The “Gulf of Tonkin Incident” in early August 1964 marked the beginning of dramatic escalation of the United States’ involvement in the civil war in Vietnam. As a close ally, Australia made a commitment to support the United States’ intervention in Southeast Asia. To support the war effort, Prime Minister Robert Menzies’s Liberal government introduced conscription for national military service on November 10, 1964. A few months later on April 29, Menzies announced that Australian troops, including National Service conscripts, would be sent to Vietnam to assist in the American war effort.
The practice of female genital cutting (FGC) or circumcision has been a prevalent tradition in many African nations for generations. The practice, which involves removing the clitoris or entire external genitalia of young girls without anesthetic, is seen as necessary in many places to deem a woman acceptable for marriage, however young girls have died from infection due to the process. In Senegal, the tradition has been especially prevalent, where one in five girls underwent the procedure before puberty.
Colombian women use sex strike to pressure government to repair road (Huelga de piernas cruzadas), 2011
Barbacoas is an agricultural town in Narino, Colombia. It is a small port town in southwest Colombia that linked the southern regions of the country in the 19th and 20th centuries. However, the provincial routes used in those times have not been renovated since. Its economy now relies primarily on fishing, agriculture, and mining.
On March 3, 2006, Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmad Nazif announced that all public-sector manufacturing workers would be given an increase in their annual bonuses. The workers of Mahalla al-Kubra’s Misr Spinning and Weaving Company, the country’s largest public sector textile company employing 27,000 people, were overjoyed at the decree.
In 1956, Shell British Petroleum (now Royal Dutch Shell) discovered oil in what was then the British colony of Nigeria, and by 1958 commercial production had begun. Today, Nigeria has the tenth largest proven oil reserves in the world, is the tenth largest oil producer, and is the eighth largest oil exporter; yet nearly two-thirds of Nigerians live on less than $1.25 a day, 70% live below the national poverty line, and 83% live on less than $2 a day (each of those measurements place Nigeria in the bottom ten out of countries for which data is available).
When Alice Paul emerged into the somewhat stagnant scene of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association’s (NAWSA) campaign for the right to vote in 1912, the energy and momentum of the movement surged. Having just come from Britain where women were fighting a similar battle in which they were imprisoned, partaking in hunger strikes and smashing windows, NAWSA’s polite pleading over a cup of tea with political leaders and legislators was not only ineffective in the eyes of Paul and other emerging women leaders, it was a blow to the dignity of women to request basic human rights.
Saudi Arabia is governed by a monarchy, with the Qur’an as the constitutional center of the country, and Sharia Islamic law as the primary method of governance. Sharia law places many restrictions on women and women’s rights; women must have a male guardian, such as a brother, father, or husband, who has control over much of the female’s freedom of choice.
In 2000, Liberia’s second civil war broke out. Liberian President Charles Taylor and his military forces, who had taken over Liberia in 1989 during the first civil war, experienced attacks from the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD). LURD consisted of various anti-Taylor militant groups led by warlords who were not given a role in Taylor's government.
Moroccan feminist groups campaign to reform Moudawana (Personal Status Code/Islamic family law), 1992-2004
Between 1992 and 2004, several NGOs built up around feminist ideologies, and a strive for women’s rights took over the leadership of a working group that campaigned for reforms of the Moudawana, or Personal Status Code, which severely restricted the rights of women in Morocco. The struggle to reform the Moudawana took place over decades, a movement that began with the inception of the law in the late 1950s.
During the 1990s, feminist and queer activist groups campaigned heavily to reform the Turkish Civil Code, which held many provisions that subordinated women such as establishing the supremacy of the husband in the family. In November of 2001, a new Civil Code was adopted that equalized the status of men and women; however, a similar set of laws established in the Turkish Penal Code maintained the gender hierarchy and protected men from serious sentencing if they committed crimes against women.
In 1913, sixteen to eighteen percent of all women over fourteen in and around Barcelona worked in textile factories and related industries. Spinning and weaving workshops usually employed fewer than 40 women and these women worked eleven to twelve hour days. In contrast, male workers usually worked only ten-hour days. Male wages varied between 3 and 3.75 pesetas while female wages were between 1.75 and 2.50 pesetas, with few women earning over 2. Some women worked from the home, manufacturing corsets, paper boxes, shoes, and garments for employers who provided them with piecework.
During the 1600’s the Iroquois Indian Nations, a group of several indigenous tribes in North America, engaged in warfare with many other tribes. The men controlled when and against whom they declared a war.
Tribal Iroquois women decided that they wanted to stop unregulated warfare, and thought of a way to convince the Iroquois men to give them more power in deciding issues of war and peace.
