The UK’s “outdated” abortion laws and ongoing economic austerity are leaving women in a precarious and vulnerable situation, a leading human rights charity has warned.
A new report from Amnesty International highlighting oppressive and sexist policies around the world, found that ten years of austerity has had “a disproportionate impact on woman, with BAME women and single mothers particularly affected”.
The charity estimates that by 2020, the income of single mothers will have fallen by 18% since 2010, while Black and Asian households will see average drops in living standards of 19.2% and 20.1% respectively.
The report also notes that the UK “continues to perform badly in its conviction of rape cases”, highlighting the 23% drop in rape charges as a cause for concern.
Amnesty is now calling for the UK government to introduce legislation to protect women’s rights in line with the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.
The 52-page report, Rights Today, has been launched on the 70th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights.
Globally, Amnesty says women’s reproductive rights are “under threat”, and they note that 40% of women of childbearing age are living in countries where abortion remains restricted.
Without naming any names, the report says the actions of “tough guy” world leaders pushing misogynistic, xenophobic and homophobic policies, as well as using toxic rhetoric, have placed universal freedoms and rights in fresh jeopardy.
Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s secretary general, said: “Many of the current crop of leaders in the world have launched fresh attacks on women’s rights with their misogynistic and divisive narratives.
“These leaders try to argue that they are protecting traditional values that represent family interests but, the truth is, they are pushing an agenda that denies women basic equality.
“They think their policies make them tough, but they amount to little more than bully-boy tactics designed to demonise and persecute already marginalised and vulnerable communities.”
But while women are suffering the most because of “oppressive” policies, the report has also found that women have been at the forefront of the fight for human rights in 2018.
It notes that in Iran, women activists risked arrest to resist forced hijab, while Argentina and Poland have both seen huge demonstrations against abortion laws.
In Ireland, the public voted by a landslide to overturn abortion law while in Iceland and Sweden, new laws were passed to recognise sex without consent as rape.
In the USA, Europe and Japan, millions joined #MeToo marches to demand an end to misogyny and abuse.