“Women belong in all places where decisions are made” - Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The climate crisis affects everyone – albeit in different ways, and to different extents. However, we cannot ignore the fact that our earth, and its inhabitants, are facing this global level threat. So, why isn’t everyone included in negotiations, discussions, and strategy? There is a stark underrepresentation of women in climate negotiations – as we can see from the latest conference of the parties under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP). The 26th COP (COP26) recently took place in Glasgow, Scotland
Pakistan, until recently (January 2021 to be more precise), required rape victims to undergo an invasive two-finger "virginity" test to determine a woman's sexual activity, notwithstanding the fact that this test has no medical merit and has been discredited by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This archaic practice, a remnant of British colonial rule, was abolished in a recent Lahore High Court judgment. Incidentally, this judgment was penned by a female judge: Justice Ayesha Malik.
Having a more diverse, representative judiciary has been recognised worldwide to have countless benefits. Apart from sensitizing the Bench to the issues faced by one half of the population and including a much-needed gendered perspective on legal questions, female judges would best be able to appreciate the plight of Pakistani women and the antagonistic attitudes they face in homes, workplaces and society at large. The abolition of the two-finger test is only one such example.
Again and again, the U.S. government fails to provide paid family leave and continues to ignore the needs of families. Women’s rights advocacy groups and female leaders have protested this blaring absence for decades to no avail. Last month, President Joe Biden broke his campaign promise to finally put family leave in place and dropped paid leave from his 1.75 trillion dollar "Build Back Better" package. This lack of paid leave is a blatant symbol of how the U.S. government -- the government of the wealthiest country in the world -- fails to acknowledge the needs of women and families. Maternal social norms still bind women to the home. Paid maternity and paternity leave help to undo those binds by allowing women to juggle home care while maintaining financial stability and ensuring fathers share the burden of childcare.
Women’s Reproductive and Sexual Healthcare Is Experiencing a Worldwide Setback due to the Covid-19 pandemic
The Coronavirus pandemic left very few areas of life untouched – from education to sport to transport – but perhaps no area more so than that of healthcare.
It is true that women’s reproductive and sexual healthcare has long lagged behind other areas. It is this specific area of women’s health that has fallen particular victim to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, with many services and products being deemed non-essential. Now that times are returning to ‘normal’, the impact of reduced access to reproductive and sexual healthcare for women and girls is being seen and felt globally.