Global Good News 05.27.19


An Aspire look at some of the positive changes in women’s lives around the world.



Tracey Spicer, the joint winner of the 2019 Sydney Peace Prize, is calling for the incoming federal government to overhaul Australian defamation laws to ensure sexual harassment survivors are not silenced.

An author and broadcaster, Spicer helped lead award-winning investigations into sexual harassment in media workplaces in Australia. She was part of a Walkley award-winning team behind the investigation into multiple allegations of sexual harassment and bullying by Australian TV personality Don Burke. Spicer also created Now Australia in 2018 to support survivors who have been sexually harassed and to advocate for safe workplaces.

Spicer [along with Tarana Burke, the U.S. based founder of the #MeToo movement, who has been awarded the annual prize alongside Spicer] will receive the University of Sydney’s Peace Prize at a ceremony on 14th November at Sydney Town Hall and will also deliver the annual lecture. Spicer wants defamation law reform to be on the agenda whichever major party wins the 18th May federal election.  

The Sydney Peace Foundation chair, Archie Law, said the #MeToo movement was chosen from more than 200 community nominations because it had fundamentally changed the way society understands and talks about sexual harassment and violence.

Previous winners of the Sydney Peace Prize include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Irish president Mary Robinson, author Noam Chomsky, the father of Indigenous reconciliation Patrick Dodson, writer Naomi Klein and the Black Lives Matter global network.


Although in existence for more than 70 years, for the first time ever each of the United Nations Regional Commissions is currently headed by a woman designated by Secretary-General António Guterres. This accomplishment underscores that, since the day he took office, the UN chief has been determined to achieve gender parity by 2030 as part of the Agenda for Sustainable Development. The women leaders are: Latin America and the Caribbean: Alicia Bárcena; Europe: Oľga Algayerová; Asia and the Pacific: Armida Alisjahbana; Western Asia: Rola Dashti; Africa: Vera Songwe.

A new UN health agency statistics report shows that average life-expectancy globally has increased by five-and-a-half years since the turn of the century and women outlive men “everywhere”, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). “Whether it’s homicide, road accidents, suicide, cardiovascular disease – time and time again, men are doing worse than women”, said Dr. Richard Cibulskis, main author of WHO’s World Health Statistics Overview 2019.  Apart from the average increase from 66.5 years to 72 years overall, its findings also show that ‘healthy’ life expectancy – the number of years individuals live in full health – increased from 58.5 years in 2000 to 63.3 years in 2016. Differing attitudes to healthcare between men and women help to account for the discrepancy in life expectancy between the sexes, the report suggests.

The international boxing association says it has approved new uniforms for female boxers to wear for religious reasons. AIBA says “hijabs and full body form-fitting uniforms” have been designed “that do not compromise the competition and therefore the health of the boxers.” Previously, the boxing association objected to the material of hijab head coverings “which was not designed to fit the body and had potential to come off and interfere in the competition.” AIBA says the rule change highlights its “commitment to gender equity and religious tolerance.”


Gender inequality and the global #MeToo movement have energised “Escape the Corset,” a campaign which aims to loosen South Korea’s rigid beauty standards. Inspired in part by the global #MeToo movement, which has woken up South Korea’s deeply patriarchal culture, South Korean women are challenging long-accepted attitudes about plastic surgery and cosmetics in one of the world’s most beauty-obsessed capitals. South Korea has the world’s highest rate of cosmetic surgery per capita and it has become a destination for cosmetic surgery tourism. The beauty market generated $13 billion in sales last year, according to Mintel. Political and economic inequities are inciting women to push back – South Korea’s wage gap is the highest among countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and women hold just one-sixth of the seats in the National Assembly and one-tenth of corporate management positions.


In a small but symbolic step, Virgin Atlantic airlines will no longer require its female cabin crew to wear makeup.  Mark Anderson, Virgin Atlantic’s executive vice president of customer, explained the changes came from listening to their employees’ views and adapting Virgin’s styling and grooming policy to support them. In addition to the makeup easement, female cabin crew will now be provided with a pair of trousers along with their shirt and skirt, if they prefer to wear that.


Time Magazine’s Top 100 List is almost half women for the first time ever. The issue includes newsmakers like Nancy Pelosi, Sandra Oh, Michelle Obama and more.  There are 48 women on the list this year – when the magazine first began publishing the list back in 2004, only 24 women were included.


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