SOLVE magazine Issue 01 2020 - Page 27

GENDER: EQUALITY Research lights gender equality’s tortuous path The perspectives of a new generation are emerging as sources of hope in cultures where freeing women from systemic abuse faces the strongest resistance. There is a wave of female empowerment sweeping South Asia – in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Republic of Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. On the surface, this comes as good news for women and girls whose horizons are being broadened by access to study and workplaces. This gain is seen as especially positive given this region historically has the highest rates of child marriage side by side with dowry and domestic violence, honour killings, trafficking and abnormal levels of female child mortality. But there remains a grim reality beneath the surface, and it took the specialist skills of social anthropologist Tamsin Bradley, Professor in International Development Studies, to help detect it. “In our research we found that violence has followed South Asian women from their traditional domestic settings to their newfound work and study environments,” she says. This finding, and insight, is now being used to help develop new schemes to support women as they make the often-fraught progression from oppressed to liberated citizens. ISSUE 1 / 2020 27