By ICDO Member – Lizaveta Vozjakova,
From Russia with Love.

Did you know that only 8 countries in Europe have legislation making sex without consent – rape?  Approximately 9 million women in EU have been raped after the age of 15. Not so long ago it was perfectly legal to discriminate against women in the workforce, place job listings only for men, and pay women less. There were no women doctors or lawyers, and in some countries, women had no right to vote or decide their own maternal healthcare. With time, came the much-needed changes. In this post, I am going to lead you through the #10YearChallenge from the perspective of women rights, the LGBTQ+ community, and environmental crisis.

This year, 272 of the 964 candidates running in the US 2018 Midterm election are women. Women acquired a legal right to drive in an Islamic State of Saudi Arabia. Women candidates prepare for the 2020 presidential election in the United States. More women voices are being heard and more women are participating in politics. However, there is still a lot of work regarding women’s rights and women’s representations in the media, there is more and more achieved every day. More women participate and have a legal right to participate in protests, as big as Women’s March. Nevertheless, a great change is still needed. According to the United Nations: “While women have made important inroads into political office across the world, their representation in national parliaments at 23.7 percent is still far from parity. In 18 countries, husbands can legally prevent their wives from working; in 39 countries, daughters and sons do not have equal inheritance rights; and 49 countries lack laws protecting women from domestic violence,” according to the United Nations.

Over the course of ten years, there have been a lot of improvements for the LGBTQ+ community. Proposition 8, eliminating Rights of Same-Sex Couples to Marry, was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in the US, end to ban on gay people in the military took place in Argentina, Philippines and Uruguay, the first openly gay male becomes the head of the government in Belgium, the first same-sex couple became engaged in the White House, the first openly lesbian or gay person elected as US Senator, the first same-sex kiss ever on a Eurovision stage occurred at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest. There has been a lot of change, though there are still some throwbacks. Some countries put a lot of effort into preventing the progress of the LGBTQ+ community. Russia prohibited all the LGBT propaganda without explaining what is considered “propaganda,” making it legal to arrest people for something that is ‘considered’ propaganda. The illegal acts taking place under the closed doors in Chechnya are, in the eyes of LGBTQ allies,  despicable and can be considered as against humanity. According to Amnesty: “LGBTI people in Chechnya are being abducted, locked up in secret detention sites, tortured and sometimes killed – purely because of their sexual orientation.”

During one century there has been a lot of negative change caused by humans. Several environmental organizations participated in the #10yearchallenge to remind people about the crucial truth that is causing deforestation, elimination of some species and the melting of the ice sheets as well as glaciers. The amount of greenhouse gasses produced by human activities escalate global warming. If you feel affected by this topic, you can try to calculate your Greenhouse gas emissions footprint that will tell you the amount of gasses you emit yourself.

It also suggests the steps to take in order to decrease the emissions. I can give you the easiest examples that everyone could follow without any inconvenience. Did you know that the washing machine uses less water than the human washing the dishes? That’s right! You can spend less time on house duty and feel that you are helping the environment. Also, do you want to get some extra money? It’s several cents, but some coffee shops give you a discount if you have your own coffee cup or thermo cup. I know it is very boring to hear since I am sure a lot of people have told you that already, but it is better for both your health and the environment if you use the public transport or a bike to travel.

There has been a lot of progress during this decade, however, as mentioned, there is still a lot of work to be done. This work should start on a small level, with yourself, but if everyone can do a little bit, it can lead to a global change. I hope that the next #10yearchallenge will only lead to improvements.