Women make up roughly 50% of our global population but still face significant human rights challenges, including some which are less visible but equally damaging such as gender bias in institutions like the media. I began my role as STAND’s Women’s Section Editor in June 2019 and six months in I’m continuing to learn so much about the issues women face, both internationally but also at home in Ireland – and the myriad connections and intersections that exist between issues! Here is a brief recap of the women’s rights issues STAND covered this year:
In January, we discussed Gender Equality and the SDGs, asking how SDG 5 links to the other goals, and if countries are doing enough to empower women and girls. Fast forward to March as we documented the Polish government’s threats towards women activists and joined in International Women’s Day celebrations on 8 March. In April, the month of April Fools, we highlighted the unmet need for funny female-led superhero films. In May, we revisited the #BringBackOurGirls campaign five years on and documented the protests of women in Sudan as they took part in the uprising, as well as the practice of breast ironing which affects 3.8 million girls globally. In June, we explored the issue of conflict-related sexual violence; featured a positive news story about the Afghan girls robotic team; and celebrated women engineers like Hedy Lamarr (the 1940s starlet who helped to invent torpedo, Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS technologies) on International Women Engineers Day. In July, football frenzy in the form of the Women’s World Cup was upon us and we took the opportunity to highlight the inequalities women face in the sport. We also discussed self care’s radical origins (did you know it emerged from the feminist and black panther movements?) and the importance of family planning in women’s lives. In August, we marked a year of Greta Thunberg (TIME’s person of the year 2019), celebrated the incredible bravery of migrant rescuer Carola Rakete and the late Somali journalist Hodan Nalayeh (sadly killed in a terrorist attack earlier this year), and discussed the issue of coercive control. Intersections of climate change and gender are extremely important and so in September we focused on the indigenous women who are fighting against climate change, and highlighted the importance of including women in the just energy transition. We also profiled new research showing how countries experience better overall development when women’s rights are prioritised. October was a very busy month for us as we explored sexism in the media, period taboos, the current state of abortion services in Ireland, the sex for rent scandal, and got spooky with a Halloween-themed article about witches and misogyny. November brought a review of Louise O’Neill’s book and play: Asking For It. We also spread awareness about Endometriosis (a disease affecting 1 in 10 Irish women), and marked the new focus on gender in Ireland’s Citizen’s Assembly. In December we discussed Ecofeminism (do you consider yourself to be a radical or a cultural ecofeminist?), brought you the highlights from FemFest 2019 and reviewed the book “We Still drink Coffee” which features short stories about women human rights defenders (we hope it ended up in a few Christmas stockings!). Now in 2020, we look forward to a Christmas-themed article about Women’s Christmas (celebrated on the 6th of January) – so stay tuned!
Happy New Year! Thank you to all of our readers and contributors and we look forward to your continued support and engagement in 2020.
Photo by Marc Nozell
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