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This Week in Women’s Rights 2018–01–28


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/01/28

“These days, a popular joke making the rounds in India is that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) loves Muslim women, but not Muslim men.

The joke makes fun of BJP’s attempts to portray its rightwing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a crusader against religious orthodoxy, seeking to liberate Muslim women from the clutches of patriarchy.

The BJP started crafting this narrative in August last year, after India’s Supreme Court banned “triple talaq”, or instant divorce, practised by some in the Muslim community. Four months after the Supreme Court decision, India’s BJP-controlled lower house of parliament passed a bill that seeks to criminalise the practice. If the bill is voted into law, men found guilty of divorcing their wives through “triple talaq” could face jail time of up to three years.”


“SUDBURY — Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes joined the Women’s March in Sudbury on Saturday to add her voice to those calling for a world where women are equal in every way.

Ms. Hughes noted that the Women’s March has taken on international significance since the first one was held in Washington, D.C. last year in response to allegations of sexual misconduct aimed at US President Donald Trump.

“This Women’s March has become one of international significance,” Ms. Hughes told the Recorder last Friday. “We have a long way to go to have equality for women. We’ve made advances but so much more is needed, and we as women are not willing to surrender the gains we’ve made so far. We need to be treated equal too. The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements are a step in the right direction.””


Davos: Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani activist working on gender equality, on Thursday called for teaching boys to be men and said what is needed is to educate young men on the issue of women’s rights.

Speaking in Davos at the World Economic Forum (WEF), the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize said such an education would be a crucial step towards ending gender inequality.

“When we talk about feminism and women’s rights, we’re actually addressing men. Men have a big role to play. We have to teach young boys how to be men. In order to be a man you have to recognise that all women and all those around you have equal rights and that you are part of this movement for equality,” she said.”


“Malala Yousafzai, the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, used the stage at the World Economic Forum on Thursday to send a message to President Donald Trump and other powerful men on the state of gender equality in today’s world.

When asked what her message to “someone like Trump” would be, Yousafzai, the 20-year-old women’s empowerment activist, said she was “so disappointed to see that people in high positions talk about women in unequal terms and do not accept them as equals.”

Responding to another question about Trump’s record on women’s rights and the allegations of harassment and abuse that have been levelled against him, Yousafzai replied that “it is just shocking for a second to believe that this is actually happening … I hope that women stand up and speak out against it.”

Yousafzai first came to international prominence after being shot in the head in 2012 for defying a Taliban ban on girls attending school in her native Pakistan. She has since used her platform to advocate for women and girls and their right to education, especially in parts of the world where access to those basic rights have traditionally been denied to them.”


“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is urging the international community to do more to promote women’s rights and gender equality.

“I’d like to focus tonight on a fundamental shift that every single leader in this room can act on immediately…I’m talking about hiring, promoting and retaining more women,” Trudeau said to loud applause in a speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“And not just because it’s the right thing to do, or the the nice thing to do, but because it’s the smart thing to do.”

He said that would lead to much-needed innovation and change in the workplace.”


“Fifty years ago, it fell to a tobacco manufacturer to pretend to champion women in a bid to sell cigarettes to the distaff gender.

In 1968, Phillip Morris Companies (now known as Altria Group) introduced Virginia Slims cigarettes, which were aimed at young professional women using the now-famous tagline in advertisements.

In fact, women have come a long way as 2018 marches, but that journey has nothing to do with sucking tar and nicotine into lungs.”


“SEATTLE — One of the greatest challenges facing women in much of the world is the gap between their legal rights and their ability as individuals to claim them. National constitutions are increasingly likely to guarantee gender equality, but many also recognize the authority of parallel legal systems based on custom, religion, or ethnic affiliation. And, unfortunately, law in many parts of the world has not kept up with changing times.

Fortunately, international human-rights bodies are taking notice of the gap. In 1999 and 2000, two young Tanzanian tailors, married in their teens and widowed in their twenties with four children between them, were dispossessed of their homes under their ethnic group’s customary laws of inheritance. Those customary laws give male relatives a greater claim to the deceased’s possessions than female members of his family, and typically bar wives altogether and give short shrift to daughters. In both of the Tanzanian cases, local courts ruled that the property the woman had shared with her husband, including items that had been purchased with proceeds from her labor, should go to her brother-in-law.

The young widowed tailors were left homeless with their children, but they refused to accept their dispossession. With the help of Tanzania’s Women’s Legal Aid Center and Georgetown University’s International Women’s Human Rights Clinic — which I previously directed — they challenged the decision in the High Court of Tanzania. In 2006, the High Court concluded that customary laws on inheritance were “discriminatory in more ways than one,” but it refused to overturn them. The court likened doing so to “opening a Pandora’s box, with all the seemingly discriminative customs from our 120 tribes” vulnerable to legal challenge.”


“Sometimes I forget that there are people in this world who still think that things were better before Women’s Suffrage, but then I go on the internet and someone reminds me. This time it was Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Missouri, Courtland Sykes. But these tweets about Courtland Sykes’ sexist comments make it a little better.

On Wednesday, Jan. 23, Sykes, in response to people asking what his views are on women’s rights, decided to post an image to his very own verified Facebook page with his answer (by the looks of it that text will soon appear on his campaign website).

So does Sykes favor women’s rights? I would have to say it’s a negative on that.”



In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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