By unanimous vote, the Court ruled unconstitutional the criminalization of abortion in the northern state of Coahuila, where violators faced up to three years of incarceration for undergoing a voluntary abortion.
The decision paves the way for the rollback of anti-abortion laws in all 31 states plus Mexico City and the immediate release of women currently incarcerated for having had an abortion.
Women’s and reproductive rights activists have long battled a powerful—but waning—anti-choice movement in the country, comprised of not only the Catholic Church but international anti-abortion organizations.
The International Situation of Afghan Asylum-Seekers
The pullout of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the subsequent collapse of the Afghan government has generated a wave of Afghan people fleeing incoming Taliban rule. With the Taliban committed to governing according to fundamentalist interpretations of Islamic law, concerns are particularly heightened for women, ethnic and religious minorities, LGBTQ+ people, journalists, and those who supported the fight against the Taliban. Abroad, governments have debated whether and to what degree to accept asylum-seekers, with many seeking to either offshore asylum processing or contain refugees to the immediate region of southwest and Central Asia. For refugees who do make it out, the intensification of anti-immigrant sentiment across the world’s regions in recent years—including the increasing political power of far-right nativist movements—has created new threats for asylum-seekers in their destination countries.
While politicians and analysts around the world bicker over responsibility and blame, Afghans scramble to exit before the full weight of the new Taliban regime comes down. Here is a collection of reporting on the conditions in Afghanistan for those needing refuge, which countries are offering haven, and reactions from the Afghan diaspora.
Azerbaijan capital hosts virtual festivals showcasing LGBTQ+ artists and filmmakers
The two-week Queer Art Festival brought together local artists over the theme “Queer x Azerbaijan – My Body, My Identity, My Heritage,” exploring queer and feminist issues in a landscape historically inhospitable to both.
In-Visible presents international queer films and educational workshops organized by Salaam Cinema, an independent cultural space in Baku and community for Azerbaijani artists and filmmakers.
Locked out of the government-funded arts system, queer artists in Azerbaijan depend on a network of activist organizations as well as the support of international organizations and foreign embassies.
Sex workers protest social restrictions and police violence in Malawi capital
The Female Sex Worker Association (FSWA) took to the streets of Lilongwe, petitioning the government to address police brutality and the economic effects of new COVID prevention measures.
Protesters claim police have targeted sex workers in the wake of new restrictions on nightlife and socializing, showing up at their homes and physically assaulting them.
As COVID cases and deaths in the country have spiked in the new year, the FSWA has argued that the unequal treatment of social activities has endangered their already fragile livelihoods and access to critical health resources.
Millions form “women’s wall” for gender equality across Kerala
Organizers reported that some five million participants turned out to form a 385-mile chain across the southwest Indian state of Kerala, stretching from Kasaragod in the north to Thiruvanthapuram in the south.
Although the demonstration was broadly framed as promoting gender equality, it emerged following protests targeting women who attempt to enter the Sabarimala temple, a Hindu shrine that has historically banned women of “menstruating age” (defined as between the ages of 10 and 50).
The ban was formally struck down in September 2018 by the Supreme Court after having been enforced judicially since 1991, but protesters have continued to prevent women from entering.
Israel denies Palestinians with cancer access to treatment as medication dwindles
The Israeli government has indicated that six Gazan women suffering from cancer can travel to the West Bank (despite its lack of treatment capability) or abroad for treatment.
The women had previously been denied exit from the Gaza Strip because they are related to members of Hamas—a common punishment disproportionately burdening women—and continue to be denied permit to travel to East Jerusalem, where Palestinian hospitals are located.
The Gaza Health Ministry also announced the termination of its chemotherapy treatments in Gaza hospitals due to depletion of medical supplies, which cannot be replenished due to the recent tightening of the Israeli military blockade.
Medical university in Tokyo found to have altered women candidates’ scores on entrance exam
A probe found that Tokyo Medical University, one of Japan’s most prestigious medical schools, systematically boosted male applicants’ scores while cutting female applicants’ in an effort to reduce women’s admission to the school.
Investigators discovered that scores on the exam had been affected for at least a decade, driven by admissions officers’ belief that parental obligations would interfere with women’s commitment to the profession.
