Women WorldWide: June 2022

May 30, 2022

by Artemis

In May, in the first ruling of its kind in Japan, Tokyo District Court ordered Juntendo University to compensate 13 women for discrimination and emotional distress. Between 2011 and 2018, they were unfairly rejected from the medical school because it had tampered with their entrance exam scores and set stricter requirements for women, claiming they had “better communication skills than men and an advantage in interviews.” A 2018 government investigation found numerous medical schools had done the same, claiming women doctors would resign or work fewer hours after having children. Juntendo University admitted it had unfairly rejected dozens more women over the years.


In Somalia, severe drought has destroyed farmland, causing over 700,000 people to flee to camps in large cities for internally displaced refugees. Women rely on an interest-free savings and lending system called Ayuuto or Hagbad traditionally practiced by groups of neighbors. Everyone adds money to the pot each month, and the group decides to lend money to members for emergencies, to start or save a business, or to buy food. Tawane, who started and leads a group in Mogudishu, stated, “At the beginning of every month when we meet to collect the money, we discuss the challenges we are facing including the security situation of the camp. We also talk about our children and their education. More importantly, we listen to each other and offer help when we can.” While experts say large-scale financial aid is needed for catastrophic problems and to help women achieve financial independence, this informal safety net has helped many survive.


In May, members of the Sandbach High School’s feminist club in Cheshire, UK, launched a petition on Parliament’s website. Currently with 650 signatures, it calls for the government to ban sales of school uniforms in sex shops and their use in porn videos. Teacher Sarah Maile stated the girls often collaborate with other groups across the country but came up with this cause themselves. “Once we started discussing the issues, the more impassioned and angry they became. The fact is there is this sexualization of, in particular, young girls in school uniform in pornography…It makes the young people feel uncomfortable and sexualized. It just perpetuates the idea that it’s OK to sexualize children.” She added, “They’ve got a real sense of social justice. They’re children at the end of the day, and the fact that they are having to ask our government to ban this hyper sexualization of their school clothing is appalling. I’m so proud of them, and the school has been so supportive.”


In May, the girls’ track team at Albany High School in New York launched a petition “Stop Gender Biased Dress Codes: Allow the Girls Track Team to Wear Sports Bras” currently with 48,551 signatures on Change.org. The Albany School District Athletic Director told them to stop wearing sports bras with no shirt during practice, claiming it would distract male coaches, although the coaches themselves never stated this. The Director gave the boys’ team a warning to stop practicing without shirts but did not enforce it. The girls received suspensions from the team and letters to parents for continuing to wear normal athletic attire to practice in extreme heat. They stated: “We wanted to make a statement that the whole rule is sexist and misogynistic.” Students are increasingly protesting sexist dress codes which also disproportionately target Black girls.

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