Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Instagram
Contact Us

News

FEMINIST NEWS ROUNDUP 2017!

JANUARY

Tr**p is inaugurated as President, kicking off a tide of feminist rage across the globe. Women marched across America on January 21st, forming part of the biggest recorded one-day protest in U.S history- between 3,267,134 and 5,246,670 people participated in the Women's March in the United States. The Washington March drew 440,000 to 500,000 people, and worldwide participation has been estimated at over five million, including huge numbers here in Australia.

 

On 2 January 2017 the Bangalore Mirror reports mass molestation of women on New Year's Eve in Bengaluru, Karnataka. In response, I Will Go Out (or #IWillGoOut) is organised- a nationwide march occurring on 21 January, 2017 to demand women's right to fair and equitable access to public spaces. People march across 30 cities and towns of India including Bengaluru, Delhi, Pune, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Puducherry, Silchar, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Bhopal, Udaipur, Kochi and Karimganj.

 

The Canadian Government’s National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls begins its investigation into the systemic causes behind the violence that Indigenous women and girls experience as well as their greater vulnerability to violence. This is a result of years of activism from Indigenous women. 

 

Mary Tyler Moore passes away. Moore was most famous for producing and starring in The Mary Tyler Moore show- playing one of the first successful single women on television. The show quickly became a cultural phenomenon as her character, Mary Richards battled issues like unequal pay and other hurdles women were facing in the workplace.


FEBRUARY

Norma McCorvey passes away. McCorvey because an icon of the feminist movement at age 22 in 1969 as Jane Roe, the anonymous plaintiff in the landmark Roe v Wade, establishing a constitutional right for women to end their pregnancies.

 

Seasoned diplomat and Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Tehmina Janjua, is named Pakistan’s first ever woman Foreign Secretary.

 

Viola Davis wins Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars for Fences. She is the only black woman to be nominated for three Academy Awards,  and is the only black actor to win the Triple Crown of Acting, winning an Oscar, Emmy and Tony.

 

The AFL Women’s (AFLW), the national Australian rules football league for female players begins its first season with eight teams.


MARCH

The “Fearless Girl” Statue is installed on March 7 on Wall Street in New York. The bronze sculpture by Kristen Visbal, faces the Charging Bull (or "Wall Street bull") statue. The statue is both hailed as powerful piece of art and a symbol of corporate feminism, as it’s soon revealed that it was commissioned by State Street Global Advisors, a division of State Street Corporation. The statue was slated to remain in place for three weeks, but various petitions have ensured it will stay there until at least February 2018.

However, the financial services firm that commissioned the statue are swiftly taken to court by 305 female executives and 15 black executives claiming that they were being paid less than their white male counterparts. The case is settled out of court for 5 million.

 

International Women’s Day in 2017 is one of the most politically charged in history. The first mass International Women’s Strike closed schools in the United States and childcare centres in Australia as women tak action to highlight the gender pay gap and show solidarity with women across the world. Thousands of people flood the streets of Dublin to call for a repeal of the 8th amendment, which would constitute a near-total ban on abortion. Iceland use International Women’s Day to announce it will be the first country in the world to require companies to prove they offer equal pay regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality and nationality. Across South America mass strikes and demonstrations draw attention to high rates of femicide. In Argentina protests kick off with a “ruidazo” – a traditional banging of pots and pans – followed by a march in Buenos Aires to protest against the 78% rise in femicide in the past eight years. Plus MUCH more, across many different countries.


APRIL 

The Handmaid's Tale, a TV series based on Margaret Attwood's novel of the same name, premiers starring Elizabeth Moss. The feminist, dystopian story details the life of a woman under the rule of an authoritarian, religious regime in which she has no rights and is used solely to breed children.  Comparisons between the show and the current political climate abound.

 

Tennis star Serena Williams announces her pregnancy on social media platform Snapchat. She’s 20 weeks along, which means that she won the Australian Open whilst pregnant!


MAY

Chelsea Manning, whistleblower of US government human rights violation and proud trans woman, is released from prison.

 

United Voice Victoria holds a meeting at Melbourne’s Trades Hall with the aim of addressing sexual harassment in the hospitality industry. Following a survey stating that over 89% of women have been or are sexually harassed, around 50 hospitality workers attend to hear experts speak, and offer their own experiences and thoughts.

 

Greens Senator Larissa Waters makes history by moving a Senate motion while breastfeeding.

 

Black Lives Matter activists bail out women in jail for minor infringements (remaining there because they are unable to pay bond) in time for Mother’s Day. A coalition of 25 black-led organizations raise more than $250,000 to pay for the release of “black mamas.”


JUNE 

Britain elects more than 200 female MPs- a new record for the House of Commons. The number of female MPs elected eclipsed the previous high of 191 women from the 2015 election.

 

Mamamia founder, Mia Freedman, again courts controversy with an introduction to an interview with feminist author, Roxane Gay. Gay called it "cruel and humiliating."

 

Patty Jenkins becomes the first woman to direct a big budget superhero film, as Wonder Woman debuts and subsequently smashes the box office. It’s also a hit with critics.


JULY

The 13th Doctor Who is revealed and guess what? It’s a woman! Jodie Whittaker is unveiled as the first woman to take on the role and is received warmly by fans.

 

Over 81 teen pregnancy prevention programs lose funding thanks to the Tr**p Administration. It’s reported that initiatives across the U.S will lose $213.6 million in favour of abstinence- only education.

