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July 20, 2011

World's Most Dangerous Countries for Women

Targeted violence against females, dismal healthcare and desperate poverty make Afghanistan the world's most dangerous country in which to be born a woman, with Congo a close second due to horrific levels of rape. Pakistan, India and Somalia ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the global survey of perceptions of threats ranging from domestic abuse and economic discrimination to female foeticide (the destruction of a fetus in the uterus), genital mutilation and acid attack. A survey compiled by the Thomson Reuters Foundation to mark the launch of TrustLaw Woman*, puts Afghanistan at the top of the list of the most dangerous places in the world for women. TrustLaw asked 213 gender experts from five contents to rank countries by overall perceptions of danger as well as by six categories of risk. The risks consisted of health threats, sexual violence, non-sexual violence, cultural or religious factors, lack of access to resources and trafficking. The collection of images that follow were provided by Reuters to illustrate the dangers women face in those 5 countries. -- Paula Nelson (*TrustLaw Woman is a website aimed at providing free legal advice for women’s' groups around the world.) (37 photos total)

Women in Afghanistan have a near total lack of economic rights, rendering it a severe threat to its female inhabitants. An Afghan soldier uses a wooden stick to maintain order among women waiting for humanitarian aid at a World Food Programme WFP distribution point in the city of Kabul, December 14, 2001. The U.N. (WFP) started its biggest ever food distribution in the Afghan capital, handing out sacks of wheat to more than three-quarters of the war-ravaged city's population. (Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

Continuing conflict, NATO airstrikes and cultural practices combine to make Afghanistan a very dangerous place to be a woman," says Antonella Notari, head of Women Change Makers, a group that supports women social entrepreneurs around the world. A woman walks past riot police outside a gathering in Kabul's stadium, February 23, 2007. (Ahmad Masood/Reuters) #

A victim is taken away from the site of a bomb blast in Kabul, December 15, 2009. At least four civilians were killed by the suicide car bomb outside a hotel used by foreigners in Kabul's main diplomatic area and across the street from the home of a former vice president. (Ahmad Masood/Reuters) #

An Afghan woman checks on her daughter in a hospital in Charikar city, May 11, 2009. Nearly 50 Afghan teenagers were in the hospital after a mystery gas attack on a girls' school in the northern town of Charikar, the second mass poisoning of female students in a month. Attacks on girls schools have increased, particularly in the east and south of the country. A year prior, a group of schoolgirls in Kandahar had acid thrown in their faces by men who objected to them attending school. (Omar Sobhani/Reuters) #

The near total lack of economic rights render Afghanistan a threat to its female inhabitants. Women beg on a road as snow falls in Kabul, January 13, 2009. (Ahmad Masood/Reuters) #

"In Afghanistan, women have a one in 11 chance of dying in childbirth." Afghan mothers visit a health clinic in Eshkashem district of Badakhshan province, northeast of Kabul, April 23, 2008. (Ahmad Masood/Reuters) #

Shamsia, 17, a victim of an acid attack by the Taliban, lies in a hospital in Kabul, November 15, 2008. (Omar Sobhani/Reuters) #

The relative of an Afghan prisoner cries outside Pul-i-Charkhi prison on the eastern outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, February 28, 2006. A siege at Pul-i-Charkhi, Afghanistan's biggest prison, entered a fourth day but the government expressed hope for a peaceful resolution to a bloody revolt by hundreds of inmates. (Ahmad Masood/Reuters) #

Women who venture into non-traditional roles, they are often threatened or killed. A damaged campaign poster for a female Afghan candidate for Parliament on a wall in Herat, western Afghanistan, September 8, 2010. (Raheb Homavandi/Reuters) #