At the time of this campaign the court system in Bahrain was divided into civil and shari’a sections; civil courts heard civil, commercial, and criminal cases, while shari’a courts heard cases involving marriage, divorce, alimony, child custody and support, nursing, paternity, and inheritance. The lack of qualified Bahraini judges resulted in several problems in the courts. Despite claims that Bahrain’s shari’a court system helped to preserve an Islamic way of life, judges’ decisions were reportedly based on personal opinions, rather than on “fiqh,” Islamic jurispru
Many women were put in great danger by abortions in the 1960s. Abortions were illegal, forcing many women to turn to back-alley abortionists, many of whom utilized unsafe techniques. A small group of determined activists had been campaigning for abortion law reform for decades, but to even mouth the word was controversial. The 1960s, though, saw the emergence of several revolutionary social movements, among them the civil rights movement and the women’s movement. This period of change and political involvement fostered the environment necessary for an abortion movement to develop.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the political atmosphere in Kenya was characterized by brutal government repression and terror. Under the single-party rule of President Daniel arap Moi, any form of political dissension was swiftly met with government interrogation, detention, and torture. Many students, journalists, lawyers, and human rights advocates were among those imprisoned for perceived anti-government statements, ideas, and actions.
The 1977-1978 economic justice and human rights campaign in Bolivia stemmed from tensions that began with the 1952 Bolivian Revolution, which left the Nationalist Revolutionary Movement in power. This group implemented a nationalization of the tin mines, agrarian reforms, and universal franchises. These policies and reforms lasted until 1964, when a military coup led to the regime of General Barrientos. This regime clashed with miners and broke down worker power and cultivated the peasantry.
The Naga people have been entrenched in a largely violent struggle with the Indian government since the 19th century in an attempt to unify and secure the independence of areas in northeast India that are primarily populated by members of the Naga community. The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN)--the leading Naga rebel group--declared a ceasefire with the Indian government in 1997 in order to begin peace talks, but little progress has been made since that point.
The country of Kuwait acquired independence from the United Kingdom in 1961. With the country feeling a sense of liberation, the women in particular seized the moment to seek further liberation. As an act of defiance, many women burned their robes. In doing so, they rejected notions of female dress and began to adopt a more Western wardrobe. A year later, a significant obstacle to their campaign appeared; the Kuwaiti parliament passed new election laws in 1962 that limited the electorate to a select few.
As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women's children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!
- James Oppenheim (Used as the rallying cry for the movement)
In Houston, the largest cleaning companies paid their janitors an average of $5.25 per hour and did not provide health benefits. Meanwhile, in other cities the average salary for a janitor position was between $10-20 an hour and family health benefits were provided. The Service Employee’s International Union (SEIU), under the leadership of its president, Stephen Lerner, utilized the Justice for Janitors Campaign, which involved over 200,000 janitors in more than 28 cities across the United States, to fight to improve the working conditions and benefits for these workers.
In 1958 the women farmers of the Kom and Kedjom areas of the Western Grassfields, now part of modern day Cameroon, were angered by a number of changes which they interpreted as systematically decreasing the power of women farmers. These included the increasing frequency of the nomadic Fulani’s cows coming onto their fields and eating their crops, a law stating that they must switch to a new type of farming called contour cultivation, and rumors that that the KNC (the Kamerun National Congress, a political group that had aligned itself with Nigeria and in 1958 had secured nearly comple
Beginning in the late 1970s, women in Chuuk, one of the
states of the Federated States of Micronesia, stepped forward to protest the
abuse of alcohol. The women’s
campaign challenged traditional restrictions on women’s autonomy.
The women acted after a drunken brawl occurred in early 1977
between young men from Weno, an island municipality of Chuuk, and Wonei
Island. In response, the district
administrator called an emergency meeting and women from Fin Anisi, a religious
The Dutch and British colonization of South Africa in the 17th and 18th centuries brought a system of segregation to the region that remained in place well into the twentieth century. From 1948 to 1994 this took the form of apartheid, a system of legal racial segregation that ensured the continued rule of the country by the white minority.
There were many organizations dedicated to the realization of full women’s rights in Iceland in 1975, drawing from a history of previous women’s movements that dealt with the issues of suffrage, national independence, and equal rights. Such movements had lost momentum since the 1920s when groups of women had put together women’s slates for election to parliament and municipal governments.
African Americans campaign for desegregation of department store eating facilities in Kansas City, Missouri, 1958-59
By 1955 in Kansas City, most public facilities and privately owned businesses were desegregated. However, a report by William Gremley of the Human Relations Commission (HRC) identified the problem and criticized the practice of segregated eating establishments as harmful to race relations, unethical, and unattractive to prospective conventions and foreign dignitaries. In March 1957, Gremley attempted to address this issue and meet with William G. Austin, manager of the KC Merchants' Association, but Austin never followed through.