The U.S. ranks as the 19th most dangerous country for women, 11th in maternal mortality, 30th in closing the gender pay gap, 75th in women’s political representation, and painfully lacks paid family leave and equal access to health care. But Ms. has always understood: Feminist movements around the world hold answers to some of the U.S.’s most intractable problems. Ms. Global is taking note of feminists worldwide.
+ 11-year-old victim of rape is denied abortion in Loreto
An 11-year-old girl in Peru under the pseudonym of Mila found out she was pregnant after sustained sexual abuse by her stepfather since she was 7. Her mother, who was also a victim of abuse in her household, has sought out abortion care for her daughter, which is illegal in Peru, under the representation of the Center for the Promotion and Defense of Sexual and Reproductive Rights (Promsex).
Mila was initially denied access to a therapeutic abortion at 17 weeks by the Regional Hospital of Loreto, based on the fact that Peruvian law indicates this rape is not cause enough for a therapeutic abortion and the child wanted to continue her pregnancy. Since then, news of this case has reignited a common sense of frustration across the country with the hashtag #JusticiaParaMila (which translates to Justice for Mila) circulating on social media.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, along with other organizations, issued a statement as a call to action to Peruvian officials about the grave violation of human rights in Mila’s case. “We urge you to reconsider the decision to deny her access to therapeutic abortion and guarantee Mila, and all pregnant girls and teenage victims of sexual violence, this right–with safe and age-appropriate procedures–and within 22 weeks of gestation, as established by medical protocol. We remind you that forced maternity resulting from rape is not voluntary and threatens integral health,” the statement reads, according to El País.
On August 12, the Maternal Perinatal Institute said they have since approved the abortion to “avoid permanent or serious damage to her physical and mental health,” according to the BBC.
+ The Taliban closes beauty salons, one the only public spaces left for women in Afghanistan
On July 25, the Taliban officially closed women’s beauty salons, citing that “women-only spaces” were against the religious law of Sharia.
According to a statement from the Taliban’s Ministry of Vice and Virtue, which acts to uphold the narrow reading of Islamic law that the Taliban follows, “women’s beauty salons in Kabul and provinces should be given a month to shut their business activities, and their licenses and contracts will be invalid at the end of the specified period.”
The Vice and Virtue ministry spokesperson told Ahmad Mukhtar, a journalist for CNN, that the fake hair and eyebrow shaping that are typical of beauty salons were “prohibited in Islam,” and that too much makeup would impede women’s ability to “absorb water during Islamic prayer rituals.”
Not only do beauty salons provide economic support for families by creating a space for women to earn money, but they also create a rare opportunity for women to interact with people outside of their home. Since the Taliban took over, women have been largely banned from public spaces, and cannot leave their homes without a man accompanying them.
“This isn’t about getting your hair and nails done,” Heather Barr, the associate director of women’s rights at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement to the New York Times. “This is about 60,000 women losing their jobs. This is about women losing one of the only places they could go for community and support.”
+ Indigenous women in Canada are still being forcibly sterilized
At least five class-action lawsuits have been filed by Indigenous women in Canada after decades of being subjected to forced and coerced sterilizations.
Senator Yvonne Boyer’s office estimates that at least 12,000 women have been victims since the 1970s, however, the number could be much higher as the National Health Agency has failed to keep track of sterilization demographics. Many women undergoing routine surgical procedures have unknowingly had their fallopian tubes tied only to find out years later.
Medical professionals have also been known to take advantage of communication barriers or disoriented patients to conduct sterilizations. “I could smell something burning. When the doctor was finished, he said, ‘There: tied, cut and burnt. Nothing will get through that,’” Sylvia Tuckanow told the Senate Committee of Human Rights, which is investigating the claims. Sen. Boyer has introduced Bill S-250 to criminalize these acts, which are considered a violation of human rights and an act of genocide.
+ Judge rules that a grope under 10 seconds cannot be prosecuted.