An Afghan woman wearing a traditional Burqa walks on the side of a road as a Northern Alliance APC, (Armoured Personnel Carrier) carrying fighters and the Afghan flag, drives to a new position in the outskirts of Jabal us Seraj, some 60kms north of the Afghan capital Kabul, November 4, 2001. The Northern Alliance, a mix of mostly ethnic Uzbek and Tajik fighters in the north, is viewed with suspicion and enmity by ethnic Pashtuns, who operate in other areas. (Yannis Behrakis/Reuters) #

Afghan women wait for their turn at a World Food Program (WFP) distribution centre in Kabul, February 10, 2011. (Ahmad Masood/Reuters) #

An Afghan girl touches her mother's artificial leg at the ICRC Ali Abad Orthopaedic centre in Kabul, November 12, 2009. The centre, which is run mostly by disabled people, aims to educate and rehabilitate landmine victims and people with any kind of deformities, to help them integrate effectively into society. They also provide the patients with a 18-months interest free $600 micro credit loan. (Jerry Lampen/Reuters) #

An Afghan mother holds her child as she visits a health clinic in Eshkashem district of Badakhshan province, northeast of Kabul, April 23, 2008. Women die in childbirth every day in Afghanistan, a country with one of the world's highest maternal mortality rates. (Ahmad Masood/Reuters) #

A veiled Afghan woman waits with her son, whose legs have been amputated, for alms on a street in Kabul, August 4, 2008. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters) #

Women who do attempt to speak out or take on public roles that challenge the ingrained gender stereotypes of what is acceptable for women to do or not, such as working as a policewoman or news broadcaster, are often intimidated or killed. A woman attends an event to discuss the presidential candidates in Kabul, August 11, 2009. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters) #

The staggering levels of sexual violence in the lawless east of the DRC account for its ranking as the second most dangerous place for women. One recent US study claimed that more than 400,000 women are raped there each year. The UN has called the Congo the rape capital of the world. A woman who has recently undergone surgery rests at the general hospital at Dungu in northeastern Congo, February 17, 2009. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters) #

"Rights activists say militia groups and soldiers target all ages, including girls as young as three and elderly women", according to the survey. "They are gang-raped, raped with bayonets and some have guns shot into their vaginas," the report continues. People flee after renewed fighting erupting around Kibati village, November 7, 2008. Fighting between rebels and government troops flared in east Congo, and African leaders called for an immediate ceasefire to end a conflict the U.N. said could engulf the country's Great Lakes region. (Stringer/Reuters) #

A mother breastfeeds her two malnourished infants at a Catholic mission feeding center in rebel-held Rutshuru, 70 km (50 miles) north of Goma in eastern Congo, November 13, 2008. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters) #

A woman displaced by war prays during a Sunday service in an outdoor church at the Don Bosco center in Goma in eastern Congo, November 23, 2008. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters) #

A woman displaced by war lies in a tent with her child at a makeshift camp in Kibati near Goma in eastern Congo, February 13, 2009. Congo's military claimed more than 40 Rwandan Hutu rebels had died in an air raid, as the 3-week-old joint Congolese-Rwandan offensive sparked rebel reprisals. A rights group said rebels had killed 100 villagers. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters) #

Women from a church choir sit on benches upon the lava floe from a 2002 eruption in the eastern Congolese city of Goma, August 14, 2010. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters) #

A government soldier carries her infant on her back at Mushake in eastern Congo, January 26, 2009. Congolese Hutu rebels had clashed for the first time with a Rwandan-Congolese force deployed to crush them. Civilians expressed fears they would be caught up in the violence. (Alissa Everett/Reuters) #

War-displaced Helene Namikano, 71, Rebecca Martha Kanigi, 75, Venancia Ndamkunzi, 65, and Atia Egenia Mobato, 74, sit together on the steps of a building in the village of Mugunga, just west of the eastern Congolese city of Goma, August 24, 2010. All four women have repeatedly fled fighting in North Kivu province over the past four years despite efforts to bring peace to Democratic Republic of Congo. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters) #

