The gains in women's rights that started in the 60's and continued through the 80's are definitely under attack. Not that resistance to those rights ever really stopped, but attempts to turn back the clock on women's rights are on the rise.
The women of the new century are not going to keep these rights 'for free.' They will have to insist. And that can be dangerous. Almost as dangerous as being chattel.
In all societies, poverty, discrimination, ignorance and social unrest are common predictors of violence against women. Yet the most enduring enemies of a woman’s dignity and security are cultural forces aimed at preserving male dominance and female subjugation—often defended in the name of venerable tradition.
In industrialized societies like the US, where institutions formally frown on gender violence, behaviour belies official pronouncements: rap music insulting women as ‘whores’; a popular men's magazine that celebrates gang rape and depicts female bodies being fed into meat grinders; sexual harassment of women trying to integrate into the armed forces; and societal pressures that induce young women to starve themselves or use technology to create ‘ideal’ bodies, often destroying their health in the process.
In developing countries, violent practices against women are often recognized and defended as strands of the cultural weave. Wife-beating, for example, is considered part of the natural order in many countries—a masculine prerogative celebrated in songs, proverbs and wedding ceremonies.
Are today's women under the impression that women who fought for women's rights in the 1800's and 1900's were not in physical danger, did not receive threats and that death and rape were not part of those threats?