Transgender Woman Wins GP Election at Karnataka's Saligrama
The Times of India - Mysuru, Karnataka, 12/31/2020
Devika, a transgender woman and candidate, has won the Karnataka Gram Panchayat elections, 2020 from a ward reserved for SC women in Mysuru’s Saligrama Panchayat by securing 110 votes. Residents of Saligrama said that they were proud of her victory. SJ Gunapal Jain, a former gram panchayat member from the village said, “Locals voted for her, especially her colony residents. It helped her achieve this feat. She didn't identify herself with any group, team or political party.” He added that Devika was the first transgender woman to be elected to the Saligrama Panchayat. Devika told the media that the “people have blessed her” and that her priority is to serve them.
Argentina's Senate Approves Historic Bill to Legalise Abortion
CNN - Buenos Aires, Argentina, 12/30/2020
In a historic vote seen as a victory for abortion rights advocates, Argentina’s senate approved a bill on December 30, 2020 to legalise abortion upto 14 weeks of pregnancy. The Senate voted 38-29 to give millions of women access to legal terminations under a new law. Mariela Belski, executive director of Amnesty International Argentina and an ambassador for the global women's rights movement She Decides said that Argentina made an emblematic step forward in defending the rights of women, girls and people with reproductive capacity. She also said that the move sends a strong message of hope around changing course against criminalisation of abortions and against cladestine abortions, which pose serious threats to the health and lives of millions of people.
Kerala Extends Education Scholarship, Wedding Grant for Transgender Persons
Hindustan Times, India, 12/29/2020
The state government in Kerala has announced a number of programmes, including extension of scholarship for transgender persons and financial aid for legally married couples. K K Shylaja, Minister for Social Justice, said that they have sanctioned rupees six lakhs scholarship for students who identify as transgender persons in the current financial year 2020-21. The scholarship scheme focuses on transgender students studying from seventh grade to colleges in government, aided and self-financing educational institutions. K K Shylaja shared the reasons that prompted the government to launch the scheme and said that as an educationally backward group, there was a need to give more care and consideration to the transgender community.
Telangana Gets a Fully Functional Women’s Commission after 2.5 Years
The Indian Express, India, 12/28/2020
Former minister Vakiti Sunitha Lakshma Reddy has been appointed as chairperson of the Telangana state women’s commission, nearly two years after the post fell vacant in 2018. A fully functioning women’s commission had been a long standing demand of several women’s rights groups. After Tripurana Venkataratnam, who headed the Commission resigned from the office in 2018, a PIL was filed in the Telangana High Court by R Ramya Rao, a social activist. The petition aimed at seeking directions to the government for the appointment of the Chairperson to the Commission. Activist Spurthi Kolipaka, who has been mobilising support for the cause, praised the government’s decision and congratulated all those who advocated for the appointment of a chairperson.
Saudi Arabia Curbs Under-18 Marriage
The Street Journal, Saudi Arabia, 12/27/2020
Saudi Arabia recently prohibited marriage of persons below 18 years of age and set 18 years as the minimum age for marriage. Sheikh Dr Walid Al-Samaani, minister of justice and chairman of supreme judicial council, issued directives based on paragraph (16/3) of the executive regulations of the child protection law which says that “before conducting marriage contracts one has to make sure that marrying a person under the age of 18 will not harm him or her and achieve their best interests.” Despite the decision by the government, the issue of child marriage is still being debated on, bringing the issue at the forefront in both religious and cultural spaces.