16 June 2020 - NPWJ News Digest on FGM & women's rights


Africa: COVID-19 Jeopardises Gains Made Towards Protecting Women and Girls from Violence
AllAfrica , 16 Jun 2020

The passing of laws to end child marriage resulted in blocking thousands of child marriages and enabling second chance education for girls. However, these gains made over the years are in jeopardy in the age of COVID-19.
In Malawi because of cases brought to court, child marriages were annulled, and girls had the opportunity to return to school. Fewer adolescents experienced female genital mutilation (FGM) compared with older generations. In Ethiopia, for instance, 47 per cent of girls aged 15 to 19 years have undergone FGM compared to 75 per cent of women aged 35 to 49 years. The same trend has been observed for child marriage, with a decline from 58 per cent of women aged 25 to 49 years compared to 40 per cent of women aged 20 to 24 years.

Read More

Women stage 'mass scream' in Switzerland over domestic violence and gender pay gap
The Guardian , 15 Jun 2020

Women across Switzerland have let loose with screams during a national protest demanding equal treatment and an end to violence at the hands of men. Last year half a million people marched to highlight the nation’s poor record on women’s rights. This year’s version of what organizers call the Women’s Strike was more subdued on Sunday due to coronavirus restrictions. 
“For me it is emotional. Because I scream for me, but I also scream for my sisters and brothers, I scream for all the other children who lost a mother or a father, and I also scream for my mother, who would have screamed if she was still here,” said Roxanne Errico, a 19-year-old student who said her mother was killed by her violent boyfriend.

Read More

The stranded babies of Kyiv and the women who give birth for money
The Guardian , 15 Jun 2020

Some are crying in their cots; others are being cradled or bottle-fed by nannies. These newborns are not in the nursery of a maternity hospital, they are lined up side by side in two large reception rooms of the improbably named Hotel Venice on the outskirts of Kyiv, protected by outer walls and barbed wire. 
They are the children of foreign couples born to Ukrainian surrogate mothers at the Kyiv-based BioTexCom Centre for Human Reproduction, the largest surrogacy clinic in the world. They’re stranded in the hotel because their biological parents have not been able to travel in or out of Ukraine since borders closed in March because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read More

Africa: COVID-19 Places Extra Burden On African Women
AllAfrica, 13 Jun 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed and intensified gender inequality in Africa. Many women have to work harder than before while earning even less than they normally would.
The fact that entire communities can still function despite the coronavirus pandemic is probably due to the efforts of women. They often take care of sick relatives and look after children and the elderly voluntarily. Zimbabwean sociologist Martha Mutisi believes that this is particularly true in African societies. "Women always played the role of care givers," Mutisi told DW. "But that has been exacerbated, especially for those who had to take care of the sick and also for those who have to home school their children."

Read More

Coronavirus threatens Kenya goal to end female genital mutilation by 2022
Reuters, 09 Jun 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has put Kenya’s goal of ending female genital mutilation (FGM) by 2022 in jeopardy, campaigners against the practice warned, amid reports of “mass cuttings” involving hundreds of girls being held while schools are closed. One in five women and girls aged between 15 and 49 in Kenya have undergone FGM, which usually involves the partial or total removal of the female genitalia and can cause a host of serious health problems, says the United Nations.

Read More