The Week in Women

Horror in Afghanistan.

Scenes from another life: Copenhagen, May 2016.

Hello, readers, and welcome to The Week in Women, a roundup of women’s rights news from around the world, followed by links to a few good features, longform pieces, podcasts, and radio stories in the universe of gender equality, international human rights, politics, and whatever else is interesting on the internet.

Enjoy, subscribe (or upgrade your subscription!), and share.

What to Know

In a truly awful piece of news, schoolgirls in Kabul were targeted in a terrorist attack on Saturday which killed more than 85 people, most of them children under 18. It was the latest in a series of gender-based attacks in Afghanistan, as reactionary religious misogynists try to extract a heavy price from anyone who believes girls and women have basic rights to movement, education, employment, or any semblance of independence. These attacks should shame not just the religious woman-hating zealots of ISIS and the Taliban, but the United States as well. After all, we told Afghan women and girls that if they stood up, we would stand with them. And while pulling out of the country may be the right thing to do, it’s unforgivable that we are abandoning the women and girls who relied on our promises, took huge risks, and are now left facing horrible consequences.

Relatedly, a newly declassified US intelligence report says that Afghan women’s rights are at risk under a resurgent Taliban.

In Kenya, the first female chief justice is set to be appointed to the bench.

All across America, Republicans are using state legislatures to curtail women’s rights.

In much of China, the government is pushing women to have more children. In Xinjiang, it’s the opposite — the government is forcing women to limit pregnancies and births. Worth emphasizing here that you really can’t separate these two dynamics: Reproductive coercion, whether that’s using the law to prevent women from having children or using it to force them to, is a human rights abuse.

Ecuador recently decriminalized abortion for rape survivors. But speaking of using the power of the state to commit misogynist abuse, the procedure is still broadly illegal for the vast majority of Ecuadorian women.

More than a century ago, American feminists wanted Women’s Independence Day. Instead, they got Mother’s Day, and we’re still not honoring their vision. (Their vision: A full slate of rights, not cards and flowers).

European leaders are gathered in Porto this week for a summit on social issues in the EU. Conservative and mostly Catholic nations Poland and Hungary have blocked gender equality from being up for discussion.

A proposed change to Greece’s child custody laws could put domestic violence survivors at risk.


Uganda is moving backwards on women’s rights. This article doesn’t get into it, but American Evangelicals are hugely influential in Uganda (remember the Kill the Gays bill?), and I suspect that this rash of sexist and anti-trans laws may come in part thanks to right-wing American influence.

Beware Saudi “fashion-washing”: PR attempts to make the violently misogynist kingdom look open and egalitarian, while smuggling in some pretty regressive ideas about how women are allowed to present.

French feminists are demanding an end to femicides, and a government that acts to protect women from abusive and murderous men.

In a Taiwanese-owned clothing warehouse in Lesotho, sexual and physical abuse is reportedly rampant. And if you buy Fabletics clothing, you may be paying the men doing it.

The black market economy of selling women for domestic labor on Instagram.

German priests are blessing same-sex unions, in defiance of “progressive” Pope Francis.

What to Read

Why Can’t I Stop Thinking About Child-Free Women? On my fourth Mother’s Day, I find myself more drawn than ever to women who decided against having children. [Elle]

Nicola Sturgeon Faces Scotland’s Feminist Schism [The Atlantic]

Paris Teenager’s New Gig: Would-Be Queen of Italy. A Nation Shrugs. [The New York Times]

It’s not a labor shortage. It’s a great reassessment of work in America. [The Washington Post]

As landlords and tenants go broke across the U.S., the next crisis point of the pandemic approaches [The Washington Post]

Take a Break

and check out the women of Hertopia.

…and that’s it! As always, please feel free to share widely. And if you want to support feminist-minded writing, reporting, and analysis, consider upgrading to a paid subscription.

xx Jill