8 Reasons Why Poverty and Sexual Violence are Sexist

Everyone is affected by harmful gender expectations that limit our ability to be fully ourselves. Women and girls, men and boys all fall prey to these restrictions. However, many times women face these expectations at the intersection of sexism causing them to bear the brunt of poverty and sexual violence around the world.


Below are some of the reasons why poverty and sexual violence are sexist.


1. Gender gap: The gender wage gap is the difference in earnings between women and men. Women around the world consistently earn less than men, this gap is wider for women of color. This makes financial stability more difficult for women, who are already more likely to live in poverty than men.


2. Household responsibilities: All across the world, household responsibilities are still disproportionately shared, with women shouldering primary responsibility. How often do you see your Ethiopian father or brother in the kitchen or doing the laundry? This kind of domestic labor restricts the time women can spend working for wages, finishing their education, learning new skills or participating in the formal economy.


3. Raising Family: In recent years, women have been joining the workforce in great numbers. However, according to research conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, working mothers are spending just as much time with their children as they did 40 years ago, and in many cases more. Dual-income households found that mothers took on the majority of child care-related tasks, and were still spending more of their free time on child care than men. Creating a disparity in time able to participate in the formal economy.


4. Child marriage: Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18.

That is 23 girls every minute – married off too soon. Child brides face huge challenges including stunts to their personal development and increased risk to their well being. They are isolated with limited freedom, and often feel disempowered. They are deprived of their fundamental rights to health, education and safety. Child marriage is often driven by poverty and traps girls in a cycle of poverty.


5. Sexual Violence: Research show that women are disporportionately affected by sexual violence. 91% of the victims of rape and sexual assault are female, and 9% are male. In the U.S., 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped in their lifetime. For children, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old.


6. Gender-based violence: GBV is based on an imbalance of power and is carried out with the intention to humiliate and make a person or group of people feel inferior and/ or subordinate. This type of violence is deeply rooted in the social and cultural structures, norms and values that govern society, and is often perpetuated by a culture of denial and silence. Most violence against women is geder-based and inflicted by men.


7. Sexual Exploitation: Sexual exploitation is rooted in gender, systematic inequalities, and exploited power by men. When men pay for sex, they are directly or indirectly taking advantage of the gender and structural discrimination, and economic inequality faced by women and other vulnerable people, for the sake of their own personal sexual gratification.


8. Access to sexual and reproductive health: Health services and reproductive rights is a form of sexual discrimination that puts women and girls at a higher risk of poverty and limits their economic empowerment. Approximately 225 million women do not use safe and effective family planning methods, most of whom live in 69 of the world’s poorest countries.

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