Currents News Staff
Millions of women around the globe are making their voices heard. From the United States to countries like Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela and all the way to Australia and beyond, women are demanding equal representation, equal pay, and a life free of violence.
“There is no question that women and girls are enduring a great tragedy,” said Lisa Kristine.
Lisa Kristine is a humanitarian photographer whose work has been blessed by Pope Francis. She spent her career documenting the lives of the downtrodden, using her lens to capture their stories.
“There’s a tremendous curb of violence against women, equally,” said Lisa. “There’s a form of violence in perpetual forced labor. People on the move that are being forced to flee their country, whether it be for political reasons or violence, war, famine, or a lack of water, or health and safety.”
COVID is making it worse and the United Nations is sounding the alarm. One in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Fourty-seven million women are living on less than $1.90 a day and 80 to 100 million girls are ‘missing’ as victims of gender-based violence.
In the United States, women are also at risk.
“The sad thing about that is that you could be in the presence of slavery,” Lisa said, “and not have any idea that the person who is serving you and who you’re paying and giving a tip to actually has no control over their lives, nor are they cared for properly or paid.”
Domestic violence is also on the rise. Professor Barabara Koziak with St. John’s University says while gender violence dropped over the past 30 years, the pandemic is reversing that trend.
“Women have been disproportionately affected by COVID because of the uptick in domestic violence,” Barbara said. “Because of their increased labor in the home, they have been much more vulnerable in various ways across both the economy and the home.”
And while domestic violence is up, women’s employment is down. Women usually make up 49 percent of the workforce, but now account for 55 percent of the jobs lost since the pandemic began. Jobs lost include women-centric industries like leisure and hospitality; education; health and retail; and government jobs at the state and local level.
There is hope the impact will be temporary.
“I think they will rebound as long as the economy grows,” Barbara said. “What I think is hopeful here – is that COVID has really reinforced and highlighted how much paid employment is wrapped up in what’s happening at home.”
As for the continuing rise in gender based violence, Lisa believes that raising awareness is key to finding a solution.
“To me, awareness is just so important,” Lisa said. “Seeing is believing and as Archbishop Desmond Tutu says ‘none of us are truly free until all of us are finally free.’
Pope Francis personally signed some of Lisa Kristine’s photographs to be later auctioned off for charity. The Holy Father has called violence against women a “desecration of God.”