Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation: Colorado Elects Majority-Women Legislature; Karen Bass, LA’s First Woman Mayor

Weekend Reading for Women’s Representation is a compilation of stories about women’s representation. 

This week: 2022 midterms will be a status quo election for women in Congress; federal candidates and political committees are projected to spend $8.9 billion this election cycle; Ruwa Romman, 29, makes history as the first Muslim woman elected to the Georgia House; Los Angeles, the second largest city in the U.S., has elected Representative Karen Bass to be its first-ever woman mayor; and more.

Taliban Escalate New Abuses Against Afghan Women and Girls

Afghanistan’s Taliban are escalating restrictions against women and girls. The Taliban are intensifying these assaults in response to women’s rights campaigns in Afghanistan and Iran, and amid their own struggle to consolidate power.

Their intensifying violations against women risk mass atrocities and may presage greater violent extremism and threats to international security. Policymakers must respond.

‘I Felt Like the Luckiest Girl in the World’: Afghan Students Restart College in the U.S.

In all, 148 Afghan women who had been college students in Bangladesh ended up in the U.S. They were able to flee thanks to an extraordinary effort orchestrated by their university, private businesses and government officials across the world. Sixty-four of them arrived at Arizona State University last December—including Oranous Koofi, 25, who escaped Kabul with only her cell phone, and Masooma Ebrahimi, 25, a refugee for the second time in her life.

From Iran, Solidarity With American Women

For almost two weeks, protests have been raging across Iran, triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was in custody of the morality police at the time of her death. Her alleged crime was not abiding by the country’s hijab rules.

Iranian human rights lawyer and long-time friend of Ms. magazine, Nasrin Sotoudeh has spent her career fighting for the rights of women and minorities in the Middle East. In a letter to Ms., Sotoudeh connected what’s happening with Iran to the global fight for women’s rights.

The Desperate Effort to Silence Iranian Feminists

Protests have raging across Iran over the last week after the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman in the custody of the Islamic Republic’s morality police due to her defiance against the strict dress code. The country’s desperate effort to silence Iranian feminists has taken the form of violent responses and crackdowns of both in-person demonstrations and online activism.

‘Dark Prison Mirrors the Dark Future of Afghan Women’: A Firsthand Account of a Former Taliban Prisoner

Since the fall of Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021, Afghan women—many of whom dedicated their lives and careers to working for equality—have experienced a systematic campaign of violence and subjugation. Many took to the streets to protest, and in turn have been beaten, arrested, tortured and murdered. This firsthand account of Mursal Ayar’s life and arrest is a powerful reminder of our common humanity, and the duty we all share to protect the world’s most vulnerable—yet remarkable—activists. 

“After those 13 days, I am like a little girl who is afraid of the night. I sleep next to my mother. The Taliban have not only taken my country from me; they have taken everything from me. My peace, my dreams, my hope and courage. I left the Taliban prison, but I could not regain what I have lost forever.”

Ms. Global: Historic Kenyan Elections; Malaysia Passes Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill; Germany Introduces Self-Determination Act

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.

This week: news from India, Germany, Malaysia, Iran, and more.

‘My Win Is Their Win’: Deqa Dhalac Makes History as Maine’s First Black, Muslim Somali-American Mayor

Thirty years ago, Deqa Dhalac fled her homeland of Somalia, right before the start of a devastating civil war which still lingers on. Last December, she made history when she became America’s first Somali American mayor; South Portland’s 11th woman mayor (the city’s first female mayor was in 1985); and the first African, Muslim, Somali American mayor in Maine and South Portland—a city where 90 percent of the population is white.

“It says a lot when six white Americans support and elect a Black Muslim immigrant to be their mayor,” said Dhalac about other South Portland City Council members.