All posts filed under: Economics & Politics

Removing Barriers to the Fulfilment of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

During this year’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), I had the privilege of attending an event on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) promoted by EngenderHealth. The 2017 theme for the CSW was “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work”. It may seem as though the topic of sexual and reproductive health and rights does not fit into this theme, but in fact there is a strong link between economic empowerment and sexual and reproductive rights. For women to truly be able to enjoy economic empowerment and equality with men in the workforce and elsewhere, they need to be given the information they need to make decisions about their bodies and reproductive choices. Unplanned pregnancies during adolescence, contracting an STI, HIV/AIDS, and having to deal with the complications of childbirth are all examples of situations that put women at a disadvantage to men economically and in the workforce. With the proper knowledge and access to services, women, starting at a young age, can be empowered to take charge of their bodies …

Does International Women’s Day Deserve to be an Official Ukrainian Holiday?

8th March, for most in the world, marks an average day.  International Women’s Day (IWD) is often acknowledged but not truly celebrated. It’s mentioned on the news or acknowledged by a local women’s non-governmental organizations, but it could easily be missed if you’re not looking for it. In Ukraine, as well as many other countries of the former USSR, International Women’s Day is widely celebrated. From little girls to older ladies, each and every woman is given flowers and cards to celebrate. But in the months leading up to the 2017 celebration of IWD, public opinion and debate have shifted. The Ukrainian Institute of National Memory published a bill which proposed the removal of International Workers’ Day (May 1-2) as well as International Women’s Day (March 8) from the list of official state holidays. To understand why anyone would propose the removal of IDW, you must first understand the history. The holiday first appeared in the United States and was organized by the Socialist Party of America to commemorate the strike of the International Ladies Garment Workers. On 22 November …

The Young Women of the Ukrainian Government

The Ukrainian Revolution of 2014, also known as the Euromaidan Revolution, induced a widespread series of changes to the sociopolitical systems of Ukraine. This self-organized revolution was focused on ensuring closer ties to the European Union while also working to dispel corruption within Ukraine, starting with the removal and exiling of Ukraine’s president at the time, Viktor Yanukovych. One of the most significant changes was the installation of a new government filled a great number of inexperienced and idealistic youth. But as time progressed it became clear that the criticism faced by these young politicians and bureaucrats has fallen mainly on the women holding these positions of power. The question for Ukraine is how it will handle the upheaval of its traditionally male-dominated political landscape? In Mid-November 2016, 24-year old Anastasia Deeva was appointed to the position of Deputy Minister of the Interior, becoming the youngest person to hold a post of a Deputy Minister in Ukraine. The decision by Arsen Avakov, Minister of Interior, to appoint the young 24-year old to such a high level …

Standing Up for Girls in the Time of Trump

Trump is threatening the rights and well-being of adolescent girls domestically and globally, especially those whose skin color, religion and country of origin do not meet his approval. The person holding the most powerful and prestigious office in one of the most influential global nations is a sex offender who fetishes his daughter, believes “putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing” and views girls and women as a sum of their sexual parts. He is now turning this disgusting misogyny and racism, xenophobia and many other forms of hate, into policy. My work as an advocate for girls just got a lot harder. My work, like all work, begins at home. I visibly resist hate for and with my own daughters, two immigrants of color who are growing up in a time when integral parts of their identity are being challenged. They, and all girls in my life, must see me modeling contested truths: black lives matter, native lives matter and refugee lives matter; women’s rights are human rights; no human being …

The Women Marched. Now What?

London. Miami. Nairobi. New York. Tokyo. All over the world, women (and men!) took over the streets of their cities to join in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, which took place on the day after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. 21 January 2017 It was a day when history was made. My social media and news feeds were flooded with articles, pictures, videos and comments about the women’s marches around the world. It’s impressive the reach that these marches had – literally on every continent – and I truly believe this fact cannot be belittled or ignored. The marches brought together people from different age groups and backgrounds, although the fact remains that some indigenous, women of color and other minorities felt left out and divided from the white majority that attended the marches. Important issues of the intersection between gender, race, class and religion were brought up during the marches, which amplifies their significance and relevance. However, for the goals of the marches to become reality and …

This is What Democracy Looks Like

I started the morning bright and early at 6:40 and headed to Washington D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington. The metro was packed with chatty passengers wearing pink hats, carrying signs and snapping pictures. Every time a new group of riders boarded the train erupted with cheering. The excitement was contagious, and we all cheered and clapped are way to D.C. They called it the Women’s March but it was evident that it was everyone’s march. We were all there, and everyone had a message to deliver, whether through song, chant, cheer or shouting. And we delivered those messages – with Love, Faith and Courage. Some called themselves Nasty Women, nasty like Rosa, Condoleezza, Sonia, Malala, Michelle and Hillary, while others simply stated they were PISSED OFF. Regardless of the countless voices that were represented in Washington D.C. on January 21, 2017 we all stood together for equality. So if you ask me what Democracy looks like, this is it – An inclusive, reflective representation of all kinds of voices and stories.    

A Vote Against Self-Interest: Trump and Internalized Misogyny

Written by: Cesar Lopez “Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.” — Margaret Sanger In the aftermath of a turbulent and anxiety-filled election season, many of us are left to ponder, how and why did the United States elect Trump as president? This is especially puzzling, considering a major portion of Trump’s voter turnout were women. Although race and class are all specific categories which differentiate who voted for who, the fact remains, a significant portion of women casted their ballots for Trump. A man who on numerous occasions has: Tied women’s worth to their desirability and appearance, Criticized women for having a voice, Freely objectified women in public forums and Fat shamed and belittled women’s bodies, to name a few. So, why did such a large number of women vote for what seems to be blatantly against their own self-interest? What’s at work? While many of us are familiar …

Being a Woman and an Entrepreneur in Malawi

By Mayamiko Chiwaya, Student Driven Solutions graduate, age 16 Starting a business in Malawi is not an easy thing. Most people think that once you come up with a business idea you can implement it right away, which is not always true. To start a business requires hard work and dedication. In this edition, I will share with you the challenges women and girls encounter while striving to start small businesses in Malawi. According to my investigations, the first challenge that women and girls in Malawi often meet is lack of recognition. Women and girls are not recognized as people who can develop Malawi as a country through business. It’s for this reason that they often fail to start small businesses because they are not given the chance. For example, in most banks in Malawi, women are given smaller loans than men. Pamela Banda, age 18, a successful young lady operating a shop selling fashion items once experienced this challenge when getting a loan from the bank, but still managed to get a small loan from …

10-Year-Old Girls are the Future of the World

According to the latest State of World Population by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), girls at the decisive age of 10 are the future of the world. At this age, girls are moving away from the world of childhood towards the world of adolescence and adulthood. In this season of life, it’s essential that girls be presented with opportunities, encouraged to dream big, given tools to pursue those dreams, and have access to education and health care. For many girls around the world, this phase of life is when they begin to face the reality of limited choices in life compared to boys and when they become more vulnerable to discrimination and gender violence. This reality needs to be changed, not only for the good of these girls, but also for the good of their societies and the world as a whole. Here are 4 reasons why investing in 10-year-old girls is good for the world: 1) Access to education is not only a human right, but it’s essential to helping girls achieve their full potential. …