What would you add to recent examples of women’s activism?
- Millions of Polish women go to the streets to protest attempts to roll back reproductive choice,
- French women who oppose sexual harassment,
- Chilean women students protesting campus sexism,
- Palestinian women fight the occupation[i]
- Armenian women demonstrated for their rights as well as changing prime ministers.
- Saudi women launched a campaign in 2016 for an end to the guardianship laws, which are explained in a report and short videos titled “Boxed In: Women and Saudi Arabia’s Male Guardianship System.”[ii] *Egyptian women protest online, as the President el-Sisi government punishes feminist heads of NGOs.
- A Swedish student named Elin Ersson blocked a plane from taking off from Gothenburg until an Afghan refugee was taken off the plane to prevent his deportation to what she felt was certain death.
- Journalist Ksenia Sobchak, 35, ran for president of Russia against Putin, drawing from her five million Twitter followers.
- Japanese girls tired of being assaulted while traveling on crowded trains to school wear metal pins/buttons stating, “I’m not going to take it! Groping is a crime!” A Japanese friend’s tactic is to pinch the harasser as hard as she can.
- Women in Mexico City are fighting street harassment with apps and posting stickers showing a girl walking confidently.[iii] The #niunamemos (not one woman less lost to gender violence) campaign spread throughout Latin America.
*Kenyan women protest the lack of female cabinet members that violates their constitution, which states that women should be one-third of legislators and appointed political positions.
*Women riding bicycle campaigns occur in Muslim countries like Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, and Egypt.
Iranian women take off their veils and post their videos on websites like My Stealthy Freedom organized by Masih Alinejad. She also organized a #whitewednesdays campaign to wear white to protest compulsory hijab. Alinejad posted, “Civil disobedience is the first step to gain our victory.” In exile in the US, she described her activism in her book The Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran (2018). #Walking Unveiled was organized in 2018 after a viral video showed three Iranian police officers hitting a woman who they judged not to be properly covered. Alinejad also led a campaign of women posting photos riding bikes in defiance of a 2016 fatwa by Supreme Leader Khameini against cycling because it threatens their chastity.[iv]
In the US, women are rising up in response to President Donald Trump’s sexism, women are prominent leaders in Black Lives Matter, the Dreamers fight for immigrant rights, Fight for $15 (to raise the minimum wage), the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault, and teacher wildcat strikes that began in West Virginia and spread to Oklahoma, Kentucky, North Carolina, Colorado, Arizona and other right-to-work states that don’t favor unions.
[i] Fadi Abu Shammalah and Jen Marlowe, “Palestinian Feminists are Fighting on Two Fronts,” TruthDig, June 17, 2018.
[ii] Zuhour Mahmoud, “Hundreds of Thousands Join Saudi Women-Led Campaign to End Male Guardianship in the Kingdom,” Global Voices, September 4, 2016.
[iv] “Women in Iran Post Photos and Videos,” Women in the World, September 21, 2016.