08 Jan 2019 - NPWJ News Digest on FGM & Women's Rights


Why a Saudi woman can be arrested for disobeying her father
BBC News, 08 Jan 2019

Saudi Arabia drew international plaudits last year when it lifted a longstanding ban on women driving.
However, restrictions on women remain - most notably, the "male guardianship system", a woman's father, brother, husband or son has the authority to make critical decisions on her behalf.
These restrictions were highlighted in early January, when a young Saudi woman fleeing her family barricaded herself in a hotel room in Bangkok saying she feared imprisonment if she was sent back home.

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As Supreme Court Shifts Under Trump, Cuomo Vows to Expand Abortion Rights
The New York Times, 07 Jan 2019

With Hillary Clinton to his right, female elected officials seated before him and cheering women filling the audience, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday promised to protect women’s reproductive rights by expanding the state’s abortion laws within the first 30 days of the new legislative session.
Mr. Cuomo’s vow was not exactly new. But the pageantry of the occasion seemed to reflect the circumstances that had prompted it: a Legislature newly controlled by Democrats raring to broaden reproductive rights, and a federal government increasingly looking to rein them in, all against the backdrop of a state with abortion laws that are not as liberal as many perceive them to be.

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Schoolgirls in Kenya to face compulsory tests for pregnancy and FGM
The Guardian, 04 Jan 2019

Plans to subject schoolgirls in Kenya to mandatory tests for female genital mutilation and pregnancy are a violation of victims’ privacy, campaigners have warned.
All girls returning to school this week in Narok, Kenya, will be examined at local health facilities as part of a countywide crackdown.
Girls found to have undergone FGM, which is illegal, will be required to give a police statement. Those who are pregnant will be asked to identify the man involved, according to George Natembeya, the Narok County commissioner.

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The standoff at Sabarimala stains India’s progress on women’s rights
The Washington Post, 03 Jan 2019

In India, they tell us that women can be anything we wish. We can be fighter-jet pilots, corporate CEOs, paratroopers, athletes — and, of course, prime minister. (We never get tired of reminding Americans of this, since the United States is still waiting for its first female head of state.)
But God forbid we dare to argue that, in 2019, menstruation should not bar us from praying at a temple. What sort of global power can the world’s largest democracy aspire to be when our monthly period is still used to make women feel like polluted pariahs who must be kept at a distance? Is this not repugnant modern-day untouchability?

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Women Strive to End Genital Mutilation in Kurdish Iraq
AgenceFrancePresse, 02 Jan 2019

Dark skies were threatening rain over an Iraqi Kurdistan village, but one woman refused to budge from outside a house where two girls were at risk of female genital mutilation.
"I know you're home! I just want to talk," called out Kurdistan Rasul, 35, a pink headscarf forming a sort of halo around her plump features.
For many, she is an angel — an Iraqi Kurdish activist with the Germany-based nonprofit Association for Crisis Assistance and Development Cooperation (WADI), on a crusade to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM).

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