Skip to content

This Week in Women’s Rights 2018–05–06


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/05/06

“During an era of rebels and revolutionaries, Cuban-born artist Ana Mendieta(1948–1985) was a singular figure carving her own path, fearlessly speaking truth to power about subjects like campus rape and domestic violence at a time when these conversations were still taboo.

Hailing from a prominent political family in Havana, Mendieta and her older sister Raquelin were sent to America in 1961 after Fidel Castro came to power. At just 12 and 14 years old, the sisters were on their own until their mother and younger brother arrived in the US five years later. Their father, who was jailed for 18 years in the wake of the Bay of Pigs revolt, was finally reunited with his family in 1979.

Through her art, Mendieta transformed fear, pain, and rage into powerful and provocative meditations on gender, identity, assault, death, place, and belonging. Using her body as a vessel of flesh, bone, and blood, she immersed herself in performance art, body art, and land art to create raw, visceral work that channeled the rituals of her native land and questioned society’s treatment of women.”


“Advancing women’s rights is one of the biggest and most critical challenges in efforts to end poverty in all its form everywhere. Women are disproportionately impacted by poverty and are often restricted in accessing the economic resources, education and training, and land and property rights that could help them break the cycle of poverty.

In many places, women’s rights continue to be curtailed by gender-based discrimination, and women face higher rates of violence and risk of trafficking and sexual exploitation. Globally, millions of young girls each year still undergo the harmful practice of female genital mutilation and thousands of woman die every day due to lack of adequate health care and as a result of pregnancy and childbirth.

The benefits of investing in and empowering women are huge: When more women work, economies grow. They invest their household incomes in ways that benefit children. Child mortality rates decrease when women have more education, and involving women in peace processes leads to more stable and secure societies.”


““Years ago, this was taboo. If I had even said ‘Here I am trying to interpret the Quran,’ people would have come after me with swords.”

These were the words of Zeba Khair, standing counsel for Delhi High Court and counsel at Jamia Millia Islamia-Central University in New Delhi. On Thursday, the UW Women’s Center hosted Khair on campus.

Khair sought to shed light on the legal challenges Muslim women face in India today, and she spoke about the complex social structures in her country that, when left unaddressed, tend to place women at the bottom of a social hierarchy.

The talk was the third of a speaker series organized by the UW Women’s Center, titled “Breaking the Silence” hosted in collaboration with the Seattle Human Services Department.”



When a Pakistani celebrity singer used the hashtag #MeToo last month to accuse a male colleague of sexual harassment, it shook the country’s entertainment industry.

“Sharing this because I believe that by speaking out about my own experience of sexual harassment, I will break the culture of silence that permeates through our society,” Meesha Shafi wrote on her Twitter feed.

Shafi was not the first woman in Pakistan to use the hashtag or share her story. The #MeToo movement that started in the United States about 10 years ago and gathered steam after powerful women in Hollywood picked it up in 2017, had touched Pakistan already, but mostly on social media and primarily with women sharing their experiences without naming names.”


“OTTAWA — Rachael Harder took it as a personal insult.

“Women and girls from across this country had a prime minister stand up and say, ‘As the prime minister of Canada, it is up to me to dictate whether or not you hold the right beliefs,” said the Conservative MP for Lethbridge, Alta.

“What prevents him from saying that to any one of the women in this room?”

She was speaking to a crowd of Ottawa-area Conservatives gathered at a pub overlooking the Rideau River one weeknight last month, refering to the time last fall when Liberal MPs on the House of Commons status of women committee decided to block her nomination as chair over her views on abortion.”


“ This year marks the centenary of Canadian women (though not all) receiving the right to vote in federal elections — but this is not the 100 years referenced in One Hundred Years of Struggle. Instead, Joan Sangster’s thorough, critical history looks at women’s suffrage in Canada from the 1850s — when black newspaper editor Mary Ann Shadd Cary published editorials advocating women’s rights — to Canada granting enfranchisement to status Indians in 1960. There are two challenges to writing this story. During this period, Canadian suffrage movements were highly regionalized. Then as now, Canadian feminists came to the cause from differing backgrounds of race, class, religion and political ideology. It made for strange allies. Sangster tells these divergent stories without losing the larger plot, with particular attention to class and race dimensions. This is the first book in a series from UBC Press on women’s suffrage and the vote in Canada. Later books will each take on a particular focus — on Indigenous women’s rights, for example.”


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.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: