On 14 October 2007, citizens of El Alto, Bolivia demanded that all bars and brothels facilitating sex work be located at least 3,200 feet away from schools, because they believed that the establishments were facilitating crime in the area. They then began a three-day rampage of the bars and brothels in the impoverished red-lights district of El Alto. These El Alto citizens, primarily parents and students, burned or destroyed at least 50 brothels, burned sex workers’ belongings, and beat sex workers.
Tuba Group factory workers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, stood up against
exploitation in the summer of 2014. The company, in which five factories
made products for businesses like Walmart and H&M, had become
notorious in recent years for some of the lowest employee wages in the
world (about US $38 a month) and the 2012 “Tarzeen factory fire” that
killed 112 workers. Since February of 2014, Delwar Hossain, the owner of
the group, had been in jail for the workplace negligence that lead to
the tragedy. However, workers continued to face unfair treatment.
Since 1885, housing was a major concern for residents of Glasgow, in particular those who relied on tenement housing for shelter. These residents were primarily men who worked in industrial labor and their families. Glasgow received an influx of roughly 70,000 new residents in the three years leading up to 1915. The city did not respond with enough new housing and in fact built fewer than two thousand tenements to meet this need, which created high demand for a small number of apartments. By this time, Glasgow had become the most overcrowded city in Britain.
In January 2011, Governor Sam Brownback took office in the U.S. state of Kansas. In rapid succession, strict new anti-abortion legislation passed through both houses of the state legislature.
Brownback signed into law new restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion, parental consent clauses for minors, blocks on Planned Parenthood funding (including that for non-abortion services), and limits on late-term abortion. Many of these measures went into effect during summer 2011.
Bangladesh, located to the east of India, is a leading global garment manufacturer, producing clothing for such American companies as Gap, Walmart, and J.C. Penney. The Ready Made Garment (RMG) industry makes up 80% of the country’s exports and employs about 4 million Bangladeshis, 80% of whom are women. A survey published by the Japan External Trade Organization in December 2013 reported that Bangladesh garment workers earn nearly the lowest monthly wage in the world, second only to Myanmar.
The ‘Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia’(CSM) was formed in 1989 as an organized response to the mistreatment of Russian soldiers during times of war and forced military service for young men who were still in school. Early activity of the CSM’s led to the return of 17,600 men a year earlier than expected from military service. Their organization, led by Maria Kirbasova, continues to oppose war and fight for better treatment of soldiers even today. Their most notable actions were taken in the earlier half of the first Chechen War, namely the “March of Parental Compassion.”
In the early 2000s Israeli bus lines began gender segregation as part of a pilot project. The gender segregation was part of the ultra-orthodox community’s religious guidelines. By February of 2007 there were more than thirty gender-segregated Haredi bus routes operating. Most of these bus lines were less expensive and more easily accessible than other bus routes. On 23 February 2007, New York-born novelist, feminist, and observant-Orthodox Jew Naomi Regan was asked to move to the back of a gender-segregated bus in Jerusalem.
On 16 December 2012, six men raped and nearly beat a 23-year-old woman to death in New Delhi, the capital of the Republic of India. The woman had boarded a local bus with a male companion that night. Once the couple was on the bus, the six men began to taunt the couple. They gagged and beat the woman’s friend until he was unconscious. Then, the six men dragged the woman to the back of the bus, beat her with an iron rod, and gang-raped her. Following their attack, the men threw both the woman and her friend out onto the streets.
In Brazil in
2000, the Margaridas, or Daisies, formed in honor of Margarida Maria Alves, a
union leader renowned for surmounting the embedded cultural stereotypes and
obstacles for women, especially those working in rural areas. Alves
became the president of the Rural Worker’s Union in her town, but was
reportedly assassinated in 1983, at the age of 50, because of her advocacy for
those working in rural or forested areas.
After her death, she became a feminist icon in the fight for equality
In Dagenham, East London, 54,813 men, and only 187 women worked in Ford’s flagship factory. The women there were classified as “unskilled workers,” though male employees performing the same or similar jobs were classified as “skilled workers.” As a result the men were on a higher pay scale than the women. Female employees of the factory were deeply upset when they learned this fact, and even more enraged when they discovered that teenage boy floor-sweepers were paid higher wages than they were.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory is best known for the unique fashion blouse they produced and the horrific fire that killed 146 workers, women who might have lived if the owners had been forced to ensure safety standards in the factory. Historically, the 1911 tragedy defined the Triangle workers as the victims of disaster.
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.
Imprisoned Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh wins freedom of travel for her daughter, 2012
In September 2010, Iranian authorities sentenced prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh to 11 years in prison on charges of acting against national security and propaganda against the Iranian regime. She was also originally barred from practicing law or leaving the country for 20 years, but in September 2011, authorities reduced her sentence to 6 years and the bans on law practice and travel to 10 years.
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.
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.
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.
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.