This Week in Women: We Need More Seats at Tables Around the World

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.

A delegation from Saudi Arabia came to Washington this week, and they were greeted by the president and White House staff for a meeting that didn’t include a single woman on either side. The team of more than 20 men focused on increasing weapons of war—with Trump lobbying hard for the Saudis to purchase as much as $400 billion in military equipment from the U.S. There was reportedly no mention of Saudi’s brutal bombardment of civilians in Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the world, nor gains made recently by Saudi women, who can now vote in local elections, run for office and drive starting in June.

Even as Trump battles with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Facebook faces pressure about its users’ data privacy, many remain focused on the November elections. On Wednesday, Mississippi’s governor appointed a woman to fill a U.S. Senate seat, making Vermont the only state that has never sent a woman to Congress. And as record numbers of women run for office, the New York Times had this piece highlighting a Native American female candidate, who would be the first indigenous woman to serve in Congress if she wins.

Fuller Project has been stepping up its efforts to give undocumented women a voice in the immigration debate. On Tuesday, we announced the release of a research report in collaboration with Harvard University looking at violence against women on the border. Meanwhile in Russia, in the week following Putin’s reelection, a large number of journalists joined the boycott against sexual harassment of women after a government ethics commission ruled in favor of a high-ranking lawmaker who was accused of harassment by three female reporters.

Newsweek also reported this week that Russian #MeToo accusers have been vilified and bullied on social media. Last fall, a Russian news anchor criticized accusations against high-profile Hollywood stars on a major television show, reflecting the challenges women in Russia face as they pioneer their own #MeToo movement.

Sad news has hit Brazil. In Rio de Janeiro, at least 1,000 people took to the streets last Sunday to mourn the murder of human rights activist and city councilwoman Marielle Franco. Her legacy of breaking barriers will live on.



Christina Asquith is former editor for Across Women’s Lives at PRI’s The World and founder/editor in chief of the Fuller Project for International Reporting, which contributed this story and which works with Peace Is Loud on women, peace and security issues.