The condition of working-class women on International Women’s Day
9 March 2018
There is more talk of gender in the American and global media than perhaps at any previous moment in history. The #MeToo campaign in the US has supposedly brought the conditions of women to the fore like never before. The US media and Hollywood are animated by hardly anything else.
But this is a fraud. The women getting nearly all the coverage belong to the upper echelons of society, the richest five or ten percent. Working-class women are nowhere to be seen in all this, except for a few token exceptions that prove the rule.
This skewed class lineup in the media coverage reflects a greater social reality: the gap between affluent women and working-class women has widened dramatically in the past several decades. On International Women’s Day in 2018, what are the conditions of the great majority of women in the world, those who are ignored by the media, those who do not get their faces and their complaints on the evening news?
Today, of the 1.3 billion of the planet’s 7.6 billion inhabitants living in extreme poverty, 70 percent are women or girls, according to Project Concern International.
Of the world’s estimated 65.6 million refugee population—fleeing war, famine and violence—about half are women. Women who are internally displaced, and those who are unaccompanied, pregnant, heads of household, disabled or elderly are especially vulnerable.
Every day, approximately 830 women die worldwide from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Some 99 percent of all maternal deaths occur in the so-called developing countries. Some advances have been made in this area, with the global maternal mortality rate dropping between 1990 and 2015 by about 30 percent.
However, in the…