Women World Wide: July 2024

July 8, 2024

by Artemis

On June 15, thousands of women demonstrated in the major cities of Brazil protesting a bill in the conservative Congress equating abortion after 22 weeks with homicide. The bill was written by a right-wing Senator who is an evangelical pastor. Current laws only allow abortion in cases of rape, fetal deformity, or endangering a woman’s life, and dozens of women die from illegal abortions yearly. The bill would eliminate the rape exception after 22 weeks and establish prison sentences of 6 to 20 years. Feminist groups stated that girls raped by family members often only comprehend they are pregnant late in their pregnancies. Demonstrators chanted “A Child is Not a Mother, A Rapist is Not a Father!” First Lady Rosangela da Silva stated, “Congress should be working to guarantee access to legal and safe abortions through the national health system SUS.”


From June 1-3, the Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution (CAP International) held the 4th World Congress for the Abolition of Prostitution. CAP includes 35 grassroots and survivor-led organizations in 27 countries. Their call stated, “We, survivors of the prostitution system, frontline workers, academics, feminist activists, union representatives, lawyers, civil society organizations and citizens from more than 30 countries gathered in Montreal, call for the abolition of the prostitution system in Canada and all over the world.” Speakers condemned the media and entertainment industry’s trivialization of prostitution as “sex work” as part of rape culture. Instead of claiming survivors “choose” to be exploited, the focus must be on the “choices” of customers and pimps in order to eliminate the demand for prostitution. Survivors stated the inherent violence of prostitution is worsening, and speakers explained how it is a function of patriarchy, racism, colonialism and poverty. Insightful videos, including one from the conference, are on the CAP International YouTube channel.


On March 31, Turkey’s nationwide local elections struck a blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling right-wing AK party. Voters nearly tripled the number of women mayors to 11 out of 81 provinces, including five major urban areas. Gulistan Sonuk won 65% of the vote in her province over a fundamentalist Islamic opponent. She stated, “The election took place between two sharp lines. One was the mentality that saw women as second-class, and the other defended women’s freedom. The public chose the latter.”


In May, thousands of Nigerian human rights activists petitioned against and successfully cancelled a state-sponsored mass wedding of 100 girls and young women. They had been orphaned by armed bandits killing their families and a government official offered to pay their dowries as a solution. The women’s affairs minister, Uju Kennedy Ohanenye, opposed it as violating laws criminalizing forced marriage. She said, “What I’m fighting is illegality. I’m not fighting tradition or religion. This is to make sure it doesn’t happen. Human rights organizations are circulating petitions urging the government to prioritize girls’ educations over marriage.

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