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.
“Women form a fortress against gender inequality” (The Hindu | January 2019)
“Millions Of Women Formed A 385-Mile-Long “Women’s Wall” To Protest Gender Inequality” (BuzzFeed News | January 2019)
“Sabarimala temple: Indian women form ‘620km human chain’ for equality” (BBC News | January 2019)
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.
“Israel Proposes Gaza Cancer Patients Be Treated in West Bank, Where Treatment Is Unavailable” (Haaretz | August 2018)
“Roundup: Gaza suffers escalating medicine, humanitarian goods shortage by Israeli blockade” (Xinhua News Agency | August 2018)
“Many Gazan Women Are No Longer Able to Enter Israel for Cancer Treatment” (The New Yorker | June 2018)
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.
“Tokyo Medical University admits subtracting points from repeat male applicants’ scores and boosting others to secure donations” (The Japan Times | August 2018)
“‘Makes me shake with rage’ – Japan probe shows university cut women’s test scores” (Reuters | August 2018)
“‘Betrayed’: victims of Tokyo medical school scandal speak out” (The Guardian | August 2018)
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.
“Lebanese activists angry after assaulted Kenyan is deported” (The Guardian | July 2018)
“Kenyan woman beaten in viral video deported” (The Daily Star | July 2018)
“Assaulted, imprisoned, deported: Shamila’s story – an all-too-familiar violent narrative facing migrant women in Lebanon” (The Anti-Racism Movement, commentary | July 2018)
Saudi flight academy opens applications to women as mobility restrictions lifted
- Oxford Aviation Academy has received hundreds of applications from women at its flight school branch in Dammam.
- The change comes as the government has lifted a decades-old ban that prohibited women from driving or traveling without permission.
- Despite the legal relaxations, women still face a number of mobility obstacles, including many derived from the country’s guardianship laws.
“Saudi aviation academy to train first women pilots” (Reuters | July 2018)
“The ban on Saudi women driving is ending: Here’s what you need to know” (CNN | June 2018)
“How Guardianship Laws Still Control Saudi Women” (The New York Times | June 2018)
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.
“Danish parliament bans the wearing of face veils in public” (Reuters | May 2018)
“Denmark swings right on immigration – and Muslims feel besieged” (The Guardian | June 2018)
“Unsurprising that stricter Danish rules give fewer Muslims citizenship: immigration minister” (The Local | May 2018)
Irish voters elect to overturn abortion ban
- 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.
“Abortion referendum count: ‘quiet revolution’ as Yes set for landslide win” (The Irish Times | May 2018)
“Irish abortion referendum: Exit polls suggest landslide for repeal” (BBC News | May 2018)
“Ireland ends abortion ban as ‘quiet revolution’ transforms country” (Reuters | May 2018)