Fat, Lean or Women!

Shrove Tuesday. Really, who comes up with these name? Now if I said Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, I bet you’d know what I was referring to.

Leave it to the English language to make it complicated. Shrove is the past participle of the verb shrive which means to impose a penance on a sinner or hear the confession of a sinner, or receive the absolution of sin. All that to tell you that it’s the last day before the season of Lent. In the eternal scheme of things today nobody much cares about any of that.

What’s really exciting is today is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day! Started in the early 20th century to highlight the inequalities that befell women, it is observed every year on March 8. The goal is to highlight access to education, health care, jobs, credit, and freedom from violence for all women and girls everywhere.

Interestingly, International Women’s Day didn’t start in the United States, although women were becoming more vocal and active in campaigning for change, demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. Women in Europe were also rallying for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. While some countries organized national women’s days, Europe was the first to organize an international women’s day observance.

Here are just a few startling facts:

  • 75% of all women cannot get bank loans because they have unpaid or insecure jobs and lack property ownership rights. Women are also 21% less likely than men even to own a mobile phone and therefore to have similar communication possibilities.
  • Women perform two-thirds of the world’s work and produce half the world’s food, but earn just 10% of the income and own 1% of the property.
  • Women constitute two-thirds of the world’s ~800 million illiterate adults (aged 15 and over). Educate a girl in Africa and she’ll earn 25% more income, be 3 times less likely to contract HIV/AIDS and have a smaller, healthier family.
  • Only 28 countries have achieved the 30% target set in the early 1990s for women in decision-making positions. Worldwide, women are paid 17% less, and have less employment security than men.
  • 99% of maternal deaths are preventable, but every minute a woman dies from pregnancy-related causes. Worldwide, young women (15 – 24) are 1.6 times as likely as young men to be HIV positive. Every 14 seconds, another child becomes an orphan due to AIDS-related deaths.
  • The abuse of women and girls is endemic around the world. One in three women will be raped, beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise violated in her lifetime.

In the eternal scheme, human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights…once and for all.

Your International Women’s Day Bonus: In honor of International Women’s Day and the upcoming James Bond film, M challenges Bond to think about gender inequality. If you are an email subscriber, you may have to go to eternalscheme.com to view.

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