20 July 2021 - NPWJ News Digest on FGM & women's rights


Fewer women than men will regain work during COVID-19 recovery: ILO
UN News, 19 Jul 2021

Fewer women will regain jobs lost to the COVID-19 pandemic during the recovery period, than men, according to a new study released on Monday by the UN’s labour agency.  In Building Forward Fairer: Women’s rights to work and at work at the core of the COVID-19 recovery, the International Labour Organization (ILO) highlights that between 2019 and 2020, women’s employment declined by 4.2 per cent globally, representing 54 million jobs, while men suffered a three per cent decline, or 60 million jobs.

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'Virginity-repair' surgery set to be banned
BBC, 16 Jul 2021

Virginity testing, where women are examined to see if their hymen is intact, and repair surgery are set to be outlawed in England and Wales. North West Durham Conservative MP Richard Holden has introduced a clause to the Health and Care Bill, which seeks to ban both procedures. Under the proposals, doctors or midwives performing either could face imprisonment. Some fear criminalising the procedures may drive them underground, however. Medical experts say hymenoplasty surgery, restoring a layer of membrane at the entrance to the vagina, is intrusive, abusive and unscientific.

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South Africa: Without Contraception, Limpopo Women's Rights Are Being Violated
AllAfrica, 14 Jul 2021

The poor, young, vulnerable populations and those living in peri-urban and rural areas, most of whom depend on the public health sector, often bear the brunt of problems with access to contraceptives. At the beginning of 2020, the Stop Stockouts Project called for the national department of health to intervene on the issue of ongoing contraceptive stockouts that have hit a number of provinces. Limpopo is one of the provinces that are affected by stockouts of certain contraceptives.

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Ecuador abortion laws discriminate against minority ethnic women – report
The Guardian, 14 Jul 2021

Criminalisation disproportionately affects indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian women and exacerbates inequality, says Human Rights Watch. Abortion is illegal in the staunchly Catholic country except in cases where the life and health of the woman are in danger or the pregnancy is the result of a rape. In April the high court decriminalised the procedure in all cases of rape, loosening restrictions that had allowed abortion only in cases of rape if the woman had a mental disability.

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New Pledges to End Child Marriage in Francophone Africa
Human Rights Watch, 14 Jul 2021

Earlier in July, governments, philanthropies, and the private sector pledged almost $40 billion at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris to fight gender inequality over the next five years. The aim is to accelerate progress on women’s and girls’ rights, tackling issues such as gender-based violence, economic inequality, and access to education. Child marriage is one example of a deeply harmful, prevalent practice that needs to be addressed more urgently – rates have been consistently high over multiple decades in several countries in Africa.

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