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Across the globe, awareness as to the safety of women continues to be discussed. This week, Document Women gathered stories about abuse, safety and leadership.
- Sierra Leone
In Sierra Leone, Many young women emigrate to the Middle East in search of well-paying jobs, instead, they are met with abuse, exploitation and inhumane working conditions.
The Kafala system, common in the Middle East, binds foreign workers to an employer, leaving them without labour rights or the ability to escape an abusive situation.
This year, Sierra Leone’s government lifted a two-year ban on labour migration and overseas job recruitment, which was put in place largely because of the exploitation and abuse of Sierra Leoneans who travelled abroad for work, particularly to the Middle East.
Sheku Bangura, the director and founder of the Advocacy Network Against Irregular Migration, said his organisation is in touch with 800 women who recently returned from the Middle East, many of whom suffer from a variety of medical issues.
In honour of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women, French Prime Minister Jean Castex signed decrees putting into place new measures to “enforce the protection of victims and the fight against violence”.
The new measures include the opening of 1,000 shelter spaces for victims in 2022 and maintaining the same level of financing to combat violence. Also, 5,000 “serious danger” telephones, equipped with a button to contact authorities directly, will be distributed in 2022.
The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the issue of postnatal depression in India, where there is already very little awareness and support for those experiencing this condition.
An estimated 1 in 7 women can develop some form of postpartum depression (PPD), but in India, the figure is closer to 1 in 5. Many women have to deal with it alone due to the stigma surrounding mental health and a shortage of professional psychological support.
About 46% of women who phoned theNational Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences helpline during the pandemic were exhibiting symptoms of postpartum psychosis.
- United States of America
The Women’s Mosque of America in Los Angeles is the first women-led mosque in the US. Here, over 150 women have been trained to deliver a khutbah (sermon), lead prayer ceremonies, recite the adhan (call to prayer), or take on a position of leadership within the mosque for the first time. This mosque is breaking stereotypes and paving the way for female Muslims in LA, speaking about unaddressed issues such as sexual violence, pregnancy loss, and domestic violence.
This week, Barbados became a republic for the first time in the nation’s history. The country has stopped pledging allegiance to the Queen, and will now follow the lead of their Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, and President, Sandra Mason.
The ceremony took place on Monday, where many notable figures were present, and fireworks lit up the night. The ceremony was also broadcast live online, which prompted congratulatory messages from Bajans around the world.
The move to become a republic began over 20 years ago, however only this week was the motion set in place. The process ended with the Barbados Parliament electing the nation’s first female president, Sandra Mason, last month and swearing her in on Tuesday.