It’s a new year, and women are taking the world stage by storm. We’ve collected some of the most interesting and important stories around the web this month, from how women are using new approaches in standing up for progress, to underreported issues that affect their lives in serious ways.
Starting off 2019 with a show of strength in numbers, between 3.5 and 5 million women in the Indian state of Kerala joined hands to create a human wall of solidarity on January 1. The demonstration was aimed at creating awareness of gender equality and to protest a religious ban that prevented women of menstruating age from entering one of the country’s sacred Hindu temples.
It is now well understood that investing in women is one of the most meaningful ways to lift up entire communities. With the proper resources and opportunities, women not only support the economy through their direct participation it, they also tend to pay their good fortune forward.
“The opening day of the 116th Congress was heavy with symbolism, underscoring women’s historic gains in power as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) retook the speaker’s gavel, and more than 100 women were sworn in on the floor of the House. The day served as a powerful reminder of the shifting gender dynamics of the House as Democrats ascend to power.”
“For centuries, women have been expected to endure bad marriages in many conservative pockets of West Africa. Divorce happened, but most often, the husbands were the ones casting off their partners. Tradition has bound women so tightly that spouses are sometimes chosen for babies in the womb. But in a society where basic views on relationships have changed, women are asserting more control over their marriages and their future.”
Women and girls in India, among many places in the global south, face greater risks of assault due to lack of access to safe sanitation facilities. 546 million people living in India (a little less than half the total population) do not use toilets, relieving themselves instead in fields, streets, alleyways, and train tracks. Now, two entrepreneurs working in the sanitation sector have come together to turn scrapped public buses into solar-powered mobile toilets for women.
Disrupted Health Care in Syria: The State of Reproductive Health
Syrian American Medican Society
As the Syrian conflict enters its eighth year, the country’s health care system continues to be decimated, with services disrupted. With medical facilities deliberately and systematically targeted, and physicians fleeing the country or killed, the health sector has been dangerously depleted. The conflict has also caused critical shortages of medical equipment and supplies, pushing medical personnel to seek alternative means of providing adequate treatment to patients in need. In this report, The Syrian American Medical Society documents the impact of the conflict on the provision of reproductive health within Syria.
In this compelling short documentary, women in Leeds, England, use everyday items to tell stories of the sacrifices and difficult choices they face. They underscore a community initiative this group of women has launched, in an attempt to tackle the shame surrounding poverty and to make policymakers listen.