After a 66-year-old school caretaker groped a 17-year-old girl on the staircase of her school in Rome, the judge rules that the assault was “too fleeting to be considered a crime” since it was between five and 10 seconds.
The defendant pleaded guilty to groping the student but called it a joke. The judge sided with the defendant, saying that the gesture left “margins of doubt” on the “voluntary nature of the violation of the girl’s sexual freedom … considering the very nature of touching the buttocks, for a certainly minimal time, given that the whole action is concentrated in a handful of seconds,” per the Guardian. The defendant was acquitted of sexual assault charges.
This verdict sparked a huge negative reaction online, with Italians using the hashtags “#10secondi” and “palpata breve” (brief grope) to share their disgust and disappointment with the decision. Videos showing people “groping” themselves in uncomfortable silence for 10 seconds have been circulating—the trend has made a point of showing how daunting and long those 10 seconds can be.
+ Taiwan sees a surge in its own #MeToo amidst waves of sexual harassment allegations
“Let’s not just let this go this time.” This is the line from Netflix show “Wave Makers” that resonated with women who have been victims of sexual harassment in the workplace and has gained momentum as its own version of #MeToo in Taiwan. The show, a political drama, showcases a female member of a political party confiding in her superior about experiencing sexual harassment. As a result, an outpour of #MeToo allegations have surfaced across Taiwan, most prominently in the political and entertainment scenes.
The island has been recognized as one of the most progressive democracies in Asia—but this new movement is calling into question its efficacy in championing and protecting women’s rights. President Tsai Ing-wen, the first female president, and her governing Democratic Progressive Party, have come under fire amidst sexual harassment allegations against several senior members and officials.
“The Netflix show was seen by others as a snapshot of what’s happening within the party, and it has brought about great impact,” Fan Yun, a legislator and expert on gender issues, told the New York Times.
+ Attendance for 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup has exceeded previous years, but players still are negotiating fair pay.
The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup was kicked off in New Zealand on July 20. Following Sweden’s win against the United States on August 6, the tournament hit a total of 1,367,037 spectators. This hits a record for Women’s World Cup attendance, and marks the largest crowd ever at a soccer game in New Zealand.
Previously, the record was in 2015 where 1,353,506 people attended the Women’s World Cup 24-team tournament in Canada.
As of August 4, over 1.7 million tickets have been sold, breaking the record of 1.3 million.
Despite the production of ticket sales and high turnout, FIFA is revisiting it’s promise to pay players at least $30,000, and give the winning team $270,000. Currently, women players at the World Cup earn 25 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts. About two-thirds had to take work leave from a second job in order to play.
“We have issued these recommendations, but we have an association of associations,” FIFA said president Gianni Infantino, speaking to the Associated Press. “So whatever payments we do, we will go through the associations and then the associations will, of course, make the relevant payments to their own players.”
+ Abortion access in Guam is now near impossible following a federal ruling
The Ninth Circuit has ruled that remote abortions are now banned in the territory of Guam—meaning that patients seeking care must have an in-person visit to a doctor. However, the last remaining doctor that was providing care on the island retired back in 2018— and the two doctors licensed to provide abortions on the territory are an eight-hour flight away, rendering abortion access not only difficult but virtually impossible. Women will now have to choose whether or not they can take on the financial burden and health risks associated with such long travel in order to terminate their pregnancies, despite the fact that abortion in Guam is currently legal until the 13-week mark.
The island is allegedly being used as a “litmus test” of what an absolute ban would look like, Guam Attorney General Douglas Moylan told the New York Times.
+ Chihuahua, a city in Mexico, has banned the performance of songs that promote violence against women.
In reaction to high levels of domestic violence, the Mexican city of Chihuahua is instituting a fine on anyone who performs songs that discriminate against women or promote violence towards them. The fine ranges from 674,000 pesos to 1.244 million pesos (around $40,000-$74,000 USD).
In Chihuahua, there has been a recent uptick in gender based violence, with 24 femicides reported from January to June of this year.