Global Good News 03.25.19

BY GAYLE JO CARTER March 25, 2019

An Aspire SPECIAL report on International Women’s Day 2019

  • India’s capital, New Delhi, and the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, were among cities to witness marches demanding an end to domestic violence, sexual attacks and discrimination in jobs.

  • Flags were flown at half-mast on government buildings in Portugal, where a day of mourning was observed for women killed by domestic violence.

  • Women’s rights activists in Morocco launched a campaign calling for revisions to the country’s “chauvinistic” family code, which governs personal matters such as marriage, child custody and divorce. They are launching campaigns to highlight problems they see in the legal code often praised as the most progressive in North Africa and the Middle East. The code, known as the Moudawana, underwent a major overhaul in 2004 aimed at increasing gender equality. The reforms included raising the legal marriage age from 15 to 18, expanding women’s rights to child custody and divorce and allowing women to marry without the consent of a male guardian. But activists say there are still loopholes and contradictions in the text that they want eliminated.  One of the most criticized loopholes pertains to child marriage. Judges can override the Moudawana and allow girls under 18 to be married. They are also calling for an end to polygamy, which the code permits. And some of the rights extended to women in the code are simply not implemented in practice. The 2004 revisions expanded a mother’s right to child custody after a divorce, for example, but women still have to fight for it and child support payments, which the code requires fathers to provide, are also a recurring problem. Activists are also asking for courts dedicated to family and women.

  • Wearing purple and raising their fists, hundreds of thousands of women in Spain reportedly including nuns — took part in a mass two-hour walkout to demand equal pay and rights for women on International Women’s Day. Thousands of women flooded the streets and squares of Madrid carrying placards saying, “Liberty, Equality, Friendship” and “The way I dress does not change the respect I deserve.”

  • In the United Kingdom, the Duchess of Sussex joined the singer Annie Lennox, Australia’s former prime minister, Julia Gillard, and the model Adwoa Aboah in a panel discussion at King’s College London about issues affecting women, hosted by the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.

  • All 28 players on the United States women’s national championship-winning soccer team took a stand for equal pay on International Women’s Day. The soccer team filed a federal gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. In the lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles federal court under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, all 28 female players claim that they are not paid equally to the men’s national players. They also allege they have experienced “institutionalized gender discrimination,” despite having the same job responsibilities. The female athletes are now seeking equal pay and treatment, as well as damages, such as back pay. This is not the first time that the women have taken a stand for equal pay. In 2016, a group of players filed a federal labor complaint against U.S. Soccer, claiming they’re paid just 40 percent as much as the men’s team players — despite generating tens of millions more in revenue. The women’s national team last won the World Cup in 2015. They are set to defend their title at the 2019 World Cup in France on June 7.

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