Fighting for Land Rights for Women in Asia

The cultural norms prevailing in South-East Asia perpetuate the subordinate position of women socially and economically. In this region, very often young unmarried girls and women suffer tremendous physical and psychological stress due to the violent behavior of men. The nature of violence includes wife-beating, murder of wife, kidnapping, rape, physical assault, and acid throwing. The most frequent causes for acts of violence are domestic quarrels due to the inability of a woman’s family to make dowry payments at time of marriage. Besides that, many women and young children from South-East regions are trafficked and forced into prostitution, undesired marriages and bonded labor. Illiteracy, political forces, a feudal and tribal culture, misunderstanding and misinterpretation of religious principles, and above all a girl’s low status in the society encourage and sustain sexual exploitation of women. The trafficked victims face violence, intimidation, rape and torture from the employers, brothel owners and even law enforcement agents.

In this region, some ancient traditions and customs are still followed promoting various forms of violence against women. These include honor killings, exchange marriages, marriage to Quran, Karo-kari, bride price, dowry, female circumcision, questioning women’s ability to testify, confinement to home, denying their right to choose the partner. In some rural areas of Sindh, Pakistan and Punjab, India, girls are deprived of their marriage rights only to keep the property in the family. A cruel custom asking the girl to swear on Quran that she will leave her share of property to brothers adds misery to the already miserable lives of these incarcerated women. This article reviews the impact of cultural factors on mental health of South Asian women.

  • Some have struggled to keep their companies afloat, but others, like the 20 business leaders on the 2021 Asia’s Power Businesswomen list, have adapted and thrived, seizing opportunities in the midst of challenges.
  • However, there is a cultural change in Hong Kong during the British colonial period with an emergence of Western culture (i.e. “Westernization”).
  • Sometimes it’s a quiet nerd, sometimes it’s a kicky action sidekick or a blade-wielding gangster fighting against a white savior.

Migrant workers moved to different parts of the country with different hopes and dreams for a new beginning. But when the pandemic hit, they didn’t even have the necessary papers to access care,” Annie adds. Annie Namala is an Indian social activist who has been working with Dalit communities for the protection of their rights for over two decades. For several years her work focused on organising and networking Dalit communities in South India. Limited access to health services leading to an estimated 228,000 children and 11,000 mothers’ mortality and morbidity during the first wave of the pandemic. Reports also warn that 4.5 million girls are likely to never return to schools and are at risk due to deteriorating access to sexual and reproductive health and information services.

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Dahal has played an active role in the disability rights movement in Nepal that led to secure important wins for the rights of people with disabilities in the country’s constitution, laws, and policies. Earlier she served as vice-president for the National Federation of the Disabled-Nepal , the largest federation of people with disabilities in Nepal with more than 300 member organizations across the country. Dahal has also played a leading role in supporting women with disabilities, who were affected by the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. Shreen Saroor, a peace and women’s rights activist and human rights defender, is a co-founder of the Women’s Action Network , a network of women’s groups working with war-affected women. Shreen has been a vocal advocate for domestic legislative reforms, offering a thoughtful critique of the 20th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, counter-terrorism measures, and the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act to name a few. She has actively engaged with domestic institutions and filed court cases simultaneously working closely with women on the ground on more local concerns. Some women of pre-Islamic and early Islamic Yemen held elite status in society.

Women and e-commerce in Southeast Asia

“Eventually, I was able to get support from a few non-profit organizations. I also started a fundraising campaign named ‘Tader Tore’ and received contributions from many sympathizers of my cause,” she added.

Riding Indonesia’s digital boom, the company posted an 81% rise in revenue and a 57% increase in profit on a compounded basis over the past three years. Its blue-chip customer list includes 44 telecom firms, 134 financial companies and some of Asia’s largest e-commerce companies. AWFH is a peer-led, community-based network dedicated to advancing Asian women’s health and wellness through education, advocacy, and support. We envision a world where Asian women are well-informed, have access to care that is culturally appropriate and high quality, and inspired to live happy, healthy lives. Aimed at supporting girls, women, intersex and trans people, the Women’s Fund Asia provides financial aid to fight for those in need.

The 79 funding recipients operate across a range of sectors, including agriculture and food security, technology platforms, business process automation, pharmacies, education and training, logistics, and healthcare. Overall, these companies have supported over 4,505 full-time quality jobs, 56% of which are filled by women. Women in Asia now hold more combined wealth than all other regions except North America, reports Nikkei Asia. According to an analysis by the Boston Consulting Group, the combined wealth of women is expected to amount to US$27 trillion by 2026. The analysis excludes women from Japan as they hold a much smaller portion of the nation’s wealth relative to comparable markets.

The situation is even worse in some rural areas of India where the girls are even deprived of their right to live. Sex selection during pregnancy is still rampant in India, where women are forced to abort a female fetus. In one of the rural areas of India, it happened that, when a woman came home from hospital cradling her newborn daughter, her mother-in-law mashed a poisonous coriander into the dollop of oil and forced it down the infant’s throat. The reason behind it was that sacrificing a daughter guarantees a son in next pregnancy. Both India’s and Pakistan’s missing women represent a significant policy issue. To correct the problem, or at least to mitigate it, the solution the government undertook was to amend the policy. In India and Pakistan, there is no policy that controls the birth rate, but the problem is nevertheless severe.

October 1, 1949 marks the formal establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Since 1949, the government of the People’s Republic of China has actively promoted the cultural, social, economic and political roles of women in order to improve women’s liberation. The new government of the People’s Republic made a commitment to achieve equality between women and men. While advancing towards equality among men and women, the efforts met resistance in a traditionally Confucian society of male superiority. Investing in Women has supported research into gender norms through campaign partners and researchers to develop a broader understanding of gender norms and how they change.

In the 21st century, the issue of violence against women in Kazakhstan has come to public attention, resulting in the Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence of 2009. However, as in other parts of Central Asia, bride kidnapping remains a problem. Violence against women in Afghanistan is high, although the situation is improving slowly as the country progresses with the help of the international community. Available data on health, nutrition, education, and economic performance indicated that in the 2014 women participation in the workforce was 57%.

Theoretically, the independent states that emerged over the next 15 years were committed to gender equality, but this has rarely been translated into reality. In recent years the number of women holding public office has increased, especially in local government, but only in the Philippines has female representation in national government risen above 10 per cent. When women do manage to enter the political arena, they often find themselves marginalized in a male-dominated culture, with real power remaining in men’s hands. The few individuals who have attained the highest political offices have done so because they are the daughter or wife of a famous man. They have not become advocates of women’s issues, for this would risk alienating their male colleagues or the male electorate. The decreased focus on marriage and children is prevalent in the declining fertility rates throughout APAC, especially in the so-called advanced economies, including South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Furthermore, the increased focus on education and career is conveyed through the female labor force participation rate.

Does wage employment necessarily benefit women more than the “informal” sector (e.g., family-run businesses)? Do women who return to the labor force after absences due to family responsibilities incur a heavy wage penalty for interrupted careers? The essays balance comparative assessments in a broad East Asian context with detailed investigations of one or more questions in the context of a specific country. However, young women across Southeast Asia, who remain largely unknown to the world, are working tirelessly to advance the green fight.