This Week in Women: These Headlines are Proof That Gender Matters in Global Policy and Politics

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.

We Need More Women in Politics—and a Gender Lens in Policy—Worldwide

Republicans have lost support in every special election since Trump arrived in the Oval Office, a New York Times analysis revealed Wednesday—adding to speculation that Democrats could win back both the House and Senate in November. And women candidates are very much a part of that movement, with nearly 600 women running for either House, Senate or gubernatorial seats this year—most of them Democrats, but not all.

BuzzFeed News captured one example of why government matters for women: The Trump administration, which last year cut $32.5 million in funding to the UN for women’s health and contraception, is now pushing abstinence-only programs there in closed-door meetings, they reported—even more hardline than the opinions expressed by sexually conservative, religious societies like Russia and Arab nations.

Another women’s issue in front of legislators is justice for sexual assault survivors. An estimated 45 women raped in the 1970s found justice only this week with the arrest on Wednesday of a former California police officer, now in his 70s, and known as the “Golden State Killer;” on Thursday, the scores of women who say Bill Cosby assaulted them decades ago cheered when he was finally found guilty.

If you missed the recent HBO documentary, I AM EVIDENCE, I recommend it. It tells the story of the hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits that sit on shelves in abandoned police facilities and storage rooms—and the lack of will by our elected leaders to do something about them. Hold tight for more on that story by The Fuller Project correspondents.

In news for women globally, a new World Bank report shows that women remain less likely than men to have bank accounts worldwide, despite 1.2 billion more people joining financial institutions over the past seven years. Another part of the challenges for women in rural and developing regions comes down to the lack of basic hygiene and health care; a simple technology that provides affordable toilets in places like Vietnam can therefore change women’s status.

The good news? Women’s long-overlooked accomplishments in history got a bit more recognition Tuesday when Britain finally added a statue of a woman—Suffragette Millicent Fawcett—in London’s Parliament Square, alongside 11 men.  

Other Stories From This Week

This week we published the first piece in our Fuller Project Op-Ed series, She Journeys, on how the Trump administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants harms efforts to fight human trafficking. (And don’t miss this compelling Washington Post profile of an ISIS midwife.)

Fleeing domestic abuse may no longer be considered a valid reason for seeking asylum in the United States. Children are being taken from their parents as they arrive at the U.S. border, writes the New York Times, leaving families separated in detention centers and shelters.

Chinese tech startups are hiring women to soothe stressed out coders—a job that involves being beautiful, giving massages, and charming the male employees. Ugandan women working as maids in Saudi Arabia and Jordan suffer abuse in spite of agreements between the countries that are supposed to help protect them, NewsDeeply reports. This young Afghan girl has spent more than a decade disguised as a boy so she can work to help her family in the traditional patriarchal society. “I never think that I am a girl,” Sitara told Agence France Presse.

This compelling photo series published by BuzzFeed News shows the political power of Rwandan women.

In some jobs, there are more men named John than there are women. These jobs include Republican senators and Democratic governors. In a piece for TIME, Amnesty International’s Milena Buyum writes about the courage of Turkey’s female journalists and activists in the face of a crackdown on dissent and human rights.



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.