the world is taking numerous strides in the wrong direction when it comes to women’s rights. Afghanistan, Turkiye, and India all have violated women’s rights to a high degree; in India alone, around 70% of women suffer abuse or domestic violence. Developed countries also play a part in this matter: Sweden, a country ranked in the top ten of the happiness index, has struck down its feminist foreign policy – which was the first of its kind and encouraged this approach in other countries. The striking down of this law not only conveys that Sweden is regressing but also takes away the need for other countries to implement policies similar to this one.
What is echoed around the world right now is “We hate women and are not afraid to hide it”. It seems as though this message is encouraging others, whether those are individuals or nations as a whole, to not be afraid to express their negative views on women. The gross mistreatment of women, either through banning abortion, perpetuating femicide, or many other ways, has seen a large increase in many countries. The systemic oppression of women has put society in an odd position. While many steps have been taken in favor of women, such as women’s suffrage being a mainstay of most modern societies, the increasing percentage of violence against women must be revised. This even being a norm shows that we need to change something because we, as human beings, are obviously doing something incredibly wrong.