Protests have been widely used globally as a mechanism of airing grievances of the oppressed or the perceived minority in various scenarios. Protests have been utilized as a mechanism of airing grievances since early in the 20h century. They have been viewed as a direct political action used to mobilize the public against particular policies or acts that infringe their rights. Protests can be in the form of passive action or direct action. Passive action entails displaying of signs, distributing flyers or having petitions. On the other hand, direct action may entail lock downs, disruptive picketing, demonstrations, boycotts or even strikes.
One of the earliest protests conducted by women was in 1909. This protest was in New York’s shirtwaist industry. The protesters were mainly young women and the protest was dubbed the uprising of the 20,000. More than 20,000 women participated in the protest. The protesters were able to win some of their demands (Michels, Jewish Women Archives, Uprising of 20,000). Since then protests have evolved and have become the norm in the current society. Protests take place in different parts of the globe day in day out. Women in most cases protest because of the infringement of their rights by the male counterparts or due to passing of laws that oppress them.
Recently, women held a protest in the city of Baghdad, Iraq’s capital city. The women were protesting against a draft law which was approved by the cabinet. The law permitted marriages for girls aged nine years and went ahead to give child custody to their fathers. The protest was held on the International Women’s Day (Al Salhy, Reuters, Iraqi women protest against Islamic law in Iraq). The protestors were against deprivation of the girl child’s childhood and termed the Iraqi cabinet’s action as a crime against humanity.
In each protest, there is the group that supports the protest and there is another section that opposes the protest. These two factions are created in accordance to individuals’ principles and beliefs. In the instance of the Iraqi women protest, there were two factions on the basis of their beliefs. The faction that was supporting the protest was composed of individuals referred to as secularists. This group comprises of individuals who are liberals and advocate for equality of people of all genders. On the other hand, the demonstration was opposed by individuals who believe that their religious values need to be imposed on the society as a whole. Protests by women have mostly contributed to their grievances being heard by the society at large and has contributed in appreciating the major role women play in the society.
The protest against the law to that allows a girl of the age of nine to get married was justified. At the age of nine children of either gender are considered to be minors. Minors lack the capacity to make serious life decisions mainly due to their small age and little exposure to life. At the age of nine children should be given the chance to grow as other children in different parts of the world. Exposing them to issues in marriage makes them vulnerable to abuse. The children have the right to education as their male counterparts so as to lead healthy and productive lives in the future. The law allowing girls to get married at the age of nine should be scrapped by all means.
The issues pertaining issuance of child custody to fathers should also be reviewed. Women in the normal societal setting play a huge part in the upbringing of children. Giving custody to the father would be a very unfair thing. A child belongs to both parents and in cases of divorce custody should be given to either of the parents that has a high likelihood of taking good care of the children. Giving fathers sole custody of children to fathers infringes on the rights of women.
Al-Salhy. “Iraqi women protest against Islamic law in Iraq.” 8 March 2014. Reuters (Viewed on March 25, 2014) <http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/08/us-iraq-women-islam-idUSBREA270NR20140308>
Michels, Tony. "Uprising of 20,000 (1909)." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 20 March 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on March 25, 2014) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/uprising-of-20000-1909>.