19 Feb 2019 - NPWJ News Digest on FGM and Women's Rights


Unisex Toilets Put Schoolgirls at risk of Sexual Harassment, Claims Women's Rights Group
Independent, 19 Feb 2019

Unisex toilets in schools are putting girls at risk of sexual harassment and period shaming, claims one women’s rights group.
Women’s Voices Wales conducted a review into how pupils felt about gender-inclusive facilities after initial concerns were raised about safety and possible intimidation by parents and pupils.
“What we’ve heard so far ranges from girls not drinking water during the day so they can avoid using the toilets, to ‘period shaming’ from boys,” reads a statement posted to the organisation’s Facebook page on 14 February.

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FGM In Ghana: A Note To The Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Protection
Modern Ghana, 19 Feb 2019

“We cannot expect to get into the way of continuous development while we are following a system of education which depends on the borrowing of an alien physiology, psychology and sociology, a system of education which is based on eschewing by us of the social institutions of our ancestors on the ground merely that our ancestors were uncivilized for just as a condition of health in the individual is health in the society in which he is born, so a condition of self-respect in the individual is reverence for the institutions of his social grouping,” Kobina Sekyi (1892-1956), a Gold Coast freedom fighter and a Nationalist and author of 'The Blinkards.'

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Christopher Chope was wrong to object to FGM bill
The Guardian, 14 Feb 2019

 In response to Dr Brenda Kelly’s letter (13 February) regarding her experience of courts making an interim supervision order, this could only be made if a local authority was already involved with the litigation. This misses the point of the bill that Sir Christopher Chope objected to.
I proposed this bill to Lord Berkeley because of an occasion in court where the police sought a female genital mutilation protection order. The local authority were not involved but the judge wanted to engage their protective powers for the girl.We found that while the court could do that automatically for a girl at risk of forced marriage (and many other risks such as domestic abuse), the judge could not for a girl at risk of genital mutilation. All a judge can do in that situation is to exhort a local authority to act. They have no powers to force the local authority’s hand.

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U.S. lawmakers call on Saudi Arabia to free imprisoned women’s rights activists
The Washington Post, 13 Feb 2019

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers introduced a resolution Wednesday calling on Saudi Arabia to “immediately and unconditionally” release women’s rights advocates imprisoned there, as Congress intensifies its criticism of the kingdom’s human rights record after the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The House resolution, introduced by Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), is separate from pending legislation aimed at cutting off U.S. support for the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen and holding Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for the killing of Khashoggi.
It focuses more narrowly on the plight of the women’s rights advocates, notably on allegations that at least 10 of the women have been severely abused while in custody. The resolution calls on the U.S. government to “continue publicly and privately demanding the release of individuals wrongfully detained.”

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Where do Apparel Companies Stand on Women Workers?
Human Rights Watch, 12 Feb 2019

Will the fashion industry throw its weight behind the global #MeToo movement? The next few months will tell us how committed apparel companies are to fighting harassment and discrimination in their supply chains.
Starting February 13, more than 400 representatives from governments, the apparel industry, unions, and civil society will attend the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector. The US$2.4-trillion apparel industry employs millions of workers globally, mostly women. Women workers experience specific challenges at workbecause of gender, including pregnancy-based discrimination and sexual harassment.

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