Women's Rights In North Africa

Submitted By megg325
Words: 741
Pages: 3

As American women, we have the availability to go to any hospital or clinic we choose. We may have to fight with the insurance company, get a rude nurse, or have to sit in a waiting room for an hour or three. The fact is that we have all the resources we could possibly need to have, or not to have, a baby. We have equal rights, options for careers, and a chance at a greater education to be able to make reproductive decisions on our own. This makes our total fertility rate (TFR), which is the average amount of births per women, 2.1%. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, Niger has a TFR of 7.16% and Mali’s is 6.35%, making them the highest in the world. They contribute to North Africa’s over populated, yet under developed state. This is a major problem regarding health and the environment, and many established countries and foundations are doing what they can to help these women. However, with women being second rate to the men in these countries, are we doing enough to educate these women and help them to, one day, bear children when they so choose?
This problem, at its core, is women’s rights. In Mali, a woman must obey her husband. This means, among many other things, that if he chooses to withdraw their daughter from school she must go along with it. Also, when the child gets married, the parents must ask the new husband to let her continue school if she is still in one. This has led to the 69% of illiterate women from 15 to 24 (Diarra, Guardian Weekly), who are in their prime child-bearing stage. This certain article explains how so many women are uneducated; thus, have to rely on their husbands permission for everything from work, school, to reproduction. It is a vicious circle that could be stopped with some simple education and equality laws. In Niger, the female situation is far more terrible. Everyday women are beaten and raped but nothing is done. The women have no say; like in Mali, the women must do and deal with whatever their husband sees fit. Activists say that girls need to be given the educational tools to be successful in a place controlled by males. Also, they need to be among the work force. “Currently, fewer than 7 percent of women are employed in official income generating activities, compared to 81 percent of men.” (IRIN). In developing countries, like these two, how are women supposed to plan, and properly care for, their children? They have no options because if they refuse, due to the lack of contraceptives for instance, their husbands can just rape them.
We cannot run these countries and make their laws for them. However, we do try and help wherever we can. In Niger, UNICEF has offered support