May-June: Women WorldWide

May 11, 2023

by Artemis

Dawn with her son.

Dawn Dumont Walker is a noted Canadian author, actress, political candidate, and executive with the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations. Seeking help from police, the Ministry of Social Services, family court, lawyers, and therapists, all failed to protect her from her violent, sexually abusive ex-partner. Suspecting abuse of her child, she fled with him to the U.S. but was found in August and charged with public mischief and parental abduction. Her legal team states, “[H]er case is an extreme example of how the police and justice system in Saskatchewan not only neglect Indigenous women who experience domestic and sexual violence, but go on to criminalize and incarcerate those same Indigenous women, as well as systemically violate their constitutional rights.” Indigenous rights protest movement Idle No More is raising funds for her defense. Anti-domestic violence feminist group Women Who Choose to Live is raising the money Walker must pay for expensive supervised visits with her son, now in custody of her ex-partner.


In February, guided by Equality Minister Irene Montero and the coalition of Leftist parties Unidos Podemos (United We Can), the Spanish parliament passed legislation making it the first country in Europe entitling women to paid leave for debilitating menstrual pain. Menstrual products will be provided free in schools and prisons. Hormonal contraceptives and the morning after pill will be free at state-run health centers. Women now have the right to an abortion at a state hospital, but doctors will not be forced to perform them if they register objections. In 2010, abortions performed in clinics were legalized through the fourteenth week of pregnancy. Now, 16- and 17-year-olds can get one without parental consent. Last year, the Spanish Senate voted to make harassment outside of abortion clinics a crime punishable by up to one year in prison. All of this legislation was met with opposition from Spain’s right-wing parties, which are its main opposition bloc.


In the southwestern coast of Bangladesh, climate change has caused rising sea levels and more intense cyclones and floods. Salt water spills into numerous rivers and streams previously used to farm shrimp and crabs and ruins farmland. Women must bathe and stand waist-deep in saltwater for hours to fish, causing devastating reproductive tract infections, cancers, irregular menstruation, infertility and diseases like cholera. Previously abundant fresh water is difficult to obtain, and salty drinking water is causing high blood pressure and preeclampsia in pregnant women. Natural disasters, malnutrition, and illnesses increase poverty, forcing girls to leave school early to marry or become laborers or caregivers. Access to healthcare and contraceptives is becoming more limited.

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