As we get ready to celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25, we are reminded that far too many women fall prey to violence throughout the world. My translation work is largely dedicated to the empowerment of women in the developing world, my clients’ goals and vision being to put an end to maternal mortality and morbidity, child marriage, but also to foster access to education and information and develop inter-generational as well as male-female communication.
A few days ago, I took part in a professional training during which I had to present my freelance activity as a translator. One of the attendees, a gentleman, bluntly asked me why I was only working on women’s issues (mind you the conversation was in French and he said: “mais pourquoi que les femmes”?). To me, the mere fact that this man asked that question represented a sheer example of “symbolic violence” against women in general. But I felt that in some ways, he was suggesting that my professional orientation was discriminatory. So I have come to the conclusion that those world events supported by the United Nations, national governments as well as nonprofits are without any doubt necessary to raise public awareness and educate everyone globally. The work begins at home and has to be pursued in schools, in the workplace, in a nutshell in every sphere of society.
There is a long way to go and therefore as UN Secretary General Ban-Ki moon puts it: "Everyone has a responsibility to prevent and end violence against women and girls, starting by challenging the culture of discrimination that allows it to continue."