This Week in Women: Making Every Day International Women’s Day

This Week in Women is part of a series produced in partnership between Ms. and the Fuller Project for International Reporting. This column is also part of a newsletter; sign up here to receive it regularly.

Victoria Pickering / Creative Commons

Millions of women across Europe and Asia, including in Spain, India and Russia, took to the streets to recognize International Women’s Day on Thursday, one of the biggest displays of solidarity with global women’s rights since the day grew out of labor movements in the early 20th century. 

The media, too, finally acknowledged the day, with The New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post and more all featuring splashy, multimedia stories celebrating women’s achievements, and the ways they’ve been overlooked. We liked this BBC piece on women who led the charge this year.

On Tuesday, though, we learned that despite this progress, the U.S. news industry still lags behind on a crucial metric: Female journalists of color are terribly underrepresented in newsrooms, according to research released by the Women’s Media Center. Women of color make up just 7.95 percent of U.S. print newsroom staff, 12.6 percent of local TV news staff, and 6.2 percent of local radio staff.

Fuller Project correspondents reporting from 15 different countries remind our newsroom of how far we have to go, particularly in reducing violence against women. In Russia this week, our fellow Anna Nemtsova reported on women in Moscow protesting epic levels of sexual harassment by state officials that is systematically ignored.

Meanwhile in France, the government said Monday it would raise the minimum legal age of consent to 15, following two horrific sexual abuse cases of 11-year-old girls. Their abusers escaped punishment due to weak laws around consent, many said.

As women took action around the world, political leaders crafted their own messages for International Women’s Day. President Trump issued a statement Thursday touting his achievements to date on women’s issues, including his signing of the Women, Peace and Security Act, his program launched this week to increase women’s access to the internet and his efforts to promote women’s economic empowerment through loans to women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.

Now let’s pause to appreciate women immigrants, who rarely get recognized for their contributions. They make up seven percent of the population in the U.S., but more than 11 percent of physicians and surgeons, according to research by New American Economy.

Women’s voices broke through on International Women’s Day. Let’s make the day after just as empowering.

Christina Asquith is founder and editor-in-chief of The Fuller Project for International Reporting.

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