For sure, in your community you have seen flyers distributed on trees, street lamp posts, at shops, cafés etc. with the face of a girl or woman and a text in capital letters saying: MISSING or DISAPPEARED.
Where is she? Have you seen her? What do you know about her? These are the main questions many families ask daily about their missing one.
Ann, Ayodele, Maria, Caroline, Liu, Shanel, Sara, Fahima, Amal, Chinedu, Cosette, Claudia, Wiola, Natasza, Akiko, Elvira etc?
These names represent our grandmothers, wifes, daughters, cousins, aunts, sisters, friends, neighbours, and co-workers that are missing today.
The term “missing women” was first used by a scholar, Amartya Sen who brought to attention that it’s a result of sex-selective abortion, unequal treatment, and infanticide of girls. His essay published in The New York Review of Books in 1990,revealed the sex ratio, which measures the number of males born in society against the number of women. This demonstrated that roughly 100 million women are missing worldwide.
“These numbers tell us, quietly, a terrible story of inequality and neglect leading to the excessive mortality of women.” said researcher Amartya in his essay.
The topic of missing women is vast. Worldwide women are missing because of sex-selection abortions, female infanticide, lack of pregnancy and childbirth education, poor health care, low quality of nutrition, and the growth of gender violence toward women ( sex- trade, feminicide, etc).
State of the World Population 2020 report reveals that 142 million women are missing globally. India has the highest rate with 46 million.
In many countries, the missing of a beloved one is an open wound. In Latin American countries like Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay etc. millions of people are missing between 1976-1986, by the military dictatorships.
During my first visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina, I remember it was heartbreaking to see the Mothers of May Square (Madres de la Plaza de Mayo), who were protesting with their white headscarves which symbolize the diapers embroidered with the names and dates of their children’s birth. These children when missing during the military dictatorship.
Today, this cruel reality continues in many countries where activists, human rights defenders, journalists and others are going missing or forced to disappear daily; many of them being women.
The Women from Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico (Las Mujeres de Juarez), who have been missing and murdered by hundreds, is a clear example of missing women.
Iconography of Mexico
Colombia is another country where women are disappearing daily. According to the newspaper Noticias Medellin in an article of last June, from January to April 2020, a total of 1,563 people have disappeared from which 583 are women, 335 under 18 years, and 248 over 18 years old. This was stated in a preliminary report from the National Forensic Medicine.
We don’t want the list of missing women names to increase, we don’t want to continue walking in our neighbourhood and seeing flyers of missing women, and to continue hearing on the media of the same topic every day.
What can we do?
-Stand together in this fight.
-Support friends and family that have been through this painful experience.
-If you have any information about a missing woman, call and give it, remember it can be useful.
-Don’t forget the names of those beloved women that are missing.