From the May-June 2017 issue of News & Letters
In Tunisia the civic education club of the high school Lycee Pilote de l’Ariana wrote, performed and videoed a three-minute play that went viral on Facebook with over 670,000 views. “Give Me a Doll and Don’t Make Me a Bride” is based on a court-approved marriage of a 13-year-old girl to a 20-year-old relative who had raped her. Tunisian feminists held marches protesting the law allowing rapists of girls under the age of 15 to avoid prosecution by marrying their victim. Rania Bel Haj, the lead in the play, said, “I wasn’t truly a feminist until I interpreted this role.”
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A university start-up in rural India is about to launch a male contraceptive that is 98% successful in preventing pregnancy and has no major side effects. RISUG, or reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance, is injected with a shot and can be reversed by another. Major pharmaceutical companies have no interest in developing male contraceptives because they make billions on hormonal birth control for women. The Parsemus Foundation, a U.S. non-profit, will help establish a global market for RISUG as well as make its own version called Vaselgel.
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In Turkey, citizens voted “yes” on a referendum that will abolish the office of Prime Minister, giving all its powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Women had held rallies urging Turks to vote “no” because of Erdoğan’s authoritarianism, including his attacks on women’s rights. At several of these rallies, women were attacked by mobs, often comprised of youths supporting Islamic fundamentalism and the nationalist political ideology of “Idealism.” A mob also attacked the International Women’s Day celebration at Istanbul’s Bilgi University.