The discovery was found amidst a broader investigation into corruption involving the alleged admission of a government official’s child in exchange for subsidies.
African migrant workers violently attacked, one deported in Lebanon
A crowd of people beat and dragged two migrant workers in Bourj Hammoud, a suburb of Beirut.
The police arrested the two women along with two of the attackers, and one of the women was reportedly deported back to Kenya on an alleged visa violation.
Progressive advocates condemned the treatment of the women by both the mob and the justice system, arguing it reflects broader abuse of the some 200,000 migrant workers in Lebanon including wage withholding and limited access to justice.
Denmark bans face veils as anti-Muslim sentiment increases
The Danish Parliament passed legislation effectively banning burqas and niqabs, imposing up to a 10,000 kroner fine on anyone found in repeated violation.
Just over three dozen people are thought to be currently affected by the legislation, prompting Muslims and advocates to argue the bill’s greater purpose is to stir Islamophobic attitudes.
The ban comes amidst a wave of anti-Muslim remarks and proposals, including the Immigration Minister’s touting of falling Muslim citizenship approval numbers, a 50,000-signature petition to ban the circumcision of boys, and calls for the closing of Muslim schools.
Voters overwhelmingly chose to end the country’s constitutional ban on abortion, which had no exceptions for rape, incest, or fetal abnormality.
The #RepealThe8th campaign challenged the constitutional amendment endowing the unborn with legal rights (ratified following a 1983 referendum), arguing that abortion has already been a reality in Ireland given its proximity to the U.K. and that access to safe treatment is a public health issue.
Lawmakers will now introduce a bill to legalize the repeal officially, which is expected to be passed in the fall.
A relatively stable constitutional democracy, Ghana has seen the beginnings of official outreach to its LGBT citizens in recent years as it has signed on to pro-LGBT international accords and treaties, but new research from Human Rights Watch (HRW) reveals ongoing persecution and gender-based vulnerabilities. Though rarely enforced, a law criminalizing same-sex relations that emerged from the country’s colonial legacy has led to the political and corporal endangerment of LGBT Ghanaians, exposing them to intimidation, violence, fears of public exposure, and little to no recourse to law enforcement protection. Lesbians, bisexual women, and trans men have faced especially high levels of violence and labor precarity, and anti–domestic violence laws have done little to protect them given the lack of trust in the legal system. In response, HRW conducted interviews with LGBT Ghanaians to track insecurity across a range of social, legal, and economic domains and issued a set of recommendations to improve protections for the community.
The current global push for the redress of epidemic violence against women—from #NiUnaMenos to #MeToo—has long been of national concern in Brazil, with women sharing stories of sexual assault via #MeuPrimeiroAssedio (#MyFirstHarassment) and demonstrations for reproductive rights having sought to counter entrenched conservative religious interests. For Afro-Brazilian women, this is part of decades of mobilization that has attempted to draw attention to both material and ideological disparities threatening their security. High homicide and sexual violence rates, reproductive healthcare limitations, anti-black beauty standards, and lack of positive cultural representation have led activists to demand attention to institutions and cultural practices that they argue have marginalized their welfare. From mass demonstrations to digital organizing, black women have taken the lead in movements for both racial and gender justice, challenging Brazil’s deeply embedded ideology of colorblindness and calling instead for more research into and accountability for persistent economic and cultural disparities.
Each year, hundreds of lawsuits against agencies and individuals associated with housing management in the U.S. are filed, the tip of the iceberg of rampant sexual misconduct and abuse disrupting housing security for poor and low-income women. Landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, security officers, and housing program managers have demanded sexual favors from tenant women in exchange for continued residence or program coverage, including qualification for Section 8 housing. A combination of an affordable housing crunch, long wait times for housing program intake, the threat of homelessness via retaliation, and the consequences of eviction on future housing access have left many women vulnerable to sexual exploitation and many men engaging in coercion with impunity.
While the lack of robust national studies and uneven state reporting practices on sexual harassment in housing have long obscured the problem, legislators have introduced House and Senate versions of a bill to amend the Fair Housing Act with explicit anti-harassment language and federal agencies have announced steps to target exploitation, including piloting an initiative to identify reporting barriers. Similarly, advocates have begun building consciousness amidst the burgeoning national conversation on gender-based sexual misconduct driven by the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.