This March 8, Women’s Day, there will be no mass demonstrations around the world, there will be no shouts of celebration for the progress made or of protest for all that remains to be done. The pandemic has occupied almost every space in our lives, and has brought more unemployment and often more family burdens for women. But there have also been important advances in representation and rights. Here are eight of them.
On November 3, Americans elected, for the first time in the history of the country, a woman as vice president. Kamala Harris, a biracial of Jamaican and Indian descent, has also become the first Indian-American person to hold the position. For his part, her husband is America’s first “second gentleman”.RELATED
This is not the first time that Harris has broken the so-called “glass ceiling.” She was the first woman elected as attorney general for the state of California and the second black senator in the entire history of the country. Although not all are praise for the figure of Harris, there is no denying the progress it represents for the representation of women in the United States. A decade ago Michelle Obama was caricatured as “an angry black woman” and Hillary Clinton struggled to soften her image. Now, a woman described as “combative” has arrived at the most powerful office in the world.
Last December 30 Argentina lived a historic day with the legalization of abortion. The law of the Legal Interruption of Pregnancy (ILE) has decriminalized and legalized abortion in the first 14 weeks of gestation, after a fight that began almost 50 years ago.
The secrecy into which the women were forced put their lives at serious risk. The organization Red de Acceso al Aborto Seguro (REDAAS) estimated that in Argentina between 370,000 and 520,000 clandestine abortions are performed per year.
It was not the first time that the legalization of abortion reached Congress. The last time was in 2018, when it was approved by the Chamber of Deputies but not by the Senate. This time, Argentina changed the images of women crying for the shouts of victory.
Argentina has become part of the list of six Latin American countries where the voluntary interruption of pregnancy is legal. Chile hopes to be able to follow in their footsteps during 2021. For now, it has already announced that the new Constitution will be drawn up by a joint body.
Last November Scotland became the first region in the world to provide free and universal access to menstruation products. The Products of the Period (free supply) Act, approved unanimously, imposes a legal obligation on local authorities to make menstruation products available to all who need them.
Nearly one in five women has suffered from menstrual poverty in Scotland, according to previous research, with its consequent impact on their hygiene, health and well-being. On average, women spend 14.5 euros per month on average in sanitary products.
In addition to a legislative breakthrough, the four-year campaign that led to the passage of this law has also changed the public discourse around this issue. The Scottish Parliament debated menstruation, menopause or endometriosis, something unthinkable a few years ago.
A few months earlier, in June, New Zealand had approved a pilot program to provide free intimate hygiene products in 15 schools to tackle “menstrual poverty”. According to Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern, “Nearly 95,000 girls between the ages of nine and 18 can stay home during their periods because they cannot afford menstrual products.” This January, the New Zealand government announced that the measure will be extended to schools in New Zealand. the whole country.
The Government of Sudan outlawed female genital mutilation in the country, condemning the practice with three years in prison and the withdrawal of the license of the hospital, health center or private clinic where it was carried out.
86.6% of Sudanese women between the ages of 14 and 49 have suffered some form of genital mutilation, according to a 2014 survey by Unicef.
The law also recognized the right of women to accompany their children when they travel outside the country. This new legislation is part of the reforms in the country since the democratic transition began in 2019, after 30 years of the Omar Al-Bashir regime.
A few weeks ago, Ngozi Okonjo became the first woman and the first African person to hold the post of Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Nigerian economist was previously Minister of Economy in her country, where she had to face a debt of 30,000 million dollars.
Okonjo was also president of Gavi, the Vaccination Alliance, which coordinates the annual immunization of millions of children, and CEO of the World Bank, where she oversaw $ 81 billion worth of operations.
As president of the WTO, she is in charge of an institution with a budget of $ 220 million and a staff of 650 people. The organization is going through a difficult time between the growing protectionism that the pandemic has generated, the criticism of the United States for not taking action against China’s commercial practices and the protests of the countries of the South that, according to them, benefit the states more rich.
In 2015, Sierra Leone banned “visibly pregnant” girls from attending class with their classmates because, in the words of then-Minister of Education Minkailu Bah, they were “a bad influence” on others. Five years later, in March 2020, the government lifted the ban for both young pregnant women and teenage mothers.
“The Government is committed to an accessible and quality education”, He said the Ministry of Education in a statement. The Government of Julius Maada Bio, president since 2018, marks the distance with his predecessor and is committed to a “radical inclusion” so that all children “have the opportunity to learn and prosper.”
The Dominican Republic legally prohibited child marriage last December, previously allowed since the age of 15. It is now necessary for both parties to be 18 years old to be able to marry. The law was approved in the Chamber of Deputies unanimously and its violation will be punished with the imposition of a prison sentence of two to five years and fines of 8,620 to 17,240 dollars, in addition to the annulment of the marriage.
“It is a conquest of many, but especially of our girls,” wrote on Twitter the senator of the Modern Revolutionary Party Faride Raful.
The Caribbean country has one of the highest rates in Latin America for child marriages and early unions. According to official data, 36% of Dominican girls and adolescents marry or mate before the age of 18.
After 119 years of history, for the first time the Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to two women: Dr. Jennifer Doudna, a biochemist at UC Berkeley, and French researcher Emmanuelle Charpentier, from the Max Planck Institute. They are only the sixth and seventh women to obtain this recognition.
The two scientists were awarded for developing the CRISPR-Cas9 genetic scissors, a technology that can rewrite DNA in the cells of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision. This innovation is contributing to cancer therapies and may help cure inherited diseases.
“It’s great for young women to be able to see this and see that women’s work can be recognized the same as men’s,” said Doudna.