Women Inch Towards Equal Legal Rights Despite Covid-19 Risks, World Bank Says
Women gained legal rights in nearly 30 countries in 2020 despite disruption due to COVID-19, but governments must do more to ease the disproportionate burden shouldered by women during the pandemic, the World Bank said on February 24, 2021. The World Bank said in the annual ‘Women, business and the law’ report that a total of 27 countries reformed laws or regulations to give women more economic equality in 2019-20. Around 40 countries brought in extra benefit or leave policies to help employees balance their jobs with the extra childcare needs created by coronavirus restrictions. However, such measures were “few and far between” and women on average still have only about three quarters of the rights granted to men, according to the report.
Pakistan - Sobia Khan Becomes First Transgender Member of DRC
MENAFN - Peshawar, Pakistan, 2/23/2021
For the first time, a transgender person has been appointed a member of Dispute Resolution Council (DRC) by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Police. Sobia Khan has been appointed representative of all transgender persons in Peshawar and she will be assisted by other members of the DRC. Sobia Khan, who is culture secretary for transgender persons in KP, said incidents of violence against transgender persons are common and even though cases are filed against people who engage in the violence, they usually remain unpunished. She said that she would now personally listen to the grievances of transgender persons and try to resolve their problems.
‘Covid-19 Crisis Has a Woman’s Face’: UN Chief Spotlights Discrimination during Pandemic
Hindustan Times, Geneva, 2/22/2021
While opening the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on February 22, 2021, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres highlighted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Guterres said the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated entrenched discrimination against women and girls, and women have suffered higher job losses than men and pushed into poverty by greater numbers. He added, “This is on top of already fragile socio-economic conditions due to lower incomes, the wage gap, and a lifetime of less access to opportunities, resources and protections”.
Saudi Women Can Join Military in Latest Widening of Rights
Bloomberg, Saudi Arabia, 2/21/2021
Women in Saudi Arabia can now take up arms and enter the military, the latest profession to open up to women recruits. According to the Saudi Arabia based news channel Arabia News, women can now be employed as soldiers, lance corporals, corporals, sergeants, and staff sergeants. The expansion of job roles and rights has come even as women activists have been targeted in a crackdown on dissent. The plan to allow women into the military was first announced in 2019, the same year the kingdom said it would allow women to leave the country without permission from a male relative, a major step toward ending a restrictive guardianship system that has been heavily criticized at home and abroad.
Mexico City Ban on Plastic Raises Tampon Concerns for Women
NBC News - Mexico City, Mexico, 2/19/2021
Mexico City has recently banned plastic products including tampons with plastic applicators in a push for a greener agenda. Women’s groups, however, said the city’s ban on the applicators is an attack on human rights and creates a phenomenon of ‘menstrual poverty’ because organic products, like organic tampons or silicone menstrual cups, are more expensive and often hard to find. Menstrual activist Sally Santiago said that although the measure sounds progressive and well-intentioned with an environmental commitment, it neglects the needs of women. Mexico City Environment Minister Marina Robles acknowledged the backlash to the ban on plastic tampon applicators, saying dialogue with women about the new law should stay open.