Published in The Female Report October 29, 2013
Sometimes studying sociology can be depressing, reading enormous amounts of information that usually tell a sorry tale of persistent and current inequalities against women. One of the biggest issues continues to be the use of violence (and sexual violence) to maintain and sustain a power imbalance between men and women that limits a woman’s ability to negotiate safe sex.
I thought long and hard about posting this paper, but what I have noticed since studying Sociology is that much of the information that is actually informative resides in academia and is not accessible to everyone. It is the accessibility of this information that I think will help to change our societies for the better, so I have resolved to post as much as I can for others to share. Due to copyright laws, in many cases I can’t post the full articles, but I can reference them in my own writings and this is one of those articles.
One of my current study subjects is “Gender, Power and Globalisation”, and this subject means I am wading through reams of documents with startling statistics about the intersection of violence against women and the spread of HIV AIDS. This is information that many of us are unaware of, and whilst women in countries like Australia, the United States and United Kingdom argue that they have already achieved full parity with men, alarming statistics indicate the large majority of women and girls in many countries are very far from equal.
Interestingly, I found some startling similarities in the way these situations arise and are managed by policy makers that could apply to all of us. Many of these women and girls are in fact, becoming more vulnerable to violence, subordination to males and increased health risks, due largely to the increased migration and movement of people as a result of globalisation. This vulnerability is particularly evident when it comes to HIV AIDS for women in cultures where they are not equal, or lack access to education and support services. In a journal by the United Nations Development Fund for Women, UNIFEM 2008, one author cites the following statistics;
“In its 2007 AIDS Epidemic Update, UNAIDS estimates that globally the proportion of women to men living with HIV remained stable between 2001 and 2007, although the number of those infected increased by about 1.7 million. Behind this statistic however, UNAIDS reported a complex mix of sexual realities, including HIV transmission to women from men who were infected through unprotected sex, including unprotected paid sex and/or sex with other men, and/or unprotected sex with people who use drugs.