US on the brink of overturning Roe v. Wade, Mexico demands justice, and Italy boosts women’s football
By Agustina Ordoqui
US: The Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision that protects abortion rights in the US, according to a leaked copy of a draft majority opinion from the court. The leaked document spurred protests around the US. Anti-abortion activists are already working on encouraging Republican presidential candidates to enact a federal ban on abortion if the landmark decision is overturned. In April, Florida restricted access to abortion after 15 weeks, and Oklahoma passed a bill that would ban abortion from six weeks. In Kentucky, a federal judge has halted a law restricting abortion, while Tennessee passed a bill banning the distribution of abortion medication by mail or teleconsultation.
US: The Global Gag Rule, a policy that restricted US aid funding to NGOs providing abortion-related services around the world, may have caused 108,000 maternal and child deaths and 360,000 new HIV infections between 2017 and 2021, according to new research. The Global Gag Rule has been enacted by every Republican president since Ronald Reagan, and was most recently rescinded by Joe Biden at the beginning of his term.
MEXICO: Protestors demonstrated across Mexico to demand justice after the murder of 18-year-old Debanhi Escobar. The girl’s body was found on April 21 in the cistern of a motel in the northern state of Nuevo León, near where she had disappeared two weeks earlier. There were also calls to action under the hashtag #DóndeEstán (#WhereAreThey), highlighting the cases of missing women. In 2021, 1,006 femicides were reported in Mexico.
EGYPT: Egyptian journalist and writer Rasha Azab was found not guilty of all charges by the Economic Court in Cairo after being accused by film director Islam Azazi of slander, defamation, financial damage and deliberate harassment. Azab was facing up to two years in prison and a fine of $3,200. In December 2020, Azab, known for her human rights work, shared the stories of six women who claimed they had been sexually assaulted by the filmmaker, including one allegation of rape.
INDONESIA: The Indonesian parliament has passed a law designed to prevent and punish acts of sexual violence, including physical and verbal abuse, sexual torture, forced contraception, forced sterilisation, forced marriage, sexual slavery and exploitation, and cyber sexual harassment. The law also provides for the creation of a fund for victims of gender-based violence. The bill was intitially proposed by the National Commission on Violence against Women in 2012 and had languished since then, but the recent case of a school principal who raped 13 underage students and impregnated eight of them mobilised public opinion on sexual violence in the country. The man was sentenced to death one week before the bill was approved.
BRAZIL: 92% of Brazil’s 5.7 million domestic workers are women, 65% of whom are Black, according to the findings of a new study. Most are over 40 years old and their income is lower than the minimum wage (1,212 reais, equivalent to about 214 dollars). Another study, published last year, showed that Black women are not only economically precarious, but are also one of the most underrepresented groups in politics: making up 28% of the electorate, but only 6% of elected representatives in the 2020 municipal elections.
SINGAPORE: In April, Singapore’s parliament approved several reforms to support “women’s development”. Among the moves were recommendations to increase financial assistance for caregivers and introduce flexible work arrangements to allow men to take on more care work. Women aged between 21 and 35 will soon be able to freeze their eggs for non-medical reasons and regardless of their marital status. However, they will only be able to use their frozen eggs if they are married to a man: the measure does not apply to single women, nor same-sex couples, who cannot get married legally in Singapore. The measures will begin to take effect in early 2023.
SOMALIA: Saadia Yasin Haji Samatar has become the first woman to be elected deputy speaker of Somalia’s House of the People. Samatar will play a key role in the country’s politics, as it is a parliamentary republic where both houses of the legislative branch elect the president. Somalia currently has a 30% quota for women in parliament. However, following this year’s elections, only 41 out of 223 members (18%) of the lower house and 14 out of 54 in the upper house (26%) are women.
ITALY: Women’s football in Italy is going professional as of July 1. At the end of April, the Federal Council of the Italian Football Federation completed the approval of the necessary regulations to recognise Serie A as professional from next season, and pay players a proper salary. This is a major victory in the context of the growth that the national women’s team has been experiencing since the World Cup in France in 2019.
This issue of Impact was prepared by Agustina Ordoqui, Heloísa Marques, Megan Clement and Steph Williamson.
Impact is financed by the New Venture Fund.
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