Women Worldwide: September-October 2021

September 12, 2021

From the September-October 2021 issue of News & Letters


by Artemis

In Canada, women were recently elected to several Indigenous leadership positions previously held only by men in modern times. Lynne Groulx, CEO of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, says, “Communities are pushing, they want change. They’re in crisis. We know that we have matriarchal societies, women were involved in leadership roles before.” She says women bring “a different perspective” to crisis such as the legacy of residential schools, the lack of clean drinking water on reserves, and the epidemic of femicides of Indigenous women. The women plan to network with each other and protect their languages, cultures, lands, and traditional forms of governance. They want to involve young people in the decision-making process and help them start businesses.

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Vancouver-based Métis lawyer Breen Ouellette stated in May that in the last decade social workers in British Columbia forced Indigenous girls under age ten to have IUDs inserted by doctors with no follow-up care. The reason given in one case was to prevent pregnancy because a girl was at risk of being raped in foster care. This continues the eugenics practice of forced sterilization of Indigenous women and violates provincial law and several UN treaties. Ouellette stated he could not provide victims’ names without consent but would “try to find safe ways to help them speak.” In August, after decades of work by feminists, the Czech Republic government announced it would award financial compensation to hundreds of Roma women illegally sterilized from 1966 to 2012.

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In 2020, Ghaidaa Qudaih, Aseel Najjar, and Nadine Abu Rok graduated from university but were unable to find work in Gaza, where unemployment is 43% (and 60% for women) due to the effects of the Israeli blockade. The three young Palestinians formed the organic vegetable farming collective Green Girls with help from friends and local farmers. Advertising on social media, Qudaih states, “We have managed to spread the culture of land and agriculture. Lots of young men and women follow and consult us. Some started growing vegetables, and we went to help them and encourage them to take initiative.”

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In August, the British Medical Association’s journal, BMJ Global Health, published a study warning that many countries’ cultural preferences for boys will lead to men dramatically outnumbering women in over a third of the world’s population, endangering long-term global stability. Prenatal sex selection has contributed to this trend in Southeast Europe, Southeast Asia, China, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, and other countries. Lead author Dr. Fengqing Chao states, “Fewer than expected females in a population could result in elevated levels of antisocial behavior and violence, and may ultimately affect long-term stability and social sustainable development.” Reducing sex-selection is a major part of UN sustainable development goals.


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