The defunded efforts include STI testing facilities, sex education programs, birth control and classes for parents with teenage children. They also include research projects that won't have time to be completed, rendering all previous collected data pretty useless. Hooray.

 

With more than 500 official complaints of sexual assault and harassment made in the last 5 years to universities, students protest outside Parliament House in Canberra demanding governments and universities better address sexual assaults on campus.

 

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics emerges in relation to domestic violence and assault and the numbers are deeply upsetting. Journalist Jane Gilmore puts the numbers into perspective with some shocking comparisons- “If you emptied out Brisbane you could completely refill the city with Australian survivors of sexual violence.”


AUGUST

In India, the controversial practice of ‘triple talaq’, which allows men to dissolve marriages instantly, is declared unconstitutional after decades of campaigns from women’s rights groups. Previously, it’s allowed Muslim men to obtain an instant divorce by repeating the word “divorce” three times. A national survey conducted in 2015 by the BMMA found roughly 1 in 11 Muslim women were survivors of triple talaq with the vast majority receiving no alimony or compensation.

 

The Matildas, Australia’s female soccer team beat Brazil to win the Tournament of Nations, with star player Sam Kerr named Asia’s Best Female Player of 2017. The team is now expected to have a big shot at winning next year's Asian Cup and the World Cup in 2019


SEPTEMBER

Following a massive, 7.1 magnitude in Mexico City, The Feminist Brigade is established on Facebook by women in the area. Soon swelling to over 500 members, the group’s mission is simple- to help rescue the marginalized victims of the earthquake, those who may not have anyone else to advocate for them.

 

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announces that women will be granted the right to drive from June 2018. This puts an end to the nearly 40 year ban on women behind the wheel. Due largely to the Iranian Revolution, which greatly influenced much of the Middle East, Saudi women have had to rely on male chauffeurs and guardians for transportation since 1979. This system greatly restricts movement, socialising, work and medical procedures. The lifting of the driving ban comes after generations of protest, the most famous being a 1990 demonstration by 47 women who drove through the streets of Riyadh, defying Saudi law.

 

Singer, actress and mogul, Rhianna, launches her Fenty beauty line, which is widely applauded for its inclusivity. The brand’s foundation is available in 40 shades, which accommodates very dark skin AND albino skin.

 

Cardi B becomes the first female rapper to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart without the assistance of any other credited artists in nearly 19 years, as her debut hit "Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)" races up the charts! The last woman to take the spot was Lauryn Hill way back in 98. 


OCTOBER


Hollywood producer and mogul Harvey Weinstein is accused of sexual assault and harassment in a series of exposes in the New York Times and The New Yorker. Actors and former employers speak to reporters, detailing nearly three decades of repulsive behaviour. Well-known names include Ashley Judd, Asia Argento and later on, Rose McGowan and Salma Hayek.

To underline just how prevalent sexual violence is in Hollywood, actor Alyssa Milano writes on Twitter- "If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet," she wrote. "Suggested by a friend: 'If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote 'Me too.' as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.'"

#MeToo subsequently goes viral, with millions of women all over the world tweeting about their own experiences with assault- or merely showing solidarity.

 

Girls will be allowed to join the American Cub Scouts in 2018.  The organisation’s board of directors unanimously vote to let girls into the Cub Scout program and create a program for older girls to allow them to become Eagle Scouts, their highest rank.

 

New Zealand elects it's third female Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, who at 37 years old, is the world’s youngest female leader.


NOVEMBER

Danica Roem becomes the first openly trans woman to win state office in America. She is elected to the Virginia House of Delegates after a tough battle with 13-term incumbent, Robert G Marshall, who called himself Virginia’s “chief homophobe” and earlier this year introduced a “bathroom bill” that died in committee. “To every person who’s ever been singled out, who’s ever been stigmatized," she said in her victory speech, "this one’s for you."

 

Another political first here in Australia- Gunnai Gunditjmara woman Lidia Thorpe wins the seat of Northcote and becomes the first female Aboriginal elected to the Parliament of Victoria. 

 

Delhi police set up an all-female bike squad to combat sexual violence in the city. This follows many protests by women in India after a brutal gang rape in the city five years ago. Called Raftaar (Speed), the squad will consist of 600 specially trained female officers armed with guns, body cameras, pepper spray and stun guns, patrolling crowded, cramped areas of the city in pairs.

 

Australia’s own Harvey Weinstein case erupts when several women make allegations of harassment against Don Burke of Burke’s Backyard.


DECEMBER

The Australian Government announces a national action plan for endometriosis.  The National Action Plan will work to improve education, awareness and research funding around endometriosis, which occurs when tissue that is similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of it, resulting in debilitating pain and fertility issues. The government has initially offered a $160,000 grant to the University of Queensland for research into the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis, which currently has no known cause or cure.

 

TIME Magazine nominates “The Silence Breakers” behind the #MeToo movement as “person” of the year. A wide variety of people (mostly women), grace the pages of the magazine with their stories of sexual assault and harassment. The magazine's cover features celebrities Ashley Judd and Taylor Swift,  Uber engineer Susan Fowler, activist Adama Iwu, and Isabel Pascual, a fruit picker from Mexico whose name was changed to protect her identity.

 

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year for 2017 is feminism. According to the US dictionary, online searches for the word increased by 70% in 2017, with spikes occurring around the women’s march in January. It defines the feminism as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” and “organised activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.”

 

Phew! Bring on 2018- we're ready!