Out-of-sight roles – Article to commemorate International Day of Women

Speaking of Women in general, despite their origin, culture and interests, they represent “Infinite Giving” for others, the environment around them and all the different meanings of life.
In celebration of the International Women’s Day, this article highlights some of the hidden roles that women have and the impact of those roles on the whole world. In today’s world, with a population of more than 7.7 billion, women account for about half of this population, this large and ever-increasing number is causing constant pressure on the natural resources available and the way of life in general, and this pressure is higher on women in particular.

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Many studies have proven that women around the world are most affected by environmental or social conditions, this emphasize on the important role women have in natural resources management such as soil, water, forests and energy. As per the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Women make up 43 percent of the global agricultural labour force, as they are responsible for providing seeds, animal husbandry, land cultivation and other jobs related to growing food crops.

Although 60-80% of world food production is produced by women, 70% of the world’s poor are women!! Also 60% of the world’s hungry are women and girls!! (United Nations estimates)

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In many countries, transporting water and searching for firewood as fuel is a job done by women. Despite the rough physical nature of such work, and as a result they are deprived from their right to education and are exposed to humiliation, sexual abuse and other sorts of abuse while doing that. In addition, women are also performing their other roles in life as wives, mothers and housewives who carry the burdens cooking and other housework. Living in such a condition makes women more vulnerable to disease and weakness, therefore, the number of annual deaths for women during pregnancy and childbirth has reached more than 300,000 women.

The aim of this article is not to glorify the role of women and undermine the role of men in life in general and in food production in specific. Nor to ignore the leadership roles women hold around the world, but rather to recognize the hidden roles and efforts of women behind the food and corps availability worldwide, and to highlight the cruel reality of such a role and its impact on the women themselves.

From a fairness prospective, decision makers need to develop policies to improve the situation of the women in the above-mentioned roles by providing conditions to work that would respect and preserves their being, health and lives. As well as discussing ways to integrate them into development projects in the country and qualify them to reach decision-making positions along-side men of the society.

On the other hand, it is our humanitarian duty as individuals to preserve resources and use them wisely. Knowing the fact that great sacrifices were done for such resources to reach us, the life and honor of girls and women. While reading this article we do not know how many women have died of starvation and others whom were forced to provide food for us.

Therefore, it is important while celebrating International Women’s Day to recognize the efforts of those out-of-sight women and their role in getting food on our tables.

About the author:

Mona Alalawi is currently the President of Bahrain Women Association for Human Development (BWA) (ECI Affiliate), and the Chief of Environment Citizenship Program in BWA. Ms. Alalawi is actively involved in developing and deploying strategic initiatives for BWA, and has given much of her time and talent into volunteer work focusing efforts on purposeful and value oriented environmental awareness to promote sustainable development

Mona holds B.S. in chemistry, currently she works as Inspection Director in Ministry of Industry, Commerce & Tourism, responsible for managing regulatory inspections functions for commercial and industrial business activities. She  previously served as the Standards & Metrology Director in the same Ministry, with extensive experience at national and GCC level in setting technical regulations for products to ensure safety, efficiency and environment protection.