On 18 March 1970, a group of feminists staged a sit-in at the offices of the Ladies’ Home Journal (LHJ) to protest how the magazine’s mostly male editorial board depicted women. At the time, LHJ was the second largest women’s magazine in the United States. The sit-in involved women from groups such as Media Women, New York Radical Feminists, National Organization of Women (NOW), the Redstockings, and Barnard College students.
In dire economic crisis under the leadership of President Robert Mugabe, many Zimbabwean citizens and human rights activists felt that Zimbabwe was a “dictatorship under another name.” Political violence was common, especially in the months leading up to the general election of March 2008, and the government used police to violently suppress any voices that opposed the current leadership. The organization Women of Zimbabwe Arise (“WOZA”, a Ndebele word meaning “come forward”) was formed in 2003 to give women a voice against injustice and violence.
Reforms to the Canadian Criminal Code legalized abortion in 1969. Under the direction of Pierre Trudeau’s government, a constitutional amendment was made to Section 251 of the Code. The alteration limited legal abortions to be performed only when the mother’s health was at risk. In addition, abortions could only be performed in credible hospitals with licensed physicians and needed to be approved by a panel of doctors called Therapeutic Abortion Committees, which often consisted of all males.
In Crystal City, Texas, 87 percent of high school students in 1968 were Chicano, or Mexican American, and nearly half of these were children of migrant farm workers. But the high school principal, five of the seven school board members, and 75 percent of the teachers were white. During the summers, local government and school officials, all white, selected candidates for the fall elections. In doing so, the minority population maintained a majority white school board with just one or two Chicanos they believed to align with their views.
Before the U.S. civil war (1861-65), women struggling for their rights worked also for the end of slavery. The annual women’s rights convention of 1857 failed to meet because Susan B Anthony had spent her time that year lecturing against slavery. In 1863 women leaders Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucy Stone plunged into agitation for the anti-slavery 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution; it was passed in 1865.
The 1990s in Africa was a period of broad political movement towards the greater involvement of women in positions of power—this campaign is a part of that change.
In North America and Western Europe in the later half of the 19th century, women began to campaign in earnest for the right to vote. At this time women were second-class citizens. The 1870s were the start of the movement in Canada, but there were few Canadians that supported the women’s right to vote. Two of the groups that lead the way in Manitoba were the Icelandic feminists and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). The Icelandic women had settled near Gimli. These women established the first suffragette associations.
President Tiburcio Carías—founder of the National Party of Honduras—governed Honduras throughout the 1930s and 1940s (known as “decades of Dictators” in Central America as El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala were also under lasting rule of their respective, oppressive dictators). His presidency started on February 1, 1933, and lasted until January 1949. On November 16, 1943, Carías and the National Party rigged and swept the municipal elections. This victory gave him the opportunity to modify the Honduran Constitution to allow him to stay in office for an extended period of time.
The Panties for Peace campaign began in 2007 in the country of Burma. It quickly found legs as a strategic campaign launched by Burmese women aimed against the extreme brutalities performed by Burma’s military regime. These included systematic and extensive sexual, physical and emotional violence against Burma’s women. The campaign strategically played on the weaknesses of their opponents by exploiting the belief held by many in the military Junta that female undergarments would drain power from the military regime by cursing their soldiers.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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 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.
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
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.