A dying Rwandan woman tries breastfeeding her child next to hundreds of corpses waiting to be buried at a mass grave near the Munigi refugee camp, 20 km north of Goma. Thousands of refugees were succumbing to cholera or dehydration, July 23, 1994. (Corinne Dufka/Reuters) #

Pakistan is ranked third on the basis of cultural, tribal and religious practices harmful to women. "These include acid attacks, child and forced marriage and punishment or retribution by stoning or other physical abuse." A woman is comforted by her mother while waiting for a medical check-up at a hospital in the Swat region, located in Pakistan's restive North Western Frontier Province, March 21, 2010. (Akhtar Soomro/Reuters) #

Daughters of a Pakistani Christian woman, Asia Bibi, pose with an image of their mother while standing outside their residence in Sheikhupura in Pakistan's Punjab Province, November 13, 2010. Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of four, has been sentenced to death for blasphemy. (Adrees Latif/Reuters) #

Mukhtaran Mai gives an interview at a school in Meerwala, located in the Muzaffargarh District of Pakistan's central Punjab province, April 22, 2011. Mai, a Pakistani victim of a village council-sanctioned gang-rape became a symbol of the country's oppressed women. (Stringer/Reuters) #

"Pakistan has some of the highest rates of dowry murder, so called honor killings and early marriage." According to Pakistan's human rights commission, as many as 1,000 women and girls die in honor killings annually. School children sing Pakistan's national anthem during a rehearsal at the mausoleum of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, in Karachi, August 13, 2009, ahead of Independence Day. (Akhtar Soomro/Reuters) #

India is the fourth most dangerous country. "India's central bureau of investigation estimated that in 2009 about 90% of trafficking took place within the country and that there were some 3 million prostitutes, of which about 40% were children." A woman weeps as she sits outside her house after police arrested her male family members at Bhatta Parsaul village in Gautam Buddha Nagar district of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, May 8, 2011. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters) #

Women laborers work in an onion field in Pimpalgaon, about 215 km (133 miles) north of Mumbai, January 23, 2011. Onions are base ingredients for almost all Indian dishes. Soaring prices of the vegetable have helped dislodge Indian state governments in the past, and rising food costs often spark street protests in a country where over 40 percent of the 1.2 billion population lives on under $1.25 per day. (Danish Siddiqui/Reuters) #

Forced marriage and forced labour trafficking add to the dangers for women. "Up to 50 million girls are thought to be 'missing' over the past century due to female infanticide and foeticide," the UN population fund says, because parents prefer to have young boys rather than girls. A veiled Muslim woman holds a placard during a protest in New Delhi, May 16, 2007. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters) #

A woman carries empty pitchers as another fills a pitcher with drinking water from the dried-up Banas river at Sukhpur village, north of the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, May 12, 2011. (Amit Dave/Reuters) #

A woman laborer walks past a residential estate under construction in Kolkata, January 25, 2011. (Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters) #

Somalia, a state in political disintegration, suffers high levels of maternal martality, rape, female genital mutilation and limited access to education and healthcare. Somali refugees, having arrived at the Dagahaley camp, assemble a makeshift shelter, in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border, April 3, 2011. (Thomas Mukoya/Reuters) #

"Rape cases happen on a daily basis, and female genital mutilation being done to every single girl in Somalia. Add to that famine and drought. Add to that the fighting which means you can die any minute, any day." Mogadishu residents carry a woman wounded in fighting between African Union peacekeepers and Islamist forces in the Somali capital, October 28, 2009. (Feisal Omar/Reuters) #

A civilian pushes a woman on a handcart as they flee from renewed clashes in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, July 19, 2010. (Feisal Omar/Reuters) #

The most dangerous thing a woman in Somalia can do is to become pregnant. When a woman becomes pregnant her life is 50-50 because there is no antenatal care at all. There are no hospitals, no healthcare, no nothing." A woman holds her malnourished child at the Banaadir Hospital in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, May 5, 2009. (Ismail Taxta/Reuters) #



 
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