This Week in Women: The Fight Against Sexism in Politics Worldwide Goes On

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.

At least 59 U.S. women political candidates won big in Tuesday’s primary races, according to NBC News and the Associated Press. In light of these victories, Glamour had this terrific story about how motherhood, raising children and volunteering to strengthen their communities have become political assets for female candidates.

Overall, a historic number of women (about 600) are running or have said they’ll run for governor, House or Senate this year. But remember: even if women do well in November, numbers indicate men will still dominate womenin Congress by more than three to one. Change takes time and persistence.

The Chinese government is promoting some pretty old-fashioned ideas about women, according to a Tuesday report by Human Rights Watch’s China Director. The All-China Women’s Federation used to support women’s advancement in the labor force, but in recent years it has used its programs to promote women’s subservience, including teaching women how to sit, make tea and be good wives.

Meanwhile, Spain has a new leader, and nearly two-thirds of his cabinet are women. In Fuller news, our talented East Africa correspondent Neha Wadekar reported for Ozy this week on how women in Somalia are best positioned to wipe out terrorism there. In Forbes, Ewelina U. Ochab argues that sexual abuse can constitute religious persecution. Victims like Yazidi women targeted by ISIS, and Christians in places like India and Nigeria, are examples of how abuse can be associated with a woman’s religious affiliation, she argues.

Internationally, there is an upsurge in kidnappings and killings of mostly women and children in Uganda. Earlier this week, activists protested government inaction by dumping coffins outside parliament. Women in Peru are protesting the president for making light of a domestic violence case in which a woman was burned to death by her stalker, and a Swedish city is telling young girls who fear being sent abroad into forced marriage or female genital mutilation to tuck a spoon in their underwear, which would trigger airport metal detectors and alert the authorities. In the U.S., fear of deportation is causing fewer immigrants to report domestic abuse—and family separation caused by deportation is turning pregnant immigrant women into single mothers.

Here are 10 women heads of state who we hope would never make light of violence against women.

Other Stories From This Week

Kim Kardashian visited the White House last week to raise awareness around the life-in-prison sentence given to black grandmother Alice Johnson for her role in drug trafficking, and it worked. On Wednesday, Trump commuted her sentence. But still, incarceration rates are rising for women nationwide, and way too many are for non-violent drug offenses. Alice herself had already served more than 20 years. She speaks here.

The majority of incarcerated women suffer from mental health issues, and that was also in the news this week as many grappled with the suicide of self-made fashion businesswoman Kate Spade, who had a 13-year-old daughter. Here, many women react.

Deborah Epstein, co-director of Georgetown University Law Center’s Domestic Violence Clinic, announces in the Washington Post that she has resigned from the NFL Player Association’s commission on domestic violence, claiming the league’s efforts to address domestic violence in football are a facade.

The CEO of Qatar Airways claimed only a man could do his job because it would be too challenging for a woman. On Wednesday, he apologized. A new study finds that women students at the U.S. Naval Academy are more likely to be described by their managers as “inept, selfish, frivolous, passive and temperamental” than their male colleagues. Forbes has released its list of the highest paid athletes of 2018, and not a single woman made it into the top 100.

And from Ohio, our Midwest correspondent Brittany King reports for the Washington Post’s The Lily about a woman building bridges between people of different racial backgrounds in her community. A beautiful story for our divided country.




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.