Un 8 de marzo de 1857, un grupo de obreras textiles tomó la decisión de salir a las calles de Nueva York a protestar por la míseras condiciones en las que trabajaban.
El 8 de marzo de 2017, ciento sesenta años después, se ha convocado un paro en todo el mundo #NosotrasParamos, para exigir el fin de la violencia machista y la igualdad de derechos.
Tristemente hoy, en todas las sociedades y todas las culturas, las mujeres siguen sin ser iguales a los hombres, siguen sin gozar de los mismos derechos y siguen ser tratadas con el mismo respeto.
Silent Voices de la fotógrafa Marinka Masséus (Holanda, 1971) es una serie fotográfica que quiere poner de manifiesto la desigualdad de género, la misoginia, la violencia, la mutilación genital femenina, la culpabilización sexual, la discriminación laboral o la negación permanente de la igualdad de sus derechos.
En palabras de la propia Marinka:
In the ongoing photo series ’Silent Voices’ I symbolically draw attention to gender inequality. Gender inequality is still one of the most systemic inequalities in the world. That fact is true for every culture, race or religion.
This series’ relevance is evidenced by the recent Women’s Marches which developed into a global movement.
Whether it is the gender pay gap, domestic violence, honor killings, genital mutilation or the stoning of rape victims, there is still a lot of work to be done. Everywhere.
In Russia and Pakistan, new laws will legally allow a husband to physically abuse his wife by hitting her. Recently, ISIS burnt 19 girls to death for refusing to have sex with the fighters. With prevalence rates as high as 91% in Egypt, 98% in Somalia and 96% in Guinea, female genital mutilation affects up to 140 million women and girls. The recent honor killing of Quandeel Baloch, a Pakistani social media celebrity, only scratches the surface with over 500 honor killings per year in Pakistan alone.
And although in many countries it seems we have reached equality, recent events have shown that that might be a thin layer of veneer. The rise in sexual assaults has given birth to the worrying term rape-culture and has uncovered a deep underbelly of disrespect to women’s bodies. The lenient sentencing of a Stanford rapist went viral “a long sentence would influence his bright future”. In Brazil, a 16 year-old girl was drugged and while unconscious was raped by 31 men, who posted videos online of the rape. “She had done drugs before and had sex before, so what’s the problem”
In the meantime, girls everywhere are told to behave modestly as to avoid trouble. To walk the line. The subliminal message being that molestation and rape is their responsibility. It is not.
These facts and many more, show that the struggle for equality is far from over.
Or in the words of former US president Jimmy Carter:
"There is a pervasive denial of equal rights to women, more than half of all human beings, and this discrimination results in tangible harm to all of us. It is the worst and most unaddressed human rights violation on Earth.”
There are still a lot of silent voices. My wish is that they will all be heard.
Fotografía de portada y fotos: de la serie Silent Voices de Marinka Masséus