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This Week in Women’s Rights 2018–02–25


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/02/25

““The global gender gap which is published annually by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which is the index that gets Iceland in the first place, is based on 4 pillars: economy, education, politics and health. It’s the political area that gets Iceland to the first place. The situation in Iceland can be explained by many things. One of them is the long tradition of women in paid work in Iceland. We’ve had a high proportion of women in the labour force for a very long time. Another part is the very strong women’s movement, from the beginning of the 20th century.

And the third thing is the composition of the pillar, the WEF index. Iceland scores higher in politics, it’s number one in politics and mainly because of the way the pillar is constructed. It’s composed of 4 sub indexes and one of them is the number of years, the last 50 years that the country has had a female head of State. And in that respect, the presidential period of of Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, from 1980 to 1996; and also we had a female prime minister from 2009 to 2013, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir. This contributes heavily to Iceland’s top seat on the list.

But in the elections in october 2017, the proportion of women dropped dramatically from 48 to 38. and it remains to be seen how that affects Iceland’s and if it affects position on the list and how much.””


““Denial of abortion and criminalisation of abortion amounts to discrimination against women because it is a denial of a service that only women need. And it puts women in horrific situations,” the committee’s vice-chairwoman, Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, said in a statement.

“The situation in Northern Ireland constitutes violence against women that may amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment,” she said.

In a response to the report, the United Kingdom government said it did not accept women in Northern Ireland had been subject to grave and systematic violations of their rights.”


“ The US State Department will cut sections dealing with women’s reproductive rights and some types of discrimination, such as against LGBT people, in its annual human rights report, a department spokesperson said today.

This action unsurprisingly reflects the Trump administration’s approach to women’s rights — to health, bodily integrity, and to control when they have children — as being disposable. It already signed the expanded and harmful “global gag rule,” which prohibits US funding of nongovernmental organizations providing access to family planning if they provide or refer people for abortions and has made it more difficult for women and girls to access contraception in the US.

But the Trump administration cannot rewrite international law. Women’s reproductive rights are recognized human rights. The experiences of women and girls who have been denied these rights are egregious and often heartbreaking. The United Nations Committee Against Torture has found denial of a woman’s reproductive rights as tantamount to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. Access to contraception and safe abortion are critical to help prevent the estimated 800 maternal deaths that occur each day globally.”


“The head of a leading women’s rights movement has called for an independent investigation into what she calls pervasive bullying and sexism within a UN agency, alleging that she was harassed and sexually assaulted while working for the organisation.

Malayah Harper, now general secretary of the World YWCA, one of the world’s oldest women’s rights organisations, said the agency UNAids must urgently review how sexual harassment allegations are handled.

Her call for an inquiry is supported by testimonies from six current or former UNAids employees. The women, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described a culture where senior male staff offer career progression in exchange for sexual relationships, and harass women with seeming impunity. “It’s a boys’ club environment,” said one employee. “They just see it as almost part of their due.””


“The most knee-jerk, crowd-pleasing way is to profess shock at another country’s cultural customs, and malign them as disrespectful to women.

This is the tack we’ve seen taken this week, after a diplomatic fumble was highlighted by Labour MP Kieran McAnulty and seized upon by National Party leadership hopeful Judith Collins.

Earlier this week, Labour MP Jo Luxton was given advice not to shake hands with men in an Iranian delegation.”


“MILAN — Laura Boldrini didn’t worry much about the death threats until she received a bullet in the mail.

Boldrini, who is the speaker of the Italian Parliament and the country’s highest-ranking woman politician, gets a level of harassment that even her critics say is extreme — and even by Italian standards. Many of them are sexist and threatening comments on Facebook, but they’ve been so relentless since she took office in 2013 that she began posting the names of her harassers on her own page. “Death to Boldrini” has been scrawled on city walls across Italy, and she is closely guarded by a heavy security detail.

Boldrini lives in Rome but is now campaigning ahead of the elections on March 4 for a parliamentary seat in Milan, where she stays in a nondescript house on a graffiti-lined street; its exact location is a carefully guarded secret. This election has been one of the most tumultuous in recent history: A group of immigrants was shot at by a white nationalist, there have been attacks on fascist parties and left-wing groups, and anti-fascist protesters have clashed with police in violent demonstrations.”


“PETALING JAYA — The lack of political will is to blame for the country’s 12-year lag in women’s rights progress, said a coalition of 37 civil societies after what it deemed a dismal showing by Putrajaya in a review in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday (Feb 20).

The coalition had congratulated the government for facing the United Nations’ Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw) committee, but were disappointed over the delegation’s vague answers on many key human rights issues.

“Malaysia’s twelve-year delay in submitting its report to the Cedaw Committee reflects a lack of political will, which remains the great stumbling block in advancing gender equality in the country,” it said in a statement.”


“The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women is meeting in Geneva from this week until 9 March to conduct the review

Other countries being reviewed are Malaysia, Chile, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Suriname, and Luxembourg.

The countries have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and are reviewed regularly by the Committee on how they are implementing the Convention.

The Committee, which is composed of 23 international independent experts on women’s rights, will hold dialogues with delegations from the respective governments and will also be briefed by NGOs and national human rights institutions.”


“State Department officials have been ordered to pare back passages in a soon-to-be-released annual report on global human rights that traditionally discuss women’s reproductive rights and discrimination, according to five former and current department officials.

The directive calls for stripping passages that describe societal views on family planning, including how much access women have to contraceptives and abortion.

A broader section that chronicles racial, ethnic and sexual discrimination has also been ordered pared down, the current and former officials said.